Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Day in the Country

Lone Tree on Top of the Mountain


My plan for the day was to focus on Christmas shopping while Maya had a playdate with her friend from school, but I learned that Analia lived an hour away from us in the countryside, and I was uncomfortable leaving her with a family I did not know. Eric and I had the truck again, so we drove Maya to the home of Karina, Pedro, Analia and Federico. Our destination was almost as far as 'Mitad del Mundo', on a ten acre estate bordering a mountain along one side. Once we entered through the gates, we left Quito entirely behind. It was a peaceful oasis, and after we arrived, we simply stayed for the rest of the day.

Century Plant

The children swam in the pool while Pedro talked about his fears about Ecuador and its move to the left politically. I tried to defend socialism as is practiced in Europe and Canada, but his version of socialism was exemplified by Cuba, which I saw as a totalitarian state. Our conversation started with a question about my impressions about Ecuador. I am rather embarrassed that my time here is defined by recurrent robberies. When I expressed my frustration, Pedro's response was that stealing a cellphone could provide enough food for a family for a week, that with a huge percentage of the population living in poverty, without work, without education, hardly surviving, taking from those who have the luxuries of life (cellphones, computers, cameras) and selling the items for basic needs makes sense. I was told that it is my responsibility to adapt and learn how to avoid places and circumstances where I might be robbed. I realize that my learning curve has been an extended one.

Eric Balancing

We hiked through prickly pear and century plants. With the drought of the past year, the land is dry and desert-like and many of the plants reminded me of the desert around Tuscon. Apparently it rains during a usual winter and grass and flowers and plants grow well. There was a lemon grove and Maya and Analia picked lemons while driving an ATV.

We spent all day with Analia and her family, appreciating the peace and quiet, and watching Maya enjoy herself with her friend. Perhaps yesterday was too intense and we needed a day of repose.

Dry Landscape

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