Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Day Has Finally Come

So friends, I am heading to the United States at 4 a.m. - less than 12 hours. Good news for all my friends there, as I can be reached on my Verizon cell phone. Thanks to Linz & Andrew adding me to their family plan, my phone still works. Feel free to llamame. Otherwise, wish me luck! I will see my fellow Quiteños on Sunday night 11 p.m. with Subway and Snapple :)

FREE CONE DAY

(courtesy of benandjerrys.com)
Today is Ben & Jerry's 30th Birthday so make sure to go get your free cone and enjoy it for me!!! Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Otavalo

From el Lechero

Bufandas in a multitude of colors. My collection is now at 10 including one from Peru. I might catch up to Ashley before July.

I bought myself some nice glass earrings. I look forward to acquiring some more before I leave.

Lots of spices although, I am not sure who uses them because Ecuadorians sure don't.

These are secretly deadly if you do not wash them and vitalin them before you consume.

We spent a nice day in Otavalo, a small city three hours north of Quito where the largest artisan market in South America, a few Saturdays ago. It was very interesting even right down to the pie we ate after lunch. More to come later...

Just in Case...

The signs for the evacuation route in Baños should Tungurahua erupt....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Centro Historico





This is the older and prettier section of the city.

Valor con comida

We attended an indigenous festival last month where we were able to demonstrate our bravery with food.

This is the extent to which I explore my curiousity with Ecuadorian food:


And then we have Sly, who proved she is much, much braver than I:

(She is eating grubs after she watched them wriggling on the grill...Gross!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY APRIL !!

I've got the whole world in my hands...

Mi Muchacha

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY!!! I miss you guys :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baños, Ecuador

More pictures from our weekend getaway in Baños courtesy of Sly.


They cut the sugar cane up into small slivers for you to chew on. It is quite sweet and not my favorite but rather pretty nonetheless.

Baños is known for its hot pools fed by the hot springs, which come from the volcano and are said to have healing properties. Sly and I jumped into the pool full of Ecuadorians. It is kind of like big public pools. After biking more than 30 km, it was so nice!

A dilapidated house we found along our ride. One of Sly's favorite doors.

We lit candles for people at the local church. I am not Catholic but surely appreciate the grandeur of the churches in this devoutly religious country.

We ate at Casa Hood several times because they had delicious vegetarian food and real chocolate chip cookies. I could not eat another bite after breakfast.

This is the bridge that crosses the Pailón del Diablo Cascada in Baños.

This was the beginning of our trip. I promise I did not fall off the bike after waving. I cannot remember the last time I road a bike. It was so much fun.

We finished our trip and hopped in the back of a truck to get a ride back to Baños but the driver was in no hurry to get us back. We ended up jumping out and riding part way in the pouring rain until a chiva picked us up. We should have saved the $17 massages for the end of the trip instead of the beginning.

The North meets the South


Despite living only 45 minutes by bus from the middle of the world, I had not gone until Sly came. Another check on the list of "to dos" in this lovely country.

Cascadas in Baños






These are the waterfalls along the Baños to Puyo bike ride that is 61 km. Sly and I made it through 30 km. We would have gone the entire way if it hadn't been raining and if we hadn't climbed the huge mountainous road up to the Tungurahua volcano accidentally an hour before. (Yes, the active volcano in Ecuador. Worry not, it did not erupt while we were there.) I look forward to going back to complete the ride. Pictures courtesy of Sly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Filler for the ten Blogs in my notebook...Patience my friends!

I stole this from Optimistic Allie because I liked it and it made me miss her a little so I thought I would answer, too. I cannot wait to get home in July so we can sit on Amanda's couch after a nice meal at Margaritas or Yosaku and watch tv.

