Monday, February 23, 2009

Culture in Ecuador

I travelled to New York and back yesterday afternoon. I waited for the Chinatown bus and when neither the 3:30 nor the 3:40 PM bus showed up,  I dashed over to the train station and caught a very comfortable seat on the Acela express. The bus is $20 each way and the train is far more expensive, but I did not want to miss Tara's play. She has been rehearsing nightly for over a month, and I promised to see it, knowing that I had obligations Saturday morning and evening and Sunday afternoon and could not get to New York any other evening of the week. Sunday night was the only possibility. 

The play was called the 'Mapmaker' and was set up as a movie within a play. I found it disconcerting that the main character was supposed to be East Indian, but was played by a black man with a very odd accent and mannerisms. I found him so strange and out of place and distracting. That along with the movie set and the odd movie crew characters interfered with me actually listening to the play. I was more interested in my daughter, and waited for her to appear on stage. She had only a few lines, and was entertaining and funny, so the adventure was worth all the effort. I am not sure I paid much attention to the rest of the play, so I had little to say about it afterward.  Tara and I had only a short visit before I boarded the train again. I rested on the way back and decided that train travel was quite wonderful. I have been taking the bus to New York because it is such a bargain, or my car which is easy and inexpensive because I get such good gas mileage, but the train is the way to go, except for the expense. 

There is limited train travel in Ecuador. People drive or take the bus. There is a short train ride over the Andes that is a tourist attraction. The tradition is to sit on top the train and experience the roar of the air whipping by and the precariousness of the track high in the Andes. I believe it is near Riobamba and we will be sure to experience it one weekend.

I am not sure what the cultural life is like in Ecuador. Tara is interested in volunteering, so I have been looking into theatre troupes. I asked several people in Quito what they do in the evening, and I was told that eating out was the most usual form of entertainment, that there was limited music and theatre. Big names did not usually stop in Quito. There was much excitement about 'Supertramp' coming for a concert in February. Supertramp? I did not know they were still alive! 

There is a music tradition. Mauricio played some Ecuadorian music for me, and it was beautiful and compelling. We will have to explore more when we are in Quito.

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