Tuesday, February 2, 2010

10 things I love/hate about Quito

As I was walking home yesterday, I was thinking about all the little things about life that I don´t tend to share with you all. I mean, I talk about the big trips I take and such, but the little things are what make or break a home. So here goes!

Five things I love about Quito

Cheap fruit.
A bag of cherries? $1. Three huge apples? $1. It´s wonderful and delicious and I´m going to come home broke because I´ve spent all my money on fruit.

Cheap ice cream!
They make real ice cream here- essentially fruit and milk. They don´t use all the preservatives and such that is normal in the States. It is so good, and a cone with two scoops is only 89 cents!

Bridges over the streets.
I walk home for about an hour every afternoon because I dislike paying for buses and I love walking. During that hour, I have to cross several busy streets (see below for the reason I hate crossing streets.) After a week of fighting to use the crosswalk, I discovered the amazing pedestrian bridges that span most of the major streets. They are colorful and huge and wonderful. When I´m walking home, it´s usually the windy/cloudy part of the day. I always pause at the top of the bridges and feel the wind in my hair and just feel so powerful and amazing! I love it!

Movie stores!
There are movie stores every twenty steps here, and ALL of their movies cost $1.50. At first, I thought this was cool but was sad that all my movies would be in Spanish. What good will that do me when I return to the States and want to watch a movie with friends? But I´ve discovered that the majority of the movies have English and Spanish, as well as subtitles. It´s great! My movie collection is growing by the hour...

The variety of people.
I love people watching. I always have. I love walking along and looking at people, and I love making up stories about them in my head. (Hey, I´m a writer! I can do that!) There is much more variety here than in McMinnville or Fallon, and I love it. People wear/do the oddest things sometimes...

Five things I hate about Quito

The pollution!
It´s terrible! Cumbaya, where the school is located, isn´t as bad as Quito. But when I am walking home through the streets of Quito, I can literally see the smog and smoke and yucky things in the air. It´s nasty!

The smoking.
Everybody smokes. And they do it indoors. I requested a non-smoking family, but the girls who live beneath us smoke constantly and their fumes are always floating up through the vents... And people light up without stepping away from the group or going outside. I was at a presentation yesterday and someone just started smoking without saying anything. The wind blew the smoke right in my face! Yucky!

Crossing the street.
There are crosswalks, but the cars don´t care. If you are in their way, they will hit you. Cars go really fast, they rarely use blinker lights, and they change lanes without a sign. I usually have to run to cross the street, and it´s seriously scary!

City noises.
I know that this is true with any city, but I hate the noise. I´m such a country girl. The gas truck goes by at 7 am, the guards at our apartment complex blow their whistles for no reason whatsoever, and the traffic never stops... it gets old. I´ve been here for a month, and I´m ready to fall asleep listening to crickets again!

Male comments/fashion.
Guys here are a lot more disrespectful toward women. They catcall or make little comments like ¨Hey pretty mama¨ and ¨Whatcha doin´ tonight?¨ as we walk along. And they stare at us girls, directly and without shame. And they definitely don´t stare at our faces! I´ve never felt my gender so vividly before.
At the same time, all of the girls here are MUCH more fashionable than me. I don´t care- I´ve never really cared about fashion. Don´t want to pay for it. But the clothes that are normal at Linfield? Those are work-in-the-garden-on-Saturday clothes. And the clothes I would wear for Easter Sunday? Those are everyday-going-to-school clothes.

There are so many more things to say, but I have to go write a paper for my education class. This weekend, I´m going to Baños, a tourist site in Southern Ecuador, with my volcanology class. We are going to Cotopaxi, one of the largest volcanoes in Ecuador, while we are there. It should be a fun weekend- I´ll tell you about it next week!

In case you´ve forgotten, mail makes my day. I´d love to hear from anybody who feels like writing!
Rachel Mills
PO Box 17-12-280

And I´ve heard it is difficult to comment on my blog- sorry! If you feel like it, you are welcome to email me (rmills1@linfield.edu) or comment on Facebook instead?

Hope everybody is having an amazing February!

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