Hello to everyone from Ecuador! To give you a peek at my life here, yesterday I got up early to go birding with a guide locally from 6-9 a.m., then to a nearby museum that features the history of the various cultures of the fascinating nation, then lunch at home, then private Spanish class for 4 hours that included a visit to the Old Cathedral, then a class on the medicinal use of herbs, then home for dinner, Facetime with Art, and a card game with Andie. I have come to Ecuador to learn Spanish and experience this culture. The opportunity came up to accompany Ingelise Guy and her wonderful kids, Nielson, Maren and Andie, so I took it! We are living in the colonial city of Cuenca, south of Quito, at the elevation of about 8000 feet, in a large two story apartment near the historic center. The climate is similar to that of San Francisco, cool, cloudy and a bit rainy. The city is clean with no trash on the streets, and the city water is drinkable! We have found a food coop that grows their food so we are eating lots of fruits and vegetables, some quite strange. We have not yet tasted the guinea pig because you can only order the whole thing at a restaurant, and Maren and I are the only two that want to try it, and we are not inclined to bring one into the house to cook, as it looks very much like the fetal pig that I dissected in high school, complete with ears, eyes, feet and tail. The city is surrounded by mountains and would be perfect if it were not for the air filled with traffic fumes. The people are warm and friendly, and very short. The city seems safe to walk in, even after dark which occurs around 7 p.m. all year round since we are at the equator. Last weekend we visited Cajas National Park and hiked around some lakes, one at 13,000 feet. The weekend before we visited Ingapirca to see the Incan ruins there. Art will join me in November along with our friends Dinah and Noah for a trip to the Galapagos Islands and to a cloud forest lodge at Maquipucuna. Hasta luega!
Posted by Phyllis Weber