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.
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.