Arriving into a foreign country at midnight isn’t the best time when you’re a) female, b) travelling alone, c) crap at speaking the language.
The arrivals area at Quito airport was heaving and I was glad of having pre-arranged a taxi, even more so when I actually arrived at my hostel and was let in through the security gates (everything here seems to be behind lock and key – just don’t tell my mum how dangerous it can be!).
Hostel Jhomana wasn’t a cheap or sociable option (I barely saw another visitor), but it was clean, comfortable and did the job of being a quiet base to digest some of the bleurgh from jetlag, altitude and serious lack of sleep.
On recommendation, after two nights I moved to Hostal Galapagos, a livelier place within La Mariscal Sucre – AKA gringoland, but still tucked away. More family home than hostel, Luz, the ‘mama de casa’ had guests making empañadas in her kitchen before sitting me down to dish out some advice that included (among other things I couldn’t understand) only carrying the minimum cash and on no accounts taking my bag out at night. It concluded with a hug. Luz seems to always have a hug for her stragglers and travellers!