Friday, August 28, 2009

Libri Mundi

Quito is shrinking, or at least is more and more familiar and does not feel too big or overwhelming anymore. I am very comfortable with the Trole and the Ecovia, and find myself unconcerned with the mass of humanity on the buses. It is sometimes odd to feel people pressing so hard and so close, but I am lucky to be a head taller than most and breathing is always easy. When there are too many people, Maya gets a little panicky, so we choose to wait for the next bus.

It was the last day of swimming class. Despite her limitations in Spanish, Maya seems to have understood what was required of her. Her teacher seemed unenthusiastic most of the time, but perked up when he heard that she was from Baltimore and piped up with 'Michael Phelps!!!!'. I did not bother to explain that Maya learned to swim at Meadowbrook, the same pool where Phelps used to train. I have been taking advantage of the hour of swim class to finish 'Ivanhoe' and start with a novel I picked up at the bookstore at Quicentro. It happens to be a fictional account of a democratic election in Cuba in 2000 and the odd reappearance of Che Guevara, or someone who sounds like him thirty years after his murder. So far it has been entertaining. Maya and I had some time today in my favourite bookstore 'Libri Mundi', located in the Mariscal, which has a small English language section. While Maya started the sixth Harry Potter novel upstairs in the children's section, I found a compilation of short stories by Ecuadorian writers, and another about the Amazon which caught my attention. I know I should not be buying anything, let alone books, so I put the books back, to be continued at our next visit.

Maya was not interested in doing anything today but read her book, so I promised her she could read all day anywhere anytime. She read on the Ecovia, in the street both while sitting and when walking, while waiting to see apartments, during her meal. It was not quite what she wanted to do, she really just wanted to stay at home and read, but this was the compromise. Going to Libri Mundi was a bonus.

Maya and I also spent time in a lovely store full of Ecuadorian handicrafts. I remember finding the shop in the Mariscal the first time I came to Quito, and was delighted to encounter it again. Maya has decided to decorate her room with an Ecuadorian theme, which is an improvement over the Versailles theme she had been insisting on until today. Everything was too costly, so we will have to visit the market in Otavalo to find the same items for much better prices.

Today was another unsuccessful apartment searching day. We walked around the Republica del Salvador area, looking for 'arriendo' signs in windows. We have an appointment tomorrow to see another penthouse on a quiet street called Luxembourg. We had an appointment with a real estate agent today, but she called and canceled in the morning. Eric understood that her father was ill and in the hospital, but when we called later to ask about another place we wanted to see, we learned that her father had died early that morning, and felt badly about interfering with her day. This area is full of shops and restaurants and seems more and more an ideal place to live, halfway between Maya's school and Catolica, and close to the Carolina park and all sorts of amenities. We are all tired of the apartment hunt, and have committed to making a final decision by the end of the month (three days!). Once we move into our apartment, we can start organizing our lives here. I find it surprising that I have been in Quito for over three weeks. Either it feels that we have been here for much longer than that or the time has sped by very quickly.

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