I have a love/hate relationship with Quito. My first 2 days here I liked it a lot: yes it’s crowded, people jostle each other in the bus, some places are dirty, buildings look decrepit. But these were what I liked about it, it was lively and real. Then I met some people with stories of being mugged, and I thought Nah they were just careless it will not happen to me. But it did happen to me. My bag was stolen while I was staying in the lovely (but very dangerous) historic center. After wasting an afternoon filing a police report, I moved to the Mariscal area of the New Town (the “nightlife” area). Life went on anyway. I took spanish conversation lessons to improve my grammar, enjoyed it immensely and settled into living like a local. But everyday I keep hearing stories of mugging in the Mariscal area also. People coming home late in the evening were mugged right outside my street. So I made a rule to be back by 8pm before people get too drunk and crazy. I’ve talked to many locals and each of them have experienced being mugged several times a year. What a city! I love Quito but this is the first place in my travels where I’ve felt unsafe. I’m glad to be leaving this environment for a while and breathe deeply in the Amazon.