Monday, December 7, 2009


Parque La Carolina

After the frenzy of the past week, Quito feels almost serene. No more chivas blasting band music (I almost miss it!), no more street fairs with throngs of revelers, no more refrains of 'Viva Quito!'. Most of the Ecuadorians I know shunned the party and stayed home this past week. Looking back, I can see that I was running in all directions trying to take in as much as possible. There is a remarkable variety of activities and events occurring in Quito at any one time, and it is wonderful that most often it is easy to get tickets and participate. I am amazed at how often I show up at the last moment and am able to enter. Except for the 'Supercines' close by, where on occasion I show up last minute only to discover that the show has been sold out.

Anti-Bullfight Sentiment

I decided to return to Spanish class today after a two week break. I was worried I had forgotten all I learned and that too much of my intimate environment is in English, that I have to keep working on improving my Spanish as much as possible, if I expect to be anywhere near fluent by the time we leave. Eric and I had a salsa class planned, but Maya's school closed early today, so I picked her up and missed the class. Eric volunteered to do the pick up, since dancing is a form of suffering for him, but he has lots of catch-up to do, so that we will be able to eventually dance together. I rushed to get back to the class with Maya so we could practice the moves he had learned, but today was mostly a review, since he had forgotten the steps he had learned last week. Que lastima!

I like the Mariscal. I had heard so many dismissive remarks about the area; that it is just for tourists (Gringolandia!), that it is dangerous and expensive and rowdy. With my Spanish and salsa classes located in the Mariscal, it is a daily destination for me, and I have come to know the restaurants and the coffee shops and the bars and my favourite book store (Libri Mundi). Eric and I meet in the Mariscal for coffee and for lunch, since it is a short walk from the university. There is an artisanal market in the area, so that will be my destination tomorrow when I start my Christmas shopping.

Bars and Restaurants

Libri Mundi

Christmas markets have popped up all over La Carolina. The city is revving up for Christmas, and decorations have appeared everywhere. I am hunting for a 'nativity scene', which I am told is a must for Christmas. All of December is a celebration for us, with Maya's birthday in ten days, a ballet performance, an orchestra presentation, two solo recitals, daily rehearsals, presents to buy, a tree to decorate, baking to do, and packing to visit family for the holiday.

Futbol in the Park

It is grayer and colder today, somehow that suits the sense of denouement. The city feels sober and more serious today. There was minimal traffic; I wondered if the celebrants were sleeping off the party today. I wonder if this is the quiet before the next storm.

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