Around Quito

Cersamic Ocarina

Ceramic Ocarin

La Casa de Culturamy visa


     Around Quito

Can you see the ambassador’s signature on my

visa?  The poor guy.  Maybe I thought an ambassador’s life was all high level negotiation and spy-thriller cocktail parties.  But no.  This guy has to sign every single visa. And there are hundreds every day.   Gosh does he also have to investigate all the people?  If someone commits a crime will it have been his responsibility that they entered the country?

It took five hours one day and one hour a few days later to get this six month visa registered.  Other than being a really boring experience, of sitting on plastic seats watching the screen for my number to come up, I have a few observations:

Every single over 60 gringo man had a young Ecuadorian girlfriend!   Obviously this is paradise for the gringo geezers.  They look 100% happier than the crew at Paradiso.  I’m unsure what the young girls get; chances are its a more comfortable style of living and entree into a new culture.  Since the geezers speak little Spanish. exchange of ideas can’t be much, but its nice for them to have translators.

For the most part I can’t tell where people are from; the room looked much like the streets.  This is because many of the “estranjeros”  (strangers, literally.  What do we call them in the US? )  are from other Latin American countries.  Any blonde turned out to be from Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland.  There seem to be many young volunteers from those countries working here in various ways.   Its an industry. The kids were from wealthy European families paying for them to spend a year volunteering. How do children from poor families do it?  As always, lawyers were easy to spot, dressed more formally than anyone else, and carrying important looking cases.

Congratulations to me! Having gotten the signature of the ambassador, I’m now free to live here for six months.   I walked back to the Casa de Cultura along the avenido de Amazonas, a wide busy street which winds and  curves through the city, accurately named Quito from el panacillabecause the other streets are all straight and perpendicular and narrower.  

casa de cultura 012The names of streets in Quito are   much like ours: Washington, Jefferson, Adams for us and Avenido Simon Bolivar or Avenido Gaspar de Vallareoll for Quito; there’s are a bit longer!   Also there’s Avenido de 10 de Diciembre, which is kind of like the avenue of the 4th of July, which I haven’t seenin the U.S.  Since I like history it’s interesting to me to see who are the heroes for whom the avenues are named and who have statues in the plazas!  There’s a whole plaza for Benito Juarez who was a president of Mexico.  I don’t know why he is a hero here.  I’ll have to ask someone.

Also I don’t know why the text suddenly changed to light grey and just spent 1/2 hour trying to fix it.  Obviously it is attached to the pictures, but haven’t figured out how to detach it. 

Yes, I am loving it here. .  Except that I would miss my children and friends, I could see staying here.  Because the Ecuadorians are so sweet, polite, hospitable and unstressed.  And the countryside is beautiful, and the government much kinder than ours.

Now I will try to become as nice a person as the Ecuadorians are.  Today my Spanish lesson was: ”Senor, disculpa. me pueda alludar?   Queria saber donde esta la calle Amazona? “ Which translates.   Mr., excuse me, can you help me?  I would like to know where is Amazona street? I’ve been asking many directions, but it will be so much nicer if I can learn to do it politely!

Can you tell my English is starting to sound like a translation from Spanish?
It is lovely to be not worried about money.  This is partially because of my social security but I would not be able to live on it in the US.  Here it is easy, if I take care to live simply.  Food, rent, bus, taxi are all very inexpensive.  Clothing is inexpensive.  Some things are not!  I went into a bookstore yesterday to find a novel by Ecuadorian author in Spanish, thinking I could learn Spanish, local literature and culture all at once.  The small paperback was $24!  I didn’t have that much with me, since I mostly only need $5 a day, and they don’t take debit or credit cards anywhere.     On that subject, getting cash is worrisome.  Some ATMs won’t take my debit card.  I found one that did once.  Today I will spend the day finding an ATM that will give me enough cash to pay for the week at an hostal in Otavalo.

And, finally here is a basket of local fruits, whose juice is served fresh nearly everywhere, combined with other more familiar fruits like coconut, pineapple, and oranges.

fruit of Ecuador 001

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