Running out of Creative Titles…

I did slowly recover from my aching body after aerial silks on Monday (decided to wait a week to go check out the climbing gym, but hopefully that will be tomorrow) I did it to myself again on Wednesday-although slightly more enjoyable and less physically torturous-I have hope that I might not feel totally dead after each practice. Wednesday's art class was in the campus museum, reminding me how much I actually enjoy analyzing art, the more I learn even the more abstract pieces that I never used to have patience for come into focus. Friday's class with Rodolfo started out with some rather comical issues with the projector (Sarah: "Tyler-push the ON button, this is not a hard job!") but by the time a local Ecuadorian rescued us from our incompetency we watched a very powerful film called "Tambien La Lluvia" (Translated as "Even the Rain") about a movie being filmed about Columbus in Bolivia during the water wars-very interesting insights into neocolonialism. Suffice it to say, I was really only up for a nap after that.

Since I didn't have my first session of volunteer work on Saturday after-all, I woke up gloriously late on Saturday. After much contentious discussion at the breakfast table, about where our excursion for the day should be, we finally piled into the car and drove to Parque Metropolitano where we walked around for a few hours. Ximena's main reason for not wanting to go was the dust, which as you can see, is pretty real, since the rainy season is due to start any day now, but meanwhile we have blue skies, when they are not obscured by smoke from the frequent mountainside wildfires. The sun was indeed hot, the way dusty and infused with a strong scent of Eucalyptus-all in all: tiring, but enjoyable.

Gustavo soldiers on the road
Gustavo soldiers onward down the wide dusty path
The view from a lookout (1)
The view from a lookout
The view from a lookout (2)
Ximena surveys the valley
Ximena surveys the valley
My black sandals are now tan from all the dust
So these were once black shoes, but to arrive at the view, this is the color they became.
My sandals before and after washing them
For comparison, washed vs. unwashed

After returning from our dusty adventure, I had time to shower and take a little nap before Tyler and Sarah called me to go up to the Panecillo, the large statue of the Virgin who presides over the city-visible from most parts of the downtown area. After much difficulty connecting buses and taxis to carry us up the hill (walking means-according to pretty much everyone-that you will get robbed, so we didn't really want to go that route) it was rather frustrating though, because we could easily have walked the distance in the time it took us to get transport…But arrive we finally did-to a beautiful view.

Poster of Del Panecillo, the large statue of the Virgin
So you can see her from far away
Del Panecillo up close
View from her toes
View from inside Del Panecillo (1)
So dirty window, but I liked the framing
View from inside Del Panecillo (2)
Interesting insights into her construction
View from inside Del Panecillo (3)
View from inside Del Panecillo (4)
From inside the statue looking out
View from inside Del Panecillo (5)
View from inside Del Panecillo (6)
View from inside Del Panecillo (7)
View from inside Del Panecillo (8)
View from inside Del Panecillo (9)
Courtesy of Tyler's Snapchat

After watching dusk fall from our perch atop the mountain, we had missed all the buses, so we made friends with some backpackers from Connecticut and shared a taxi downhill with them (I was utterly crushing Sarah to make room for the 5 of us in the 4 seats, but we made it) We hung out at Sarah's for a while before hunger drove me home.

The moment I arrived back home I was told to eat quickly and get ready. For what? Maybe La Ronda, Mila thought (the colonial district where we drank agua loca and ate empanadas my first Friday here)…so I gulp down some food, not bothering to change out of my suspiciously PJ-like pants… So, we arrive not at La Ronda after all, but at Mariscal Foch-the clubbing neighborhood.

We ended up going into Bungalow-the club famous for being the favorite hangout spot of foreigners and university students. So I walk in at around 11 to an as yet pretty empty club in my questionable (at best) clubbing attire with my 40something (but apparently more stylish and young at heart than I even knew!) host parents. So we ended up ordering a huge fishbowl drink to share , that ended up being fairly vile and fake-melon flavored (in addition to the free one that Gustavo got with his entrance cover) but we mostly just enjoyed ourselves-taking advantage of the empty spaces on the dance floor to demonstrate to the other amused early comers our fabulous interpretive dancing skills (we were already lookin a little "fuera de lo común, as they say so, why not make the most of it? I reasoned) We later ran into some friends from school, who danced near us (no doubt wanting to be associated with our extreme coolness) James (fellow Earlhamite) couldn't believe I was there with my host parents, saying something like "This is where people come to get blackout drunk, and your here with your host parents?!" Well we finally left at 1:30ish (faaaar from blackout drunk, no worries) having 3-way salsa-ed and generally had a good time, we only made it through about half of the fish bowl, despite valiant efforts to suffer through it.

Drink menu at the club
The menu at the club-being yet underage in the States, I have no frame of reference for if this is a normal club menu, but to me it seemed a bit comical (so much sex in the far left column!)

Despite my best efforts to be a lazy lump in her PJs all Sunday, I was forced (ok, fine, asked politely if I would like to) visit el centro historico with Ximena. So, we bused on over in the late morning, to leisurely explore the narrow cobbled streets. We past people selling everything from Q-tips to potato chips to toilet paper (that is actually pretty common) to headphones to toy marionette rats. We got traditional mora (blackberry) ice cream from a street vendors (fingers crossed that that doesn't come back to haunt me…) There was a concert going on in one of the squares, we visited a fire-ravaged yet still majestically elegant old theater, and visited the market to attempt to replace my dog bitten flip flops-without any luck.

I have honestly never seen such a wide variety of objects being sold in such a small space. A labyrinthine maze of mountains of shoes (every kind you could imagine except simple flip-flops) washing machines, baby clothes, blenders…all jammed into little stalls with winding corridors between them all-it was really quite overwhelming, and I think we didn't even see most of it. We