We have moved into out tiny matchbox apartment with our own special view of Pichincha, except that today the mountain is obscured by heavy smoke from a fire which has been burning all day, and that, according to our taxi driver, was set by careless drug users. It is the dry season now and forest fires are frequent occurrences. When we drove to Cumbaya last Friday evening, spectacular fires lit up the hills. Fire officials usually let the fires burn out, only interfering if homes and lives are threatened. This one today is huge, and has spread out across the side of the mountain. It feels as if the whole valley is blanketed in smoky fog. It has felt like a very curious day, significantly quieter and calmer throughout the city.
City workers left for work later than usual this morning, with elementary students and parents on their way to the first day of school. Our alarm went off at 6, Maya was up by 6:30, dressed and ready in no time. Erika had advised us to take a taxi at 7-7:15, but we left at 7:25 and we arrived in less than 20 minutes. All was calm and disorganized at the school, but Maya appeared to adjust without difficulty. She had an uneventful first day.
I had her miss her first bus home, instead I picked her up by taxi to get her to an audition at the music conservatory, where we met the assistant conductor of the national philharmonic orchestra, who happens to have studied at Peabody and knows Dan, Maya's conductor from last year. She was delighted with Maya and asked her to participate in one of the orchestras she conducts at the conservatory. We then rushed to ballet school to start Maya's first day with her new class.
I did taste the 'best coffee in town' at Road Coffee in the Mariscal. It was expensive ($3) but well worth it, and I savoured every drop for a good half hour. My purpose in the Mariscal was to look for a good Spanish school, which I want to start immediately. My Spanish must be better, and sooner rather than later! I found the South America Explorers club, which was on my list of places to visit, and it did direct me to some schools that it is associated with. Tomorrow I will visit the schools and make a decision. In the end, I expect they will all be about the same, and I will learn, whichever one I choose.
Now that Maya is in school, I have the whole day from about 7:10, when the bus picks her up in front of our apartment building, until 3:30 or 4, when she will be dropped off at Isabel's. Eight hours a day to do anything! I have never had that sort of freedom ( I am usually in the office by 8 and seeing patients every hour until 5), so this is a great adventure. I can feel myself wanting to get organized, so this morning I checked the gyms close to our new home and will decide in the next few days where I will direct my early morning. Spanish classes will be next, and the afternoon will be devoted to exploring Quito. Sounds like a good start to our new lives.