The week has flown past. I have spent each morning attempting to learn some Spanish and my brain is now so overloaded with Spanish verb conjugations that I can’t remember anything. Hopefully, one of these days, preferably in the not too distant future, the penny will drop and I will magically manage to string a coherent sentence or two together!
The afternoons have been varied. I have tended to have a midday meal after classes. As the Ecuadorians traditionally have their main meal at lunchtime, there are many cafes offering set menus very cheaply. I have been to one particular one a couple of times. It is always extremely busy, very well organised and with friendly staff. I have had a three course lunch for $4.50 with a choice of two items on each course. Like many of the cafes, they do not have any other menu. After the large breakfasts I have been having, cooked by Ana Maria, I am surprised I have been able to eat lunch as well, but I did! In the evenings, I have been devouring avocados and beautifully sweet, yellow grenadillas. Delicious!
I have visited the Casa de la Cultura, the Guayasamin Museum and Capilla des Hombre, all of which were very interesting and not so large that I was overwhelmed. I also booked a tour to the jungle for next week and, of course, have done a lot of walking as I think this is the best way to get to know a city.
Unfortunately, I had one incident that marred my week. As I was walking in the old town, someone spat on my neck. A lady next to me pointed out that it was also on my back. However, it was a ploy by thieves to distract me and in the few seconds I turned around, someone took my purse out of my bag. I assume that the ‘kind’ lady that pointed to my back was an accomplice. Luckily, they dropped my purse a couple of metres away, having removed the cash. Also luckily, I only had $15 on me as I never carry more than I think I will need for the day and they didn’t take my credit card. The incident, however, left a bad taste in my mouth and took away some of the magic of being here. As a tourist, though, you are a target for any operation of this sort.
There has been a variety of guests in the house where I am staying. These have been predominantly American, some of whom are resident in Ecuador whilst others have been visiting for business or studies, so it has been interesting talking to them. Two lots of people from Vilcabamba, a town in the far south renowned for the longevity of its inhabitants, journeyed to Quito just to buy cars, which seemed a bit extreme to me! Francisco and Ana Maria have been excellent hosts and I have sat over a cup of tea/coffee on a number of occasions and chatted to them. Francisco is Ana Maria’s second husband and they are bringing up her grandson, his divorced mother having decided to live a free life rather than be a mother (something of which Ana Maria, naturally, does not approve). They also have Ana Maria’s son, who is in his twenties, living with them. This lady is always very busy but is consistently cheerful and helpful.
For me, it is meeting people like this that makes travel so worthwhile. You just never know who you might bump into next!