Emily woke up early. The pools were being cleaned using a loud pressure device and refilled with more spring water. I heard her get up and go out for a walk, but I was not ready to leave my dreams and pulled the covers over my head. She came to read her book in bed, and still I buried deeper under the blankets and tried to return to whatever fantasyworld I was in, which I cannot remember now at all.
Hot Springs Outside our Room
It was cold and foggy again. The clouds hung low over the mountains that surrounded the town. When we ventured out for breakfast the air was heavy with moisture and although it may have been raining, it really felt as if the air was simply wet, and that drops of liquid were being squeezed out of the atmosphere as we made our was through it. The hotel was empty, and there was only one other table full of women, who probably came up from Quito for a day of pampering. We followed them to the spa, where they were all frolicking in the pool wearing blue and white swimming caps. Emily and I chose to have reflexology and hot stone massages, which were supposed to be energizing, but whenever I have any sort of massage, I feel less energetic and after another long soak in the hot springs, it was even harder to get packed and ready to go.
Luckily, the sun was out and the sky was blue, so when we left the hotel we decided to walk the 3 kilometers to the main road. I was hoping that the clouds would clear so we could see magnificent Antisana ahead of us, but although the fog lifted, the mountain remained hidden. The town of Papallacta was almost empty, so I am not sure where everyone was on a Tuesday afternoon. We ran into children coming home from school, and a few old people sitting in front of their houses in the sunshine. When we arrived at the crossroads, two soldiers approached us. They asked us where we were from and what sort of zoom I had on my camera and whether I used manual or automatic modes to photograph the landscapes. It was a curious conversation and one of the men kept holding his hand out as if he wanted me to give him money. I shook his hand instead, more than once. When he asked what model of camera it was, I was relieved that he noted that it was a ten year old model and not that desirable. Did he want my camera? Did he expect money? It was odd because we were in the middle of the road and there were several people looking on. A group of workers were jackhammering the road nearby, but never looked up. Perhaps the soldiers thought we were tourists and gullible and would give them money, or perhaps when they learned that I lived in Quito and spoke Spanish and was not a tourist that I would resist. I was relieved when the bus to Quito came and Emily and I had an excuse to get away. The ride home was gorgeous; we climbed through the paramo to the pass at 13000 feet and then descended towards Quito admiring the landscape.
Emily had a meeting with a colleague at the Ministerio de la Salud at 5 PM, and we arrived home just in time. Our building is conveniently located right next door. I had promised to make locro de papa for our last evening, so spent the next few hours in the kitchen. Maya came home excited to have lost her tooth the night before, which had been loose for months.The tooth fairy came to visit her here in Quito too!
Emily catches a 6;45 AM flight back to Baltimore, so will be leaving the house a little after 4. It is odd that it feels as if she has been here much longer than five days. That happens often with the students when they come for their course in January; after a few days, time feels different, and they tell me that it feels as if they have been in Ecuador for weeks. I want Emily to stay so much longer! She has seen so much and experienced so much in such a short time, and I would love to show her more. Also, with Emily leaving for Baltimore, it feels as if I have even less time here in Quito, the reality of leaving this life behind and starting our new old life is more real and unsettling. I am feeling agitated and not ready to move on!