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The story of my 2007 Ecuador adventure continues. This is a letter I wrote home about my last days of school and homestay in Quito, Ecuador.

For the rest of the Ecuador story, go here.

Before I show you the letter, let me show you some roses. In Ecuador, roses are an industry and they are shipped all over the world. On the street, they cost a dollar for a dozen.

roses on the street in Quito, EcuadorRoses on the street . . .

2014-03-18-IMGP0813SFW. . . and roses in my homestay room.

Dear family and friends,

Look at how the time flies. I haven’t written a letter for a few days. I should try to do that now, although I never know where to begin.
1.  I am SICK of homework. Enough already. Tomorrow is the last day of four weeks of Spanish classes. I know more than I started out with but I have miles to go to be anywhere near as good as Rolf is.

2014-03-18-IMGP0814SFWCelebration on the last day of school. Local fruits.

2014-03-18-DSC00137SFWView of Cotopaxi from the school

 2.  Salsa classes have wrapped up. Eleven classes and five instructors. Again, I know more than when I started. Easy to say, since I knew nothing to begin with. When I get home I want to sign up for classes, maybe for ballroom dancing. I like line dancing, but I like this “partner” dancing too. So many dances to learn, so little time.
3.  I am sleeping well, or at least better than I was four weeks ago. I no longer really hear the car alarms. They love car alarms in this country. At the Mitad del Mundo (equator) there was an amusement ride for the kids (niños). It was a ring of little cars, going round and round, and each had its own unique car alarm.
4.  I’m getting better at crossing streets. The cars seem to speed up when you set your foot in the street.
5.  I am more used to living with a homestay family. The other night, I was finishing my homework at the dining room table and watching TV at the same time. My family never turns off the TV. So it’s me and the ten-year-old Feorella watching TV and doing homework. The 67-year-old is playing solitaire with real cards. And the son (Feorella’s dad and the homestay mother’s son) is polishing silver. The other two students (Switzerland and Germany) are out having cervezas. I’m watching this B movie that has voice-over in Spanish. It’s weird watching it. Of course, the lips and the voice do not sync. And I’m thinking, this movie is using some devices that I have seen before. Maybe all movies (especially B movies) borrow devices. And then it’s getting to the end of the movie (which I am following even though it’s in Spanish) and the Swiss student comes home and tells me that it’s called FORTRESS and he saw it in English and it’s just as bad in Spanish. At the very end of the movie I realize that I have seen it too, only my brain is so fried I didn’t remember.
6.  What else. I like this little neighbourhood: Gringolandia. It’s really called Mariscal Sucre. I know how to find the school, the laundry, the internet, and four restaurants for lunch. And a really good tailor. Rolf needed a tear mended so his shirt would last the rest of the trip. I had already mended the other side of this shirt in Canada. The tailor fixed the new rip, and redid my repair, so that you’d never know the shirt had torn, and he charged $3 for this major craftsmanship. He works in this little hole-in-the-wall place with an antique sewing machine. An old guy. Muy amable. Very friendly.
7.  Tomorrow is Friday, and as I said, the last day of classes. Then early on Saturday morning, we catch a cab for the airport and head out to the Galapagos, about 1000 miles from here. We go from about 10,000 feet to sea level and I’m hoping I can breathe better there. And I’m hoping the heat is not going to be a problem.
8.  It’s weird living in all this noise. Car stereo bass throbbing, the music in the internet café, the car alarms, the band across the street, the endless milling people, the horns. I really like this internet place, La Sala. The other night, the city blacked out and it was strange to suddenly have it quiet in La Sala. There was no power for about twenty minutes and they lit candles. Candles and computers. That’s Ecuador.
I’ll check in while I’m in the Galapagos.
Buenas noches!