I met Mr. & Mrs. Thomas (Ian & Graham - they occasionally bicker (Ian starts it though) like an old, married couple) for breakfast in the hotel. I was feeling dizzy, so I went back to bed and slept until 2 in the afternoon. Gotta like the 2 PM checkout!
Now I have a chance to really look around Quito, the second highest capital in the world next to La Paz, Bolivia. Today I moved to a hostal a few blocks away from where I was previously staying. I actually like this area much better - it's very quaint and there more people around, including other backpackers.
After I checked-in I wandered the streets. For the last week, there have been violent student protests over a transit fare hike from 25 to 45 cents. These demonstrations have injured hundreds of people as students often throw rocks at passerbys. Since public transportation has been paralyzed in Quito, I had to book a tour to take me to the equator tomorrow.
In the afternoon I ran into the Thomas's while wandering the streets. We decided to have a late lunch together. Graham gave me a really cute Australian keychain, so that I don't forget them. How sweet! If I ever go to Melbourne, I will definately look them up:)
I don't know what to really make of the security of Quito yet. There are armed guards, with bullet-proof vests, on every third or so corner. The first hotel I stayed in even had an armed guard stationed in the lobby. Even the internet cafe I frequent has an armed guard at the door! I've been making a point of staying on busier streets, not letting people walk behind me and trying to get back to the hotel by 10 PM.