Sunday, August 30, 2009
I will miss this house. Seeing Cotopaxi peeking out some mornings and again later in the day is priceless, and with the Panecillo and the Basilica in the distance, Pichincha on one side and gentler hills to the other, each time I walk across the rooftop to descend to the main floor of the house, I am amazed, delighted, entranced, recharged. Perhaps what I will miss the most however, is the warmth and generosity of Isabel and Erika. We are so well taken care of, all our needs and wishes are attended to, sometimes it is difficult to accept so many gifts and not to be able to reciprocate.
Anticipating that we will be gone in a few days, and wanting to express our thanks however inadequately, we took the opportunity to take the whole family out to lunch today. Isabel and Erika, along with Isabel's ex-husband Mario, her son Junior (Mario), her other daughter Stephanie who spent the summer working at an amusement park in Sandunsky, Ohio and returned late Thursday night ( and will be off studying in Oregon next in September for a year), and Mateo, Isabel's grandson, all joined us at 'Metro Cafe' on the other side of Carolina Park. This is a part of the city I have never explored, but during the ride I saw another big mall (El Jardin) and more restaurants and cafes. I did not realize that I had been in the area before, having eaten this past January at 'Crepes and Waffles' nearby. Metro Cafe looked trendy and advertised that it is one of the few places where you can eat 24 hours a day. That is unusual in Quito. Most of the city closes down at 6 or 7 and driving through the streets past a certain hour is a bit spooky with all businesses shut down and gates closed and most of the inhabitants safely in their homes.
We had a very lazy Sunday. all of us slept in, and when we woke up, Maya and I called family and friends and stayed in our pyjamas 'til late. All of Isabel's family trickled in through the morning, and we congregated in the kitchen and everybody helped get breakfast together. I am not sure how it was suddenly time for lunch and then it was past 5. I had written out my apartment pros and cons and reviewed them with Isabel (del Salvador won), my parents (same), Erika (same), Mario (same), and then Eric and I took a walk at dusk in the area around Erika's house and decided on the Cordero place. The plan is to call the owners and see if we can negotiate some details and if we cannot agree, we will move into del Salvador. Decision made.
Despite being told not to walk after dark and that the area of JipiJapa is not a safe place, it was very pleasant to walk down Isla Seymour to Rio Coca, to Avenue di Shyris and then right over to Rio Amazonas and back up Isla San Cristobal and home. There were few people on the streets, but some were congregated around a Panaderia, where Eric bought a drink and I tried 'aplanchada', a pastry I see people selling on the streets all the time. I had wondered if it was safe to buy on the street, and was curious; it was a thin sheet of meringue over an inch thick layered pastry. It was sweet and simple and tasty. I liked that couples and families were about. We passed the Plaza de Toros. I am definitely interested in seeing a bullfight one day, although I feel a little guilty feeling that way because I know it is a cruel and bloody event and that Erika entirely disapproves and is involved in a group that protests the practice. Some bullfights in Ecuador do not kill the bull, and involve many foolish locals who run into the ring and try to outsmart the bull, but at least the bull has a sporting chance and is sent back to the farm when he is done. There are also the traditional Spanish bullfights, and both Eric and I plan to go!
I am feeling relieved that we have made a decision, and I thought of all the real estate I had seen these past three weeks. My true fantasy here is to buy a traditional Spanish style house, clean it up and refresh or renovate it, and live behind the high walls with a garden. Eric and I passed a few that would have worked if we were planning to stay in Ecuador (Eric's dream) or spend a significant time here. But for now, an apartment with a view will do. That was at the top of my list of requirements.