Thursday, November 3, 2011


We left Puerto Lopez last weekend.  We traveled by bus to Manta in order to catch a flight out to Quito.  

We arrived in Quito Saturday night after a long delayed flight.  We walked into our homestay at midnight dazed and exhausted.  The next morning we got to meet everyone in our homestay family: Olga (58), Angel (63), Gustavo (26), Priscila (24) and Diana (20).  They are very nice and we've enjoyed getting to know them so far.  Olga, the mother, is mainly the one we interact with because the rest of the family work and are gone from early in the morning until after 6pm.  The first few mornings we ate breakfast with Olga and then headed out to explore Quito.  
On Tuesday, with the start of the weeklong Dia de los Muertos holiday, Olga and Angel and the girls packed up to visit family outside of Quito.  So for the last few days we have been staying at the house living like it's our own (although the son, Gustavo, didn't leave with them and has spent most of days in his room watching TV-  kind of weird but it's okay.)  We are thrilled to have our own kitchen and today was the first day in two months that we prepared all of our own meals.  It was fabulous.  In the morning before I shopped at the SuperMaxi supermarket, I planned some home-cooking comfort food for the week.  Tonight we made burritos and guacamole (we've been shocked that we've barely eaten one avocado here in Ecuador!) and tomorrow we're set for spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies.  The supermarket is definitely a perk of being in a big city. 
Sunset from our homestay in the Floresta neighborhood
In addition to shopping for gringo food, we are enjoying lots of what a big city can offer.  We've started to figure out the intricate bus/trolley system and the kids have had a ball running the narrow sidewalks.  I think they have walked more pavement in the last 5 days than they have in the last year.  The absence of carseats is still thrilling to Cal although he did look a little stunned this afternoon when the cabdriver slammed on the brakes and sent him flying into the back of the driver's seat.  
In Quito we have spent a lot of time in el Centro, the historic part of town, and walked many of the tight hilly brick-paved streets.  The stinky exhaust from the buses mixed with the delicious smells from the bakeries make for quite a sensory experience.  One day we visited the Basilica and climbed all the stairs to reach the belfry.  The views of the surrounding mountains and the house-covered hills leading up to them was beautiful.

Say, "30 ft. high stained glass window!"

The view from inside the belfry of the Basilica

We made it!
We spent a while playing at two of the large city parks.  At El Ejido, we climbed trees and played on the really cool and plentiful play structures, including the kids' favorite- the enormous seesaw.  The kids made friends with some other little people, playing soccer and hanging on the monkey bars.  At Parque Carolina we took out a paddleboat and walked through the Vivarium, a reptile museum where Danny and Harper got to hold a 2 m. long boa constrictor.  

(It looked eerily like the one caught at our place in Puerto Lopez a week ago!)
Paddle-boating at Parque Carolina

Yesterday we went to a futbol game- Quito vs. Loja- at the downtown Olympic stadium.  We ate morocho empañadas (corn-filled fried dough, yum.)  Although we were too chicken to sit in the bleachers with the craziest fans, we still cheered along with the drum-banging, bell-ringing, stomping and screaming crowds.   We found our seats among a bunch of nice other families and Cal blended right in with his new futbol jersey (even though he was sporting Ecuador's national blue and yellow instead of Quito's red and blue stripes.)
You can't tell from the photo but the people across the field were going nuts for the entire game

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