Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Neighborhood In Quito

I live along a quiet residential street that's not too far from where all the action is. The apartment is near one of the main avenues in the city so it is very easy to go back and forth and much easier when giving directions to bus or taxi drivers because all I have to mention are the names of the intersecting streets and all of them know where it is. I will go ahead and give you a tour of my neighborhood and some of my daily routines so that you get an idea of my everyday life here.

First and foremost I have to mention the resident dog in our apartment that belongs to my roommate, I am still trying to figure out if the dog is called Loki or Lucky. Anyway, every morning when I leave for school and in the evening when I get back to the house, this is the situation I am faced with.

PS: Loki/Lucky is the brown dog.

These two dogs are good buddies the neighbors dog (small whitish one) is always hanging around the compound and whenever he hears me opening the door to leave or sees me coming from outside, he runs to the door and eagerly waits to see Loki/Lucky so I always humor them by giving them a few minutes to hang out. Sometimes when I am in a hurry to leave the house it becomes a challenge to separate them but when I see this look on the neighbor's dog, how can I not give the two buddies a minute or two together? besides, this little guy will bark at me so loud when I prevent him from seeing Loki/Lucky.

The picture below shows the street right in front of the apartment, despite the many parked cars you see outside it is actually a quiet street without too much human traffic or noise.

Next to the apartment there is a small shop specializing in fruits and the lady that works there even makes fresh fruit juice for customers if they desire. You just have to pick whichever fruit you want and she will hook you up. We have developed a rapport since I visit the shop often to buy fruits, she has a really sweet little girl who is very outgoing and will start conversations with any customer that comes to the shop. She is too cute!

Aside from my apartment being located near a well known intersection that acts as my landmark, it is also located near a popular mall called El Jardin. This mall is pretty big and has 3 stories with many shops, there is even a supermarket inside where you can buy groceries. It's not the biggest mall in the city but it acts as one of my main landmarks when I want to get home and I have to direct the taxi driver or explain to a bus driver where I am looking to get off.

This is one of the main avenues I take daily on my way to and back from school. Notice the mall El Jardin?

Next to El Jardin mall is a huge park called Carolina. It's a great park for working out if you want to keep active, It's also very near the apartment so that's another big plus. It also serves as one of my landmarks. Yes, I operate best with landmarks given my lousy sense of direction.

I like my daily walk to school which in total takes about 50 minutes back and forth, I could easily take a bus but I like being physically active so the walk suits me perfectly. When the weather is really nice and bright it's even more enjoyable and I like some of the cute street that I pass by.

Finally, I arrive at school ready and eager to learn. As I have mentioned before, I do enjoy my Spanish classes a lot and I feel like I am improving each day.

After class I usually head out for a late lunch. There is never a shortage of restaurants to eat at and I enjoy trying different places, for $2 - $2.50 I am spoilt for choice really. Today I tried this Mexican restaurant that had the prettiest colors. The food was good too and I happened to arrive when the Mexican football team was playing against Brazil so it was interesting observing the reactions of the workers in there whom I assume might have been Mexicans judging from how passionate they were about the Mexican team.

Lunch here usually includes soup, the main meal and fruit juice but I usually stick with the main meal because including soup would be too much for me. After lunch I look forward to my walk home because I discovered this nice heladerĂ­a (Ice cream shop) that sells some good all natural fruit ice cream so that's my motivation for walking back home knowing I have a treat at the end. Hey! what is life without a little indulgence?

I have even developed a rapport with the kid who works at the ice cream shop because I pass by daily. I told him I want to sample all the 7 flavors of the real fruit ice cream, so each day I get a different flavor. Real fruit ice cream is healthy right? right?

My daily indulgence, my flavor of the day was coconut and so far I have 3 flavors down and 4 more to go before I settle on my favorite.

On my way home, I like the hills that you can see in the background. This street is full of shops and restaurants, during the day it gets really busy and it intersects with the street where my apartment is at.

That's it folks, I really do like my neighborhood and I enjoy discovering new spots and streets around. I will be moving this coming Sunday but judging from my new address I believe it's still within my neighborhood so that will be great.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

I like how there is always a set lunch of the day available in restaurants around here, it was the same in Colombia. Due to the cheap prices of food here I haven't had to cook. I usually have regular breakfast at home, buy a cheap lunch then for dinner I have fruits. the only snack I eat is my daily ice cream. Basically I spend $5 a dollar at the most.

I had a philosophical discussion with my Spanish teacher today........in Spanish! I was very proud of myself because I was able to relay my message. Okay, at times diagrams may have come into play but hey! I am still proud of myself.

Speaking of my Spanish teacher he wants to introduce me to his artist friend who knows a lot about the Afro Ecuadorian culture and knows cool places to hang out. We might be hanging out on Thursday after class, it should be fun.

According to the scale in our bathroom, I have lost 5 pounds which is great but then again I am beginning to doubt the accuracy of the scale given the fact that it reads the same weight whether I have eaten something and I am too full or whether I have an empty stomach very early in the morning.

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