Quito's New Town is in the northern half of the city. It's where most of the hotels are located, as well as the majority of the tourist infrastructure. Although the architecture of the New Town is nothing to write home about, it's where most of the tourists appear to stay, poking through endless souvenir shops and sitting in Internet cafes. There are some redeeming features of this end of the city, though--some great antique stores can be found there, as well as some of Quito's best museums.
Friends and neighbours, I don't know that it's my favourite thing, but it could come in handy. There are more internet cafes around here than there are pickup trucks in Roxboro. I photographed this one because it has a more photogenic front. Like my friend Josh, I recommend "going out and seeing some stuff" but if the stuff is worth writing home about you won't have to walk very far to find one of these. An hours' worth of internet time runs between 60¢ and $1.
'Pasillo' is a indigenous latin musical genre very popular in Ecuador, especially in the mountainous regions (including some parts of Colombia, Panama and Venezuela).
This is very sad music from the mountains, my friends explained. Sad old men would drink their nights away listening to the tearful moans of pasillo.
If you like views, check out the sweeping views from the highest reachable points in Quito atop the high slopes of Cruz Loma and Volcan Pichincha by visiting the TeleferiQo. This modern cable car opened up in 2005 and is now a very popular activity for locals and tourists alike. The whole complex includes VulQano Park, mini amusement park with a roller coaster carousels and more, a Mondo Kart racetrack where you can race your buddies in mini race cars, a few shops, souvenir stores and, in general, a bunch of second-rate sideshows that are really better bypassed in favor of the real show, which is the view over Quito.
A ticket will cost $4 and the cable car will take you over a thousand meters up the mountain to multiple viewing points, including an indoor spot, which is nice considering the temperature is sure to be more than a few degrees colder up top.
Don't miss Otavalo
There are several markets in Otavalo but we only went to the crafts market in the center of town. The square is filled with vendors who set up stalls and sell their goods. The quality is good--not excellent, but very nice and the prices are terrific by US standards. We bought jewelry, woven purses, weavings (both large and small), sweaters, shirts, scarfs and small watercolor paintings. Use the 20-25% rule as your guide. You can always pay less than asked but it sometimes takes a few tries before you agree upon a price.