Quito Aug 31 2013

Today I went with Diana (mami, basically mommy, but pronounced like mami) to the center of old Quito,  We walked about 12 blocks up and down hill and took the bus also, for a quarter each.

The bus was very crowded, the old town was very crowded since it is Saturday, and between vendors shouting their wares, latin music playing everywhere and huge crowds it was quite overwhelming.
Ecuador is different from Mexico, Spain and India in that, although the buildings and sidewalk are just as broken, they are much cleaner.  They don’t throw their trash on the street.  Also it doesn’t smell.  In Mexico it always smells like onions and garbage, in  Spain like BO.  Remember Seanan how hard it was that our noses were always at armpit level on the buses?  Another nice difference is that the street vendors are respectful and keep their distance.  Still very colorful and interesting markets and very Catholic churches.
The buildings were Spanish colonial, from 19th century, streets of stone, balconies on the second floors and huge mountains so everything is very steep uphill and down.
I bought a phone, phone card and minutes for $30.  The vendor looked at my US phone and said it was very antiquated!  My new one is small and light and all the instructions are in Spanish.  I should say Diana bought it for me since I would not have been able to do it alone.
I have spoken no English today so my brain is very scrambled and thoughts seems to be mixed Spanish and English.  This is definitely the way to pick it up faster. Sometimes I try to say something in English and still can’t remember the word!
Walking back was all uphill so I was pooped and took a nap, then went out on my own for the first time to find a grocery store and buy food for dinner.  It is only four blocks from here and I managed it.  It was pretty much the same as Hy Vee with some whole foods, some horrible foods, and more fresh meat and breads than in Iowa.  The people don’t seem to notice me, one way or another, and are simple, friendly and helpful.   The sun was very hot because of the altitude and Diana insisted I buy a hat and wear it.  I forgot to take the card out of my computer and put in my camera so no pictures today!
Definitely noticing the altitude and now its time for a nap again.  I think I’ll be able to go to the old town on my own, but I’ll wait until Monday when it won’t be so busy and crowded.

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