Friday, August 7, 2009


Our arrival in the dark and the cold and lonely airport was unfortunate. Once at Erika's house, we were well taken care of and comfortable. I slept until the afternoon yesterday, and woke up to brilliant sunshine and huge jets flying overhead. We are near the airport, and there are no noise reduction regulations, but a new airport is being built outside of he city. We are on the fourth floor of a house in an area of Quito called JipiJapa. The bottom floor is occupied by the import export business that Isabel and her separated husband own. We pass over a rooftop to get to our rooms, where we are surrounded by mountains. Cotopaxi is visible in the distance, and the teleferico (which I have yet to ascend) to Pichincha (at least I think it is Pichincha but it could be another mountain, I must look it up) beckons as well.

I was awake only a short time before dusk yesterday. Our major outing was a visit with Isabel to the MegaMaxi supermarket, which is a huge warehouse with everything one can imagine available for purchase, including food and cleaning products and toilet articles. We spent hours in the place, with Maya most eager to buy school supplies, but accepting that we must have a list first.

Of note is how slow and deliberate every step is. There is no hurry, and waiting is simply part of the experience. We have two baggers who take the buggy to the car and unload it. Isabel tips each of them and also the parking attendant. We drive home in the dark and eat dinner around 9:30 PM. Lunch was chicken and rice and beans. Dinner was another kind of green bean, much larger than a lima bean, To eat them, one uses a nail to open the top of the bean and squeezes out the insides to eat. Maya was not impressed and ate only one or two, and she did not like the simple cheese that went with the meal. She was starving through the night and woke me up early begging for food.

Our rooftop is spectacular in the dark, with all the lights of the city spread out in each direction and the mountains looming overhead. The moon is full and shining brightly with a halo around it. I took a photo of the moon and it does not look real, but I am reassured that it is the same moon in Baltimore and in Edmonton and in San Francisco and Paris and Bahamas, all the places that we have family waiting to hear from us.


This was our first full day in Quito. I am not sure I can adjust to the pace, or lack thereof. I am restless and not very comfortable with doing nothing. Part of the issue is living with others and being entirely dependent on them for food, shelter, and transportation. Maya appears perfectly content. I am simply accustomed to being active and busy and rarely do I stop moving in my ordinary life. So I am going crazy already, and cannot wait to get moving. Erika almost convinced me to live near her house in JipiJapa, because it is closer to Maya's school and if we live near the centre of the city, which is my preference, Maya will spend altogether too much time in the bus traveling from home to school and back. We also found a promising ballet school nearby, and if Maya still wants to dance three times weekly, a ballet school walking distance would be helpful. And the area is eminently affordable.

We walked around the neighborhood, and there are stores and everything that one would need nearby. An inordinate number of hair salons, but I think that is the case all over Quito. We took a second walk to the dog park. Maya loved running around after the dogs. I am astonished at how cold it is, and despite wearing my ski sweater and long pants I was freezing. Isabel tells me that this is usual for the summer. I realize that Maya and I need much warmer clothes, and will have to supplement what we have with us.

We found a place a block away that has a summer program for Maya that may be a way to learn Spanish. I was considering sending her to a Spanish camp, there being several excellent Spanish schools in Quito, but I found no programs for children. Just being around other children may be enough to get her ready for school in three weeks, or perhaps I am being ambitious for her. I convinced myself that I ought to enroll in Spanish classes, because although I understand alot, I am clearly out of my element here. When we went to the dogpark this evening, I thought to learn something just listening to Erika speak with her dogfriends, but I zoned out early on; too much work to concentrate all the time.

I look forward to exploring the city. I have decided that after three days of waiting for nothing to happen, it is time to start my adventure. This is a holiday weekend, in celebration of Independence Day on Monday August 10. Many Quitenos are off for the weekend, at the beach or the jungle or at weekend retreats. I am not sure how many tourists are lolling about. I wonder about the city celebrations; Isabel and Erika like to stay home and hide. So much is hidden in this city. The homes are surrounded by high stucco walls, they are mysterious, obscure...

1 comment:

  1. Today was your first full day in Ecuador, so I don't quite understand this comment... "I have decided that after three days of waiting for nothing to happen, it is time to start my adventure. "... except for the strange time dilation that occurs when one is traveling. Our students always report this - they feel like they've been gone for weeks after just the second day.

    Take a cab... the cost to the Centro Historico should be less than 5 dollars. Take a bus... the cost to the Centro Historico will be 25 cents.

    About living in JipiJapa - look at the transportation options. Outside of rush hour it still may be convenient enough to get to the places where you want to be.