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Advice for November pre-retirement look-see trip (Quito)

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Hi, I'm planning to visit Quito in late November (U.S. Thanksgiving week actually). I retire in a couple of years and Ecuador is of course one of my possible retirement destinations. I need to 'try it on for size' with an exploratory trip first. I speak some Spanish (about an advanced-beginner to lower-intermediate level right now, but working on it). I'll only have eight days there in November, so I'd like to maximize my time there as much as possible.

Any advice any of you expat types can give me? Cheap places to stay in Quito, maybe Cuenca for another look-see? Things I absolutely should see and do while there? Anything else that an eyes-wide-open non-touristy tourist would need to know? I'm really stoked about the trip and I want to make it the best I can and not spend a lot of time lost or fumbling around in ignorance--if I can help it..

Thanks in advance!

Steve
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