Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Less Foreign

It is time to get serious about finding a place to live. I wanted to take it slow, take my time, but Eric has decided that we need a place by the end of the week so we can move on and start living our lives here in Quito. I found a gorgeous old home fully renovated and with a 50 metre terazza with a lovely view of old Quito, but the colonial centre is simply too far away from Maya's school and in fact too complicated to get in and out of to be practical. I like an area called Guapalo, which is on a hillside with a view to Cumbaya and Tumbaco, but it too is inconvenient for us. We plan to try to live without a car, and that is entirely possible. The city is spread out north to south, and is very long. It takes time to get from one end to the other, but the bus system is extensive and not difficult to figure out. I have taken the 'Trole' several times form the historic centre to JipiJapa where Erika lives, and today, I took the 'Ecovia' up and down the Seis di Diciembre street. The fare is 25 cents for adults and 12 cents for children. I do not take the bus at night, but there are always taxis about, which although not as inexpensive as the bus, they are affordable. During the day I try to make sure there is a 'taximeter' in the taxi, or I am usually able to negotiate an equitable fare. However, at night, the taxi drivers turn off their taximeters and charge double, and are not willing to negotiate.

It seems practical to live near the 'Trole' or 'Ecovia', so Eric can get to Catolica easily. Maya will be picked up by her school bus, but it is still better for her to be close to the main roads. Being close to foodstores and pharmacies and restaurants makes sense. Therefore, we looked at apartments near 'Seis di Diciembre'. I am not sure what I am looking for, but suffice it to say, I did not find it today. Eric and I were out with Erika and a real estate agent earlier, and then later in the afternoon when Maya was at ballet, we wandered in the lower 'Bellavista' area, and found an absolutely wonderful modern three bedroom place with an incredible view and balconies, which was unfortunately far too expensive and not feasible for us. I am convinced that we can find something affordable and wonderful and am not willing to accept just anything to get on with things.

Maya is now taking swim lessons each morning and continuing with her two hour ballet class in the afternoon, which she is enjoying more and more and has been convinced to buy pointeshoes by her 'maestra'. I wrote to her teacher in Baltimore who was not averse to the idea, but I have yet to be convinced. I am amazed at how well Maya is adjusting. We have both developed a very bad daily habit of visiting the 'Pinguino' ice cream freezer and indulging ourselves at least once, sometimes twice a day. Dangerous habit for me!

I am feeling more and more comfortable and less foreign. Not just taking the bus daily, but being squished like a sardine at rushhour has made a big difference. I am not sure anyone notices me unless I speak English. I wonder if perhaps I am feeling better because I have not been robbed lately...or that I have been walking more and it makes a huge difference to be at street level, rather than in a car or a bus. This is a very different place than Baltimore or New York or Paris or Rome, but it is a livable place. I am getting more accustomed to the slower pace. It feels as if we are often waiting for things to happen, but somehow the place works, people manage, we manage, we are getting things done.

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