Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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The greatest part of Quito is, I have to admit, "Gringoland". Given the demographics of the average vistor being a late-twenties adventurer, and seeing as how they pump a ton of money into the local economy, there is a large section of town devoted to pleasing people exactly like me. There are a number of swank restaurants and bars, cybercafes and coffeshops all jammed together with cheap hostels and hotels in a safe area of the city. Walking the street can be heard much more German and English than Spanish, and everyone seems to be young, fit, and carrying a backpack around the world.

Up a tiny spiral staircase is Cafe Sutra, a hip bar full of people seeing and being seen. The music is a pumping techno, and the wine Chilean (of course). The walls are covered with Indian-like paintings of people in various sexual poses, which is to be expected given the name. Everything seems very swank, except for the popcorn. Popcorn? With a glass of wine? It brings a sports-bar type of feel into an otherwise hip night spot.
In frantic preparation for my trip to the jungle, I head to the local mall for critical supplies. First on my list is a swimsuit, as I can only get away with skinnydipping in remote locations or when I can claim I didn't know we'd be swimming. I trampse into the mall and head on the first level, only to find that there is really only one level in a giant spiral, much like the Wright museum. Eventually I find my swimsuit, as well as another T-shirt and a pair of socks (for my boots in the jungle), and pay an exorbedent fee (I wasn't in the mood to haggle).

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