First Post From Quito, Ecuador
Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
27Trip End Dec 23, 2006
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1) My host "family" is great. I put family in quotes becauseīitīs really just a single women not an entire family. Now before you start "OOOHING" and ÄHHING" (Step, this means you), relax...it is so, so not even close to being like that. Her name is Inez, sheīs a 34 year old Lawyer and recently divorced. He boyfriend is there all the time and heīs a lawyer as well...his name is Edison. She has a 4 room apartment in a great location in Quito (15 minute walk to school) and there are a couple other students staying at her place. One of my house mates is a Norweigen guy named Stein who seems pretty cool...the other is Diana and sheīs been out travelling since I arrived. Anyway..itīs great that Stein, Diana and myself have Inez as our host family as Iīve talked to a couple other students who have older couples or single people...Inez is closer to our own age, likes to drink cerveza and is a mean cook
2) Less than 12 hours after arriving into Quito (Sunday morning), one of Inezīs friends (Juan) offers to show me around the show me the best way to get to my school. Juan is a good guy and speaks better English than Inez so it was nice to have him help me acclimate to the new country. Anyway, he says Sunday is a great day to go see the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) and the next thing I know, Juan is throwing me aboard a bus bound for god knows where and waving "Adios" to me as I sped off. Being new to the country and not speaking the language, I first wanted to get the lay of the land and better understand the public transportation system before starting to venture outside the city limits. "Nonsense" says Juan...and Iīm on my way. One confusing bus connection, 1 hour and 40 cents later, Iīm at Mitad del Mundo....Latitude 0....the equator (from which Ecuador getīt itīs name. Itīs a fairly big deal in Ecuador and theyīve created quite the tourist attraction for it. The funny thing is...their attraction and their line is in the wrong place. You see the French (silly French) came down to Ecuador in 1736 and told everyone, this is it...hereīs the center of the earth. A few hundred years later some Americans equipped with that great American invention GPS told everyone the equator is about 300 meters north of where the French said it was. So...a second tourist attraction has been built around it and itīs much more interesting than the fake equator
3) Learning a new language is going to test the limits of my mental capacity. Granted itīs still my first week...but I am most definitely struggling. I have no problem memorizing verbs and the vocabulary...but trying to piece it all together is a completely different thing. Hopefully my old brain can handle it...Iīm a little worried that Iīve destroyed way, way too many brain cells and my synapses arenīt firing like they used to. Even if I do learn the language...Iīll never be able to roll my Rīs.
4) Ecuadoring beer is bueno.
5) When climbing to the top of a basilica in Ecuador...they do mean the TOP. I went with Stein and his professor and we literally climbed to the top of the tallest tower and then our guide asked us if we wanted to walk around outside...thereīs no guard rail.
Attached are a few pics...enjoy. All is bueno is Ecaudor.