The Centro Historico (historic center) of Quito blooms with easy shopping everywhere before heading for the malls or the mercados. Stores sprout on every street and keep me going and going like the rabbit in the old TV commercial -- looking for carrots or karats.
I always convince myself I need their unique quality Ecuadorian-made sweaters, their leather belts - there's a store full of them steps away from my apartment - or maybe just a good meal. At the beginning, I'd head to Kentucky Fried Chicken on Guayaquil just to be safe. I've long since abandoned fast food for meals cooked while I wait. But every once-in-awhile I still return to the scene of the crime (of fast food).
Fabric stores drape the area. Tailors wait to create whatever you want from their seamingly (pun intended) infinite supply of fabric.
Craft stores flourish even to under the Presidential Palace, just steps away from Mi Comisariato grocery store that keeps me well-supplied in between grocery hauls from the malls.
Internet cafes and cabinas telefonicas - telephone booths that mark exactly how much you owe as you call - provide a sure cure for homesickness, if you need a break from your culture shock.
Weekends of holiday festivities bring unique celebrations as you browse or buy.
The mercados glide you on a journey through a culture unequalled.
Then, if you still have money and time to splurge... go shopping at the malls. Condado Mall on the way to the equator can keep you going if you're realllly a shopoholic. And then there's the far end south side one at the end of the regular trolley line called El Recreo. Just stick to the matter at hand - trolley-to-mall - on the south side. I really like this one.
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