The apartment hunt has started anew. We focused our attention on the area around a street called Republica del Salvador. This is where we have looked before. Erika suggested the area because items far closer to Maya's school than La Floresta or Gonzales Suarez, almost midway between Catolica and Einstein. Maya and I met Eric at the Supercines, a huge movie theatre complex across the street from the Megamaxi and just down Seis di Diciembre from the Quicentro shopping centre and the 'Atahualpa' soccer (futbol) stadium. Eric and I had seen a movie at the Supercines a few nights ago (The Time Traveler's Wife, or in Spanish 'Te Amare Por Simepre", much more romantic in Spanish), and living near a movie theatre would be a plus. Maya and I took the Ecovia from JipiJapa to the Supercines, and had a twenty minute wait on the street. We were entertained by the arrival of a SWAT team in their fatigues and their machine guns held at their shoulders. A tank like vehicle was stationed on the street with another soldier training his gun around and around in all directions. When Eric arrived, he was very blase about it, suggested it was perhaps a FARC capture, that there had been a recent arrest of two FARC terrorists in Quito, that this may be another. They entered the 'Metropolis' store, which was adjacent to the cinemas and sold DVDs and CDs and electronics. We never stayed to watch the shootout, thinking it was wise to be out of the way.
There are signs in the windows of several apartments with 'Arriendo' signs, so we called one and visited an apartment right on Seis di Diciembre which was not quite right other than the price ($450). A cute little house hidden behind the big apartment buildings was charming but not quite what I wanted either. I am now determined to have some sort of view of the mountains around me. I cannot give that up yet. We wandered down to Republica del Salvador where we found restaurants galore, and after lunch at an Italian place (with interesting tasting gelato, better than the one we tried a few days ago in Cumbaya that tasted like cheese, but still not the gelato I am used to), met 'Mariela' at Cyrano's, a wonderful looking bakery. Eric had called the number posted on what turned out to be the window of her apartment. She showed us some possibilities and plans to meet us again tomorrow. The best part of today was simply walking around the area, close to Carolina park (and the infamous Avenida de Shyris where I was pickpocketed at the parade), and full of shops and gyms and cafes and restaurants and people. Living in this area would offer us security (there are security guards 24 hours a day at the apartments), activity, proximity to everything we may need including transportation, and the apartments we saw were affordable. Of course nothing had quite the view of the penthouse that Eric and Maya still want to persist with negotiating about, but when we mentioned the location to Mariela, she quickly established that the location was not safe for Maya or me. Of course, while La Carolina is safe during the day, she advised that we do not leave our apartment with cellphones or money, or we will be robbed in the park. Walking around with computers is foolish. She pointed out a young boy who was begging on the street and suggested that he would be one who would take a cell phone from us. I keep checking my purse to see that I have both my iphone (which does not work as a phone here but occasionally I can use wireless and check my email) and my replacement camera (Eric brought one when he arrived but I am waiting for another Nikon Coolpix) and my money. I will get a local phone tomorrow.
Maya and I watched the new Harry Potter movie in Spanish at the Supercines. I was delighted to have understood most of it. Maya kept asking me what everyone was saying; I am sure than in a couple of months I will be asking her what everything means. Maya does not believe me yet; she is still feeling overwhelmed by living in a non English environment.
I am eager to make the next move. Staying with Isabel and Erika is very comfortable, but we remain guests in their home and they are far too generous and good to us, and it feels as if we have overstayed our welcome. I am not sure what I expect to find. I want our place to be special, wonderful, stunning, memorable. I am not yet able to accept 'ordinary', but that may be all we can afford.