Queer Adventures in Quito, Ecuador — La Mariscal

Bear sculpture in Parque El Ejido, a park where the artisans sell their work.

April 2019 — After being hugged and kissed by the sun, sand, and ocean, we find ourselves in Quito again. The cold, cloudy, city atmosphere; the hustle and bustle of people rushing to go there and do that; the honking of cars and buses. The smog collecting and rising up to fill the skyscraper skyline. What reason is there to go outside? It’s safer, cleaner, and nicer inside and we have WiFi. The Airbnb is a spacious modern apartment. We have nearly all the amenities of the States. This time around we are living with roommates. One is a fellow Airbnb guest, the other is the host. We are all around the same age, so we spent some time together. It was nice to have other people around. We were able to do laundry, cook, and walk to everything we needed. The location is perfect.

A view of a cathedral and a rainbow crosswalk as we wandered the streets of the city.

Many activities we are interested in going to in Mariscal are at night. Being a short walk away from Plaza Foch meant that we spent our days doing work on our laptops and then spent our nights partying until we dropped. It was a great time. The favorite party spot for us is called Dirty Sanchez. It’s a hipster cafe during the day bar/club at night. We met the super cool Almendra Ruano there and had a very intimate connection with her. Dirty Sanchez isn’t an LGBTQ bar, but it is a place that attracts an LGBTQ crowd. The vibes are great because it is a reggae/tropical genre of music. The dance space is small, but personal enough to actually meet people and talk to them. The diversity there is beautiful! We would definitely become regulars if we stayed. We plan on going back there any time we are in the neighborhood.

Dirty Sanchez decor.
Dirty Sanchez always has that VW Bus parked in the front.

Across from Dirty Sanchez is a bar called Cherusker where you can get 3.5 liters of beer inside of a tall tube with a dispenser at the bottom. It took us hours to finish, but it was worth it for a strong beer. The entire place was packed on a Friday after work hours. We could hardly find a place to sit when we got there. It remained that crowded the entire time we were there. The food being served smelled amazing. We could have camped out there drinking and eating all night if our wallets allowed it.

We had to stop by our familia spot, Touch. This time around, we managed to discover the second Touch in town. The original Touch was good, open bar, dancing, and we met a cool group of people that danced with us! We went to the second one and it was much fancier inside. A very big space too. The cover was early $12 per person though, but it includes open bar. It wasn’t crowded at all. There were not enough people to fill the space. Otherwise, it was a very well kept venue.

We spent a day walking around town. We revisited El Ejido Park where artisans sell their crafts. We played on the playground equipment and ate street food. It was a lot of fun. The park and the town and the city was very lively. Of course we had some jugo de coco because no outdoor adventure is complete without it! On our way back, we stopped by Dirty Sanchez and shared a Dirty Sanchez, their signature drink!

Our good friend Dirty Sanchez.

Throughout our stay, we were able to cook hardy meals. The internet was great. We could watch Netflix, do work, and stream on Twitch. Despite still being in mourning of the end of our beach life, the amenities make it a lot easier to adjust to the different lifestyle. Another factor contributing to our feelings could have been the familiarity of the place. We had already lived in an area near Plaza Foch when we were in our first Quito apartment in February. In fact, the Supermaxi where we got our groceries was the same one that we went to while staying in La Floresta. That being said, just because we knew parts of the city didn’t mean there wasn’t more to see especially in terms of meeting new people. Our moral of the story is: Never stop searching for adventures and connections with new people!

“Foch Yeah!”