You can only use one word answers:

1. Where is your mobile phone? bra
2. Your significant other? complicated
3. Your hair? disaster
4. Your mother? sad
5. Your father? worried
6. Your favorite thing? home
7. Your dream last night? weird
8. Your favorite drink? gin
9. Your dream/goal? freedom
10. The room you’re in? cafe
11. Your ex? MIA
12. Your fear? marriage
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? porch
14. Where were you last night? class
15. What you’re not? same
16. Muffins? any
17. One of your wish list items? bath
18. Where you grew up? Maine
19. The last thing you did? ate
20. What are you wearing? sunglasses
21. Your TV? none
22. Your pets? none
23. Your computer? basement
24. Your life? funny
25. Your mood? tired
26. Missing someone? everyone
27. Your car? none
28. Something you’re not wearing? socks
29. Favorite Store? BestBuy
30. Your summer? exciting
31. Like someone? a lot
32. Your favorite color? green
33. When is the last time you laughed? halfhour
34. Last time you cried? January
HAPPY SECOND BIRTHDAY ALE :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

La Pared De La Mujer - "No Mas Violencia"






This is a machista society where equality is not a given and violence is often the norm for many women... This wall runs down a block on one of Quito's most busy streets right in the center of the city and is probably one of the best displays of graffiti I have ever seen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

As the Worlds Begin to Collide...

I have been here in Ecuador for seven months and twelve days without reprieve. In about two weeks, I will make my first journey back to the land of the free and the home of the brave for a brief visit to celebrate a friend's wedding. I am slightly terrified at the prospects of what I will encounter.

Here, I've seen history making constitutional changes, floods that have devastated provinces and decimated roads right in the middle of Quito leaving crater sized holes wide open into the depths of earth and causing enough crippling havoc to be declared a national emergency by the President. I've seen a regional war almost break out between three fragile South American countries with rippling affects on the people here as they are constantly tormented and victimized by desperate Colombians displaced by their violent country. I've met refugees who have lost family. I've seen countless strikes, protests, and demonstrations regarding a plethora of issues including ones against my homeland. I've experience sexism and discrimination on a daily basis. I've seen heart breaking children in malnutrition clinics, been robbed by a five year old girl, watched a volcano erupt, experienced bureaucracy through a third world government, and survived three months without pay, parasites, gut wrenching amoebas, bronchial, ear, sinus, bladder, and respiratory infections as well as severe skin problems, a sprained ankle, stomach, kidney and female issues all in a three month span. I've made due with less than I had when I was a 14 year old babysitter for the neighborhood families on my street. Add Anti-Americanism to the list. I haven't slept in a real bed since the hotel on September 1. I haven't paid more than 25 cents for water or $4 for a four course lunch in nearly 8 months. My eyes have experienced near wars, national disasters, a complete robbery of my host family's house, student's who have lost cars and fortunes to do theft, a host dad who was robbed at an ATM, shady taxi drivers, solo bus trips through the campo, questionable food and hotel rooms and enough rain to last me a lifetime. Toilet paper, hot water, and security are luxuries here.

I have a life here that includes a family, friends, a compañero, a job, and a friend from home. Daily living is easy and uncomplicated. I have a different nickname and a daily routine where I finish half my work day before 9 a.m. I even look different with hair 10 shades lighter. My legs, feet, arms, and face are an entirely different color than my chest, stomach and butt. I spend the majority of my time speaking and studying another language. Spanglish is the current wavelength. Some might have forgotten I live in the third world...

This is my life until I step into an airport on April 30th to embark on a 20 hour trip to another life. I am doing my best to prepare myself for the blinding culture of the first world...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Lonely Mountain Roads...


One thing I will always remember about Ecuador is that it seems as though you can always reach out and touch the clouds...

El Lechero


Four hours later, we finally found the "magical tree" hidden in the outskirts of Otavalo. The view made the walk worth it...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

May You Find Peace in Heaven...

Sadly, this past weekend, my sister's friend Kate was murdered in Las Vegas, NV. Kate was Sunshine's friend from high school with whom she remained rather close throughout the years. Her small daughter survives her. While I have no words of comfort for my sister or Kate's family, I do have thoughts and prayers. When things like this happen, I cannot but wonder what is wrong with people, yet I am also motivated to live life a little more. She was 27 years old and probably going about her day as usual until the tragic incident happened. Let this be a lesson in time. You have no idea how much you have so do not waste one second of it. Also, may her family receive answers and her daughter find hope.