Quito Bus Trip: Don't Believe Everything You Read
So let's talk about Quito buses a bit - before we got here we read a ton about being safe, avoiding pickpockets, and basically how you should never take a bus. When we first landed, we took a taxi from the airport (which is probably still the smart decision due to the amount of time that a bus would take).
On our second day, the hostel recommended we take a few buses to get from Quito to Mitad del Mundo. As we walked out, map in hand, I started to have flashbacks of the articles and stories from before the trip. I found myself obsessively reaching back to check my backpack. When we got to the first bus, we went in super prepared and planned to follow all of the rules we read about: never pull our phone out, keep our bags on our laps at all times, be super aware of EVERYONE on the bus, keep an eye out for cunning tricks of thievery (like the old "spill 'n' swipe" when the old women spills something on you and while helping you clean it up, her partner swipes everything), etc. Turns out keeping your packs on your laps is actually impossible because the buses are so packed, that we very rarely had the opportunity to sit down! Throughout the entire trip we never felt like we were at risk for pickpocketing or theft -- we did pay attention though. We both were very aware of where our bags were positioned in relation to other people, which is only slightly more cautious than how we would behave on a US based bus. Plus we have these fantastic PacSafe day bags with locking zippers and slash proof exteriors. They are amazing and allow us to relax while carrying all of our stuff all around Quito. After the paranoia of all those articles faded and we saw what the bus was really like Ben even took a selfie! :)
He also recorded a video of some musicians playing on the bus--even though two elderly women passengers laughed at him for doing so. (this might get added later - once we tackle YouTube or video hosting!)
Basically what I am trying to explain is that we felt safe with valuables out (when needed) and didn't feel the need to be paranoid or extremely alert the whole time.
SIDE NOTE: Mitad del Mundo was cool, but definitely a tourist trip. You can go down to a village (supposedly) but we never found it and just walked 2 km down a road to nowhere before catching a bus back to Quito. Here are some of the photos of Mitad del Mundo!
Also, as our title suggests, you don't have to believe everything you read. This is just our experience :)