Friday, April 29, 2005

My new Family

As I sit here listening to the pan fluted version of Hotel california, I can take time out to reflect on the changing fortunes of my first week in Ecuador. After 3 days in Quito, a city with more than it's fair share of menace, we headed by very fast bus, or should I say rattly old bus with crazy driver who very much enjoys the sport of overtaking on blind corners, to Otavalo.
Otavalo is home to South Americas most famous gringo market, where you can buy ponchos emblazed with eagles, and all sorts of ridiculous outfits that seem like a good idea at the time. It's also home to about 20,000 people and about 8000 wild dogs that roam the city looking for rubbish, of which there is plenty strewn across most streets. But alas it is also a town surrounded by 2 beautiful volcanoes and lots of interesting buildings to keep enthusiasts of spanish architecture amused for days. Our reason for coming here was to learn spanish.
After a night in the world's smallest bed (Ecuadorians are not known as great basketball players)we checked into our spanish school. Our plan was to stay with a local family for two weeks to really immerse ourselves in the local culture. The thing about staying with local families you never know who you{re going to get. In guatemala I stayed with a very poor couple who ran a small shop selling potato crisps, noodles and cigarettes. In Russia I stayed with a widower in her sixties who sang for the St Petersburg choir, so what to exect in Ecuador?

It all started extremely well when we were picked up in a brand new chevrolet by Marcos a 40 year old history professor( not bad considering 20 dollars a day is an excellent wage) and it just goes from good to excellent. We are driven to a Casa Grande, complete with electric gates, cable tv in every room, St bernard dogs, chandeliers, and wait for it, a huge fish tank in the floor under the stairs with about 100 very large goldfish. Our host mother Yolander is a very successful dentist and they also have 2 adorable sons Marco jnr and Carlos who follow us every where and help us with our homework. Three meals a day, 4 hours spanish lessons a day and all for 200 dollars a week.
we even have 4 minute prayer sessions before every meal! This weekend we go to church in Columbia for the day. Oh what has become of me?

well I'm certainly not doing it tough in Ecuador. Life is very comfortable but learning Spanish is as difficult as ever. Much like banging your head against the wall, after a while you don't notice how much your head hurts. But it's the weekend and Kate and I are out to party tonight with some other Aussies from Spanish school.
Hasta La vista baby

1 comment:

bill said...


Que aburrido eres ed. Estamos arto de tus estorias, sabes? Tu no eres jovecito estos dias...eres un hombre y ahora estas viviendo con gente que no son tu familia? No pareces extrano?

pues yo? si!