I’ve been in the City of Quito here in Ecuador for about a week now. Without exception, all of the schools I’ve visited have been overwhelming in their hospitality and the people I’m meeting on the streets have all been warm and friendly.
I’m staying in an area known as La Mariscal. Many locals call this area “gringolandia” because of the number of tourists that populate this part of Quito. Friday and Saturday nights are absolutely wild. La Mariscal has lots of clubs and bars and on the weekends is when they go full throttle party mode. Not my scene, so on weekends I tuck myself in early with a book, some music and snacks.
The fact that Ecuador’s economy uses the U.S. Dollar as its currency has made things easy for me. The dollar really stretches here. Just to give you an example, a bottle of water that might cost $2.00 in the U.S., cost $0.48 here.
I’ve got an amazing tour manager who flew in from Argentina to coordinate the tour. His name is Mariano de Oña Martinez. He has gone out of his way to make sure that I’m comfortable and that I have everything I need to do my work successfully.
When not performing, I’ve been doing a lot of walking. I like to walk and take buses when I’m in a new city. I don’t even care where the buses are going; I just ride. I feel you get a more genuine perspective on local life when you immerse yourself in it. Unfortunately, while walking, I’ve encountered quite a few used bookstores (my absolute favorite places to visit in other countries). I say unfortunately because I can’t stop buying. I have bought so many books that I’m going to have to figure out how to get them all back into the states. Not smart, I agree, but… hey, they are all treasures I could not have found back in the U.S.
I’ve also found an organization I can’t wait to visit called Centro Cultural Afroequatoriano. They are only opened on Mondays and Thursdays so I’ve got to figure out some breaks in my schedule to get to them.
I’m having a wonderful, relaxed time and I’ll make sure to send a few more blogs out while I’m here. If any of you have any questions that you want to send me, or you’ve been to Quito and you have suggestions, don’t hesitate to shoot them to me.