Stories from Abroad: Ecuador
August 18, 2004 - Lisa
Estoy en Ecuador!
First of all, I have to tell you all that I love my life down here. I really do. Every day I wake up and can't believe I'm finally here after waiting for so long.
Ecuador is a beautiful country, and Quito is surrounded on all sides by snow capped mountains. The weather is perfect, about 75 degrees and sunny every day. No winter for Lisa :)
We spent the first 3 days here in a hotel getting lectures on all of the potential dangers in Quito...robbers, volcanos, etc. The worst was the lecture on all of the fun intestional diseases one can get...yeah, were hoping against those.
After orientation, we moved in with our host families. Its just me and my mom, a very energetic, crazy, sweet, and hospitable woman named Diva. Whenever I meet her friends she proudly introduces her new gringita, and calls me her hijita (little daughther), and her muñquita (little doll). She is one of the most laid back people I've ever met, whose favorite phrase is "siga no mas" (go ahead.) We clicked instantly. My house is in a neighborhood called jippijoppa, and I have my own room, bathroom, TV, and CD player. I think I'm pretty spoiled here.
This weekend we took a trip to Otavalo, an indigenous market town about 2 hours from Quito. We stayed in this awesome hostel, that had a courtyard filled with hammocks, tropical flowers, avacado trees and humming birds. Saturday we went to the market and I found out I'm pretty good at bartering. Since they like to drive up the prices big time for gringos, you kind of have to hold your ground. I think that bartering is actually kind of a game here.
Sunday we climed a mountain called El Mojando, which was one of the more physically challenging things I've ever done. It was straight up, starting at a 12,000 foot elevation going up to 14,500. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference altitude can make in your breathing abilities. But the view from the top was incredible, and we slid down most of the mountain on our butts, partly because of the steepness and partly because it was more fun that way.
Well, this is getting very long, but I am going to still add a list of the first things that hit me about Ecuador...
- I've never been in a classest society before. Generally, the middle and upper class don't talk to their maids, janitors, etc. And the whiter, the better...This kind of rubs me the wrong way
- Ok, so Im getting better, but crossing the streets and taking busses here is kind of an art form that has to be learned.
- The graffiti here is all either political, or says I love...., instead of the colorful gang signs we have in the US
- So many cute dogs and kids all over. I want to take them all home with me.
- The police aren't actually police. They stand around with no specific purpose, other than checking out the passing gringas...
- The constant pspspsing...and other incessent male attention...que bonita, chica linda, angelita, hola guapa...yeah, it never ends
- Traffic signs and laws mean nothing
- I recognize only about 20 percent of the produce in the Super Maxi, (the grocery store). By the way, guanabana ice cream is incredible.
- The sidewalks are horrendous. WE have all tripped and fallen at least once.
- I sometimes forget that I am in another country, and wonder why everyone is staring at me. Then i realize that I am obviously a foreigner, with red hair and light skin, and I stick out like a sore thumb.
I love you and miss you all and will write again shortly and keep you updated on my lovely life in South America!