Thursday, September 10, 2009
I have been spending a significant amount of time using public transportation. I feel comfortable with the system, even when there are far too many people squeezed together, perhaps because it is familiar now. It is an opportunity for people watching. Students are now attending school, so I am starting to recognize the various uniforms. At least a fifth of the women riding the bus are wearing their traditional costumes, many from Oatavalo, others form the small towns surrounding Quito. There is a great museum at the Mitad del Mundo that demonstrates all the identifiable attire from each ethnic group. I need an extensive review, because I am never sure which costumes belong to which.
It is remarkable to see the various hairstyles that the local men wear. Hairgel is the rage, and every man uses some, sometimes so much their hair is stiff and unmoveable. The women are less adventuresome with their hair, and usually wear their hair long. Both women and men have beautiful dark black hair, unless they have coloured their hair (women) to various shades of red. It is noticeable that no one is bald, at least very rarely. If I see a bald man and I get close, I will discover that he is a foreigner.
I sent Eric to buy hair gel for Maya, so that she could get her hair slicked back in ballet class. He reported that there were more varieties of hair gel for men than for women! I checked at the Megamaxi and found that there were no gels for women at all, and at least twelve choices for the men. This is certainly a difference between Ecuadorian culture and others!
People dress conservatively, with dark colours and simple styles. Bright and light colours stand out. Women however, wear lots of makeup, and have their nails done in all sorts of styles.It is remarkable how many 'peluquerias' are on every corner. I cannot imagine that women are constantly getting their nails and hair done, their bodies massaged and having facials, but there are establishments on every street advertising some sort of beauty treatment.
Last week, Maya and I joined Isabel on her regular visit to her salon. Maya had her nails painted blue ( which has significantly diminished her nail biting), and I too had a manicure and pedicure. I had one very intense woman at my feet and another massaging my hands. It almost felt like it was too much attention, but I am looking forward to my next visit!
I am not adjusting well to our new schedule. Maya sets her alarm for 6 AM!!! At Isabel's, we were trickling down to breakfast by 10:00 AM, and no one started moving until after 9. Today, after feeding Maya and getting her all ready, I crawled back into bed and slept past 10, and only moved slowly for the next few hours. Maya was picked up by her bus this morning and seems very comfortable at her new school.
I decided to look at the archeological collection at the Museo del Banco Central. It is a stunning exhibit, and although I have seen it several times, I absorb more each time I visit. Today was no exception. I want to return tomorrow, and see more of it.
My afternoon alarm chimes at 3:00 PM; I have to take the Echovia to Rep del Salvador to pick up violin and ballet clothes, meet Maya at Isabel's, practice violin, get her to ballet class nearby, visit with Isabel and Erika, and take a taxi home. I am sure in time the programme will get easier. When we arrived home, Eric was barefoot and in the kitchen, the table was set with candles in front of a wonderful view of the mountains, and we had our first dinner at our new home sweet home.