December 27, 2008

Observations in Quito

There is no hot water handle. Or, when there is one, it does not function.

And all the toilets have funky buttons and handles like the ones I encountered in Europe. Interesting.

Windows are incredibly thin. You can hear car engines blocks away... Not to mention car alarms...

The temperature inside the house quickly fluctuates with the temperature outside. Fortunately there is not a huge variance in the cool Quiteno weather.

The roofs are ugly. You cannot see them from the ground, but when you are on the second floor of a nearby building you may find tires (usually strategically placed to hold down the metal sheeting constituting the roof), or refuse of any kind, or odd patch jobs including tar and a random material used as a sealant.

Small-ish cars. Thank God.

The damn car alarms. They literally run all day long. I wish the alarms had an auto-off after 15 minutes of obnoxious screaming. The owners do not take the time to turn the alarms off. Baaaagh! And when you are trying to sleep, the sound passes right through the thin windows...

Everything is lush and green. I'm in the tropics in a city of cement in the middle of December. Right. A palm tree outside my window for Christmas breakfast. Flowers abound. Right. It feels a bit surreal when I consider the month.

People warmly greet one another both when meeting friends and in passing on the street. It feels genuine.

Most people drink tap water. Others have a clunky, slow machine attached to their kitchen sink that whirrs and chugs as it fills your 10 oz water glass.

So many fruits I've never heard of... HOORAY!

No tank tops. Only tee shirts. When the weather is 80 outside. I don't really understand it. But the tees are a good idea, considering that the weather will drop to 60 and begin to rain in two hours (inevitably)

Invariable weather: Sunshine mid-morning with an average of 75. The temperature drops to 60 at 2pm, then it rains at 3. Clouds break, and the evenings return to a lovely 60 degrees.

Gas stoves. Uggggh. I've never forgotten the explosion in Mexico in 2003...

People wear practical shoes. Nice.

The airport is close and planes fly constantly overhead.

No one uses credit cards, unless for very large purchases.

Phone calls to the US are $0.06 / minute, and internet is $0.80 per hour. Awesome.

The city of Quito is a long valley. It resembles a skateboarding half-pipe. If you're on the third floor of any building you can look out and see one of the valley walls with houses and buildings sloshed up against it. I love it.

Cell phones are funded by purchasing $5 cards, not by monthly plans. And people always let their cards run out before buying a new one. Which means someone is always telling you that they couldn't call you back to cancel your meeting because they "ran out of credit." Annoying. It seems a rather irresponsible way to go about communicating with others.

Side"walks" are hazardous to your health. An elderly person could not get around town alone.

Street vendors are rare in comparison to Mexico. They seem to only be present in touristic places.

Locks. Locks. More locks. Ugggggh.

There is a security guard at the front door of almost every single establishment. I'm not used to this yet, nor do I understand it.

Unrefrigerated eggs. What is this???

Ciao -

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