Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pros and Cons

Eric and I have decided that we MUST make the apartment decision by Monday. The two final 'contestants' have about an equal number of pros and cons, so at this point I have no idea where we will end up. The Cordero and Tamayo penthouse is huge, has three bedrooms, has incredible views, has a fireplace, a great concierge, and is close to the Mariscal, La Floresta, the Supermaxi and a fruit and vegetable market, OchoyMedio, and restaurants and clubs. It is located in a less than safe area, is far from Maya's school, is a little less expensive, but is not fully equipped and we will be spending more money to furnish it with kitchen ware and some furniture and perhaps new mattresses. The new apartment we looked at today in the Republica del Salvador area, is only two bedrooms, but spread out through three floors and feels bigger. It is fully furnished and equipped with kitchen equipment, is closer to Maya's school by at least twenty minutes in the morning rush, is close to shops, gyms, restaurants, flower booths, bakeries, the Supercines the Megamaxi, and the huge Carolina Park. It is safer and more secure, has bathtubs and a jacuzzi whereas Cordero only has showers, and is warmer because of all the sun pouring in. It is a penthouse on three levels with a little bit of a view, but is much smaller than the Cordero place. The bathrooms are grungy, but so is the Cordero apartment. The smaller apartment is in an area that reminds me more of a European city, with everything available in walking distance. On the other hand, walking out after 6 PM is not entirely safe, and there are pickpockets everywhere at all times. The owner of the Republica del Salvador appears eager to rent to us, the Cordero owners do not seem much interested in us.

I look at my lists and it appears that the end result is that the two places even out with pros and cons and I simply have to decide where I want to be. Cordero is more of an adventure, Republica del Salvador is more of a familiar experience. We can move in the latter and just start living, the Cordero place requires much more time and effort to make it work for us.

Eric and I spent the day wandering through the city. We visited the Republica del Salvador area in the morning, and went back to the house to get Maya so she could see the apartment too. Maya chose roses and a cake for Isabel at 'Cyrano's', and then insisted that she return to the house so she could visit Isabel's dog with the family. Maya had no interest in looking at more apartments. I wanted to see more, but instead Eric and I wandered through the city trying to make a decision about where we wanted to live. We took the Ecovia to the Cordero apartment, and walked around the area to see if there were more places to rent and to check out the feel of the neighbourhood. We then detoured to the Rio Amazonas to ask about our phones at the 'Porta' store. I am not sure I understand why, but they are not yet ready after four days. I have not had a cellphone for over three weeks, and I am doing fine without one, but it is time to make myself more available. I remembered having had good coffee at a place down the street on Amazonas years ago, so we stopped at the coffee shop, but the coffee was just the usual Ecuadorian coffee I get everywhere else. I had a humita for lunch, I am trying to eat 'Ecuadorian' as much as possible.

We walked past the Hilton Colon to the Ejido Park to visit the Saturday art market, in anticipation of decorating our new place, and then to the outdoor artisan market near the Casa de la Cultura. We passed the most incredible museum here in Quito, the Museo del Banco Central, which I have yet to visit this trip, but is high on my list of priorities when I no longer am apartment hunting. There are more artisan markets on the way to the Mariscal, and then lots of restaurants and my favourite bookstore (Eric slept while I read books), and a spray painting event on the side of a building. I insisted that we walk back to Cordero and look at the area some more, and wanted to return to Republica del Salvador for more apartment hunting, but suddenly it was late and taking the Ecovia back to Jipijapa we missed our stop and ended up at the final terminal station, which was fine because the walk home was all downhill.

Maya had not missed us at all, and had enjoyed her day 'chilling', but had read her Harry Potter book five times and was tired of it. She was relieved that we bought her the next installment. I am not sure how to keep up with her voracious appetite for books. We must find a library here, or I must enter the ebook universe.

Maya was not thrilled to join us in the Centro Historico to watch the 'Ruta de las Iglesias', a 10K run through the old city. We had met Drew at Yanayacu last weekend and he was running in the race, so we wanted to cheer him on. We did not see him amongst the 4500 participants, but had fun scrambling around looking for places to watch the runners come by. All the churches were alit and there were brides getting married all over the centro.

Eric and I have walked more than 10K today, up and down hills, getting our exercise, talking about our choices, going back and forth with pros and cons, and we cannot get to the end of this discussion. Why is the decision so difficult? Part of it may be that I had imagined an entirely different sort of experience here. I had expected to live far more luxuriously than is possible. I had not expected to have to give up so much. I know I can manage with whatever the decision is, and I will make the best of wherever we live and whatever our circumstances are, but when I went out with Paquita the first week I was here, I was looking at another lifestyle and I imagined myself living that way. Eric believes that the struggle is deeper, that the move to Quito challenges me and puts me out of my comfort zone and creates uncertainty and fear and paralysis.


  1. I am an US citizen living in Dallas now. I grew up on Republica del Salvador many years ago. From 1977 - 1983. It was a single story house that was torn down to make way for a high rise. IT was a great street. Got very crowded on Soccer Sundays. After 83 we moved down to an apartment on Colon and then another on Naciones Unidas until I finally graduated and headed back to the States. I have visited several times after I left but have not been back in 10 years. I really miss the place.
    Even 10 years ago Republica del Salvador was already being built up. Good luck on your apartment search. Scott Tye

  2. Diggin' the pictures of the Mariscal and Ejido. The KFC and Mickey D's at the corner of Patria y 6 de Diciembre, Otavalo booths in the Ejido. And la Boca del Lobo is a great people watching joint to have an evening drink or two.

    BTW I find that I can generally bargain for better prices in the Ejido than Otavalo, I'll go nearer closing and I think that a lot of the merchants would rather make a sale and not have to haul everything back with them.

    You definitely have to see the pre-Colombian collection at the Museo del Banco Central, it is astounding.

    Best of luck with the difficult decision of choosing an abode. There is a lot real estate on the market right now and I saw a lot of nice rentals in El Comercio online tonight.

    Un abrazo!

  3. Dr. Detroit! Enjoyed listening to you play!