Thursday, September 17, 2009

High Up

We live high up in the sky ( Quito is at 9300 feet and we are ten stories up!) and my first action in the morning when I wake up is to check our mountain view. Pichincha (which peaks at 15300 feet!!!) has been obscured by clouds these past few days, so clouds and fog greet me in the morning. Whenever I am home, even for a minute or two, I check my view of the mountains. Half of Pichincha is black and burnt, which is shocking to see, but I expect it to recover over the next few months. I do not see the sunset, since I look out to the east, but sometimes the sky is pink in the evening, and the clouds can be ominous and spectacular.

Living this high up gives one an entirely different perspective on the world. If I look down early in the morning, the streets are empty. When Maya and I go downstairs to wait for the bus at 7:10, it is peaceful and quiet, there is almost no traffic, the stores and coffee shops are not yet open, an entirely different feel than midday, when the stores are all busy, the restaurants are overflowing with people, and the streets are full of cars and pedestrians and construction workers. By 3PM, cars begin to multiply, and by 5 there is bumper to bumper traffic and no one gets anywhere fast. The traffic continues until about 7, and suddenly there are no more people walking, and cars become scant, and the streets are eerily quiet. High up in my matchbox tower, I have a bird's-eye view of the world below, with Pichincha towering over me from the east.

I did not know what to expect of the noise level. Our building is located on a busy street in an active part of town. Yesterday evening we heard regular roaring nearby, and figured out that the crowd at the soccer stadium nearby was cheering their favorite team. There are about ten soccer teams in the country and two or three in the city, and everyone has their favorite team. Soccer is BIG in this country, and with the World Cup coming up, there is much excitement about the qualifying games over the next few months. When Ecuador played Columbia, Quitenos were wearing their Ecuador jerseys and it appeared as if everyone was watching the game, either at home or at restaurants or bars, or in their cars. We were shopping that day and tried to get into a cab, but he was listening to the game and refused to take us anywhere!

The weather has changed this week. I had been warned that it would get colder in the winter, that by mid September the rains would come, sometimes every afternoon. It is colder anyway, but with the rain, I am convinced that we all need to buy warmer clothes, with woolen sweaters and raingear. I was caught in a downpour this afternoon without an umbrella, and am still trying to warm up. The skies are quite spectacular, and often give warning of impending weather changes. Living at this level makes one much more aware of the sky and its expressions.

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