Carrie and I have lived in Quito for 10 weeks.
And it is with sad hearts that we are leaving this city and Ecuador.
In 6 hours we will fly to Cuenca (in the South of Ecuador), where we will be for 2 days.
After that, we will head South into Peru.
Here are 5 things I will miss about Quito
- Spanish classes. At first, I hated getting up and going to class. Not so much the getting up, but the actual act of going. I wouldn’t have minded getting up if I were sitting in front of my computer having class, or if someone had come to the apartment to teach class. I don’t know if it was laziness or what. Also, something about spending 4 hours per day sitting in a classroom (at 30 years old, and while in a foreign country we could be exploring) didn’t sound fun or productive. But Maribel, our teacher, made class SO much fun. After 8 weeks of really working at Spanish (plus 3 months of trying at Spanish in Central America), I feel like I really understand Spanish, and that I can speak well enough, even on difficult topics like politics and religion, to be understood.
- People. We’ve met so many wonderful travelers in Ecuador. People doing amazing things while exploring the planet. And we’ve met amazing Ecuadorians too. Maribel welcomed us into her family and her home. Times spent with her and her family are some of our favorite travel experiences so far. The women I have met and seen in Ecuador are STRONG women, both physically and in the roles they play in the lives of their families. The men I have met and talked with have been friendly and helpful.
- Culture and tradition. The indigenous people here are, in my mind, still unconquered. They are beautiful, have great smiles, and strong spirits, and much of their cultural traditions still seem to be alive and well, living amongst the changes brought by the Spanish 500 years ago, the Colombians and Peruvians over the last 400 years, the English 200 years ago, and through the exportation of American ways and values over the past 60-70 years. There are so many amazing cultures here (Ecuador has 19 distinct ethnic groups) and traditions. Other cultures and traditions I will miss are various, including Catholic traditions which were very foreign to me, even through I grew up pretty strongly Catholic.
- The view from my desk in the apartment. Every day, I sat and looked at Pichincha volcano in various stages of color at different times of day. I will miss seeing Pichincha out the window behind my computer.
- Alfajores. Okay, I can get these also pretty much anywhere in South America, but Kevin Gianni introduced us to these scrumptious deserts in Buenos Aires in 2008 (darn you Kevin!), and we’ve been hooked since. The German-style bakery around the corner, Cyrano, makes DELICIOUS alfajores. Now that we’ve discovered them, it’s probably a good thing we’re leaving.
What I will not miss about Quito:
- The Crowded Ecovia. During rush hour, people literally sandwich themselves into the bus in a way that I wouldn’t have thought possible.
- The pollution. It wasn’t so bad most of the time, but occasionally, a bus or taxi would drive by and leave you in a cloud of soot.
- Taxi drivers who won’t turn on the meter or charge fair rates despite repeated requests
- Noise. I’m not really a city person at heart. The noise of traffic, car alarms, an occasional rooster, and other people’s music has, at times, grated on me.
- Cuy. I didn’t like it – but they eat it in Peru too – which is where we’re off to next, after 2 days in Cuenca, Ecuador.
We’ve loved our time here in Quito, Ecuador.
Thank-you to all our new friends (and our acquaintances Alex & Kyra?) who made our time here so great.
Thank-you to the Simon Bolivar language school for giving us a place to learn Spanish.
Thank-you to Pablo for renting us this great apartment and introducing us to great people and places in Quito.
And thank-you to Maribel, who gave us an opportunity to be welcomed into an Ecuadorian family and be home, even if just for a little while.