Hola amigos! I’ve returned from my trip to Ecuador, where I did research and interviews for an article on an urban farming initiative in the city of Quito. I’ve compiled a list of generalizations and thoughts based on five days spent in Quito. Obviously, I barely even know what I’m talking about, but here we go:
1. Julia’s warning that getting hit by a car is the biggest thing to worry about in Quito was correct. Pedestrians are totally insignificant!
2. I figured out where they find all those sad-looking stray dogs for the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials. They’re roaming the streets of Quito.
3. I saw graffiti with the words “Chevron = muerte (death)” and other references to the evils of the oil company that’s caused much destruction in the Amazon rainforest.
4. As a developing country, Ecuador doesn’t appear to have environmental controls or regulations in place. At least that’s what my stinging eyes and burning lungs suggested. The pollution in Quito is terrible.
5. Quito boasts lots of delicious vegetarian restaurants. Yum!
6. If you’re a gringa, be prepared to be financially taken advantage of by taxi drivers. Cha-ching!
7. Everything is up for negotiation. $1 for a cab ride? Too much! How about 50 cents?
8. Red stop lights are purely a suggestion.
9. Ecuadorians are friendly people and willing to assist visitors, especially two pathetic young women with limited use of the Spanish language.
10. Consistent rules for riding the bus?! Not necessary! Sometimes you pay, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes they take the money on the bus. Sometimes a guy will jump down and take money from exiting passengers.
11. Quito residents are proud of their hometown. As one resident told me in Spanish, “There’s something special about this city.”
12. I observed what happens when you’re not supposed to flush toilet paper down the toilet.
13. I saw how everyday the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 6 p.m.
14. I learned what it’s like to travel to a country and not know the language and the stress that brings. As an English speaker, I’m used to people around the world accommodating me and my lack of knowledge of other languages. But that’s not how it is in Ecuador. And that’s humbling.
15. I made a new friend in Quito, and his name is Cristian Velastegui and he’s an awesome painter and photographer. Check out his art (for sale) here.