¿Turisa o Viajero?

This is a dangerous game I am playing-because I now have 2 weeks to tell you about, rather than just one… But luckily I really do think a routine is now something I pretty much have…Time is such a fluid concept for me here, some days feel like weeks, others like minutes, but somehow all of that has added up to more than a month by now ¡Que loco!

I will try and remember back to all the things that have happened in the last 2 weeks, as an exercise for my memory if nothing else!

I think it makes sense to break this up into two sections, to avoid the extreme long-ness that can sometimes afflict my posts…

The week after the "Somos Cuy" frustration was indeed smoother, going to classes, knowing where and when they were—fairly uneventful except for finding this fantastically convenient climbing gym a few blocks from my house-an extremely exciting moment to be sure-my plan is to wait 2 more weeks (in which I will test it out) then get the 3 month pass so that it will last the rest of my time here-Michelle (a fellow Earlhamite here) and I are trying to devise a plan to go on Tuesday evenings after my class…

Indoor climbing gym (1)
This is the indoor climbing gym I found even closer to my house!
Indoor climbing gym (1)
Look at that overhang…can't wait
Indoor climbing gym (1)
My Spanish class went on a field trip to a local museum-I have many MANY pictures, but will only show one here, since I though it interesting…
Trip to local museum
Interesting anatomical twist…a birthing male.

We had our first class with Rodolfo (the only class we Earlham students all have together) on that Friday. We debriefed about culture shock, complained (a necesarily cleansing experiense every once in a while) and then moved into a discussion of what a travel narrative is, since the class is called "Andean Travel Narratives".

It was quite interesting, and we finally decided that there are two types of modern travelers: "turistas" and "viajeros" (tourists and journeyers.) Their goals are utterly different we decided: tourists really just want to relax in a place that is away from the drudgery of everyday life, journeyers, on the other hand, are interested in immersing themselves in the everyday life and culture of a place, having an "authentic" experience, suffering hardships, and coming back changed-wiser in the ways of the world.

We also acknowledged a time difference, because many journeyers are not confined to summer vacation, but instead often stay for longer periods of time. We discussed the journeyers contempt for the tourist, and the need to distance themselves form tourists, in the stereotypical sense of the white, sunburned, culturally insensitive, beach-goers who speak Spanish-or whatever language-with a heavy United States accent, if they try at all. But then again, it was pointed out-aren't all travelers tourists in a certain sense, because they are in fact "tour-ing" a new place? So what does that make us, we wondered? We are certainly not here to relax (at least not as the primary goal) we do hope to return wiser in the ways of the world, and as the last post probably made abundantly clear-we are certainly suffering our fair share…we are living with Ecuadorian families going to and Ecuadorian university, an experience we believe to be authentic…but at the same time we do visit the touristy spots, and are certainly far from blending in with the locals in many regards…

It was certainly an interesting discussion, one that I have struggled with myself for a long time now, and have continued to think about. Why do I feel such a strong (actually pretty snobbish) need to differentiate between the kind of traveling I am doing and the kind done by mere tourists? When in fact the activities may not be that different…

Saturday morning Ximena and I picked up Tyler and Sarah and we drove to Lloa (Yo-ah) for a hike and a swim (I am beginning to detect a pattern that I quite enjoy in my family's Saturday activities…) If I were to describe the hike in 3 words they would be: DUSTY, treacherous, and exciting.

Views from our hike (1)
The view on the hike up
Views from our hike (2)
Views from our hike (3)
Views from our hike (4)
Views from our hike (5)
Sarah, Tyler, and I standing on a log
Three Musketeers!
Tyler with a bag of popcorn under his shirt
Pregnant with the popcorn so we could use all of our hands to struggle up the mountain.
Views from our hike (6)
We made it to the top!
Heading down the mountain (1)
So pretty steep, and pretty dusty-like I said…
Heading down the mountain (2)
It will be ok though!
Heading down the mountain (3)
It was a group effort
Swimming under the waterfall (1)
Yah, so it was pretty cold…
Swimming under the waterfall (2)
Going back home (1)
Going back home (2)

We sort of forgot about eating lunch, but were sustained pretty well on popcorn, and after washing some of the dust off of ourselves in the pools and waterfall (although the net effect was probably not any cleaner because of the mineral-rich clay we smeared on our faces…) we got in the car and drove back to Quito. Ximena and I showered and ended up too hungry to really cook anything, after not having eaten anything substantial since breakfast, and it was then 6:00 (she was even too hungry to get dressed) and so we huddled in the kitchen, her in her towel, shoving whatever food we could find into our faces: carrots, tomatoes, cheese, bananas…

After a bit of relaxation, Sarah Tyler and I met at his house to go clubbing (as if we weren't exhausted enough!) Once we finally found a taxi, and then a club that actually had both decent music and people dancing to it, we went in, and joined the party. Tyler's stomachache sent him home pretty quickly after we arrived, but Sarah and I stayed and soon found partners to try out our salsa and meringue moves with. It was a fun time (once I convinced my partner that even though his friend was making out, I had a boyfriend, and so wasn't going to, no matter how many times he told me I was pretty (guapa, heromosa, linda), or that I was a good dancer, and yes I knew very well that my boyfriend wasn't there, but that's not really the point is it?) once we got that all straightened out, it was a fun night of dancing, and after making our excuses Sarah and I finally left, hours later. I collapsed in bed utterly exhausted, sometime well past midnight.

The next morning we three rose early (for a weekend anyway) and met at Tyler's house at 8:30 to help set up for his host sister's baby shower. It was an interesting experience, with lots of food (almost none of which my vegetarian self could eat) there were shish-kabobs, sushi (complete with Ecuadorian plantains…) fancy fruit cocktails, and the like. There were many of the silly baby-shower games that you might find in the States as well, but it was mostly a nice family party (men and women.) So by the time that wrapped up, we parted ways and headed home for a Sunday evening of untouched homework, and no time to blog about it.

And now I have some other kind of random pictures that might interest people but that don't necessarily fit anywhere logical, so I decided to tack them on the end of this…

As relates to the "Somos Cuy" post:

My flip-flops in the trashcan
Finally admitted defeat…Also, we got home yesterday and our lovely puppy friend had done the same to Ximena's only pair of flip-flops, so guess who is going shoe shopping with me?
A crate full of Tomate de Arbol
Remember that kind of fruit I was struggling so hard to describe last week-here is a picture: Tomate de Arbol.

And then other yet more random photos:

View of my street
The view before I walk into the apartment
The door to the apartment building
The door to the apartment building
Sewer maintence cover from Neenah WI
Wisconsin products all over the world! Found this right outside my door (as my dear aunt is famous for saying: "All roads lead to Neenah")
My apartment door gate
Realized I never showed you all the door to the apartment-sort of interesting with the gate. Also I was very proud the day I realized which locks belonged with which of the 4 keys I was given…
My clothes drying outside
Recognize that tie-dye drying in the Ecuadorian sun?