Cindy and Dianne Alvarado in their garden, Quito This is turning out just as I hoped! The driver (gus, pronounced goose) and I had a great time speaking pidgeon Spanish and English for an hour last night on the drive from the airport into central Quito. Next Wednesday he will take me to see some cities about two hours north of here; smaller places where I might like to live.  In addition he plans to introduce me to his brother who lives in Ibarra with his family and is a doctor there.  Gus thinks I might like to live in Ibarra.  Amazing service.  He will translate, bargain for me, drive, take me to good places to eat, put up with my Spanish, and seems to be having a great time doing it all. Every Ecuadorian I’ve met so far has relatives in the USA or has worked there for some time.

I’m staying at the casa Alvarado, renting a room for $100 a week, which I found on airbnb.  The mami, Diana, cooks me breakfast and will go for a walk with me this afternoon to show me the historical district of Quito.  Fresh fruit, fresh oj for breakfast.  Cindi, the daughter spent an hour talking with me this morning,  She studies English and French in college and gave me Spanish lessons this morning.   The garden in back of the house is all overgrown and luscious with a fruit called tree tomato, shown below, other fruits whose names I have already forgotten, beans, spinach, squashes, figs, flowering trees and much more. Alvarados garden Quito, with tree tomatoes, a fruit (2)

We are at 9,000 ft and I can feel it, as I was a little out of breath carrying luggage in the airport.  We flew in between the high volcanic peaks, which appeared to be as high as the airplane.  My first view of Ecuador was of the rocky peaks poking through the clouds below us.  Updrafts made the landing pretty exciting.  Next to me the Ecuadorian/American assistant commissioner of police from California –on his way to consult with Quito police–crossed himself and kissed his fingers as I remember I used to do in Mexico long ago.   I went through immigration and customs, no problem and then out to the area where the various drivers were holding signs with their passenger’s names.  Mine wasn’t there!  He was 20 minutes late, but I was so involved in watching people unite and re unite that I didn’t worry too much,

My driver turned out to be just my age, and so we had the same conversation we seem to have all the time at home:  how will we afford to retire?  He had both social security from working in Miami, and Ecuadorian pension from teaching social studies in high school in Quito, so it looks good for him; he just has to work three more years.

Below is my very spare but comfortable room in the Alvarez’s house.  It’s very basic and clean. Ecuador 002 Ecuador 001,

Americans can rent hotels for much better accommodations, but I like saving money, having a family to talk to and show me around, and having my breakfast provided.  Its friendly, cozy and my things are safe here.   Here is a view of Ecuador from the plane:

view from airplane

 

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