Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cold in Quito

I did not realize how cold it has been in Quito, so after a weekend at the beach, where it rains incessantly but the air and the water both in the ocean and from the sky is warm, it feels colder than ever. I have sent all my warm clothes away, so nothing that I have quite does the job. And I think it is warmer outside than it is in the apartment.

Somehow our day never really got moving. Maya had lots of violin practice to catch up on, I tried to repack most of our stuff and weigh each suitcase to be sure I could get everything in the four 50 pound bags. I think I will make it but just. I have three boxes of things to be left with my friend Maria. I am not sure what I will do with the boxes, whether I will ever want anything in the boxes or whether at some point I will just ask her to throw everything out. But she has been kind enough to store them for me for now. The bonus for her is that she has two whole boxes of children's books, which she and Gabriel like to read together. When we return in January, Maya will have fresh books to read (hopefully she will have forgotten them by then).

The apartment looks almost ready for inspection, which will happen Thursday. I will finally meet the dueƱa and hopefully she will be content with the state of the rooms. I believe we have taken good care of them. We had been advised not to pay our last month's rent, that here in Ecuador the custom is to use the security deposit as the last month's rent, so I am not sure what we do if she finds things not to her liking. I am not quite prepared for her to be dissatisfied. I am in her debt because she has agreed to let me stay in the apartment until our flight out, which is more than generous and I am not sure that there is not a price to be paid for her kindness. Perhaps I will simply feign misunderstanding or ignorance of the language if anything becomes uncomfortable.

When we arrived last night, it was evident that Emilie and Sam had been here. They did not sleep in the apartment Monday night, but arrived sometime in the afternoon from Mindo. Maya and I had been talking about going to a movie. I had seen 'Robin Hood' on a very poor quality DVD at home and wanted to see it on the big screen. Emilie and Sam wanted to join us, so we took the bus to Plaza de las Americas, where we arrived a half hour before the show, which was entirely sold out. I knew that there was another cinema a few blocks away at CCI, so we bussed it over there and did get tickets for a 9:30 show, with two hours until the show. We found the food court and ate quickly, then wandered around the very oppressive mall. There is a small ice rink in the basement, so we watched a hockey practice. The coach was clearly Canadian and spoke English with his players. Suddenly Maya recognized him as being a teacher at her school and from Toronto. He recognized her and said hello. The rink was a half size rink, so the players in their bulky uniforms looked a little ridiculous, but it was delightful to watch them on the ice.

When we finally sat down for the movie, I thought Maya would fall asleep (her bedtime is 8:30 PM), but she stayed up throughout the two hour show, and we all loved it (it is a version of 'Gladiator' with the same director and star) and arrived home long past midnight.

When we first arrived here, I would regularly go to the movies at the 'Supercines' around the corner, but it has been closed for months. My understanding is that the garage was not big enough, that the traffic around the theatre was excessive, that the noise and the disruption to the neighbourhood was a source of complaints, but the truth is that the 'right' people have not been paid off (I heard that the developers were too arrogant and thought they could get away with flaunting the unspoken rules). The theatre opened for a few hours last week, but was promptly closed within three hours, and that once again the owners refused to make the necessary accommodations (or payments) and that the cinema is unable to open for now.

My favourite cinema in town is 'Ochoymedio' in La Floresta, but I rarely get there. The movies are not the usual Hollywood fare; they are foreign and rare and interesting and compelling, but never suitable for children, so without a regular babysitter, I just look at the titles and wish I could go, and hope that one day I will have the opportunity to see anything I wish to see whenever I can.

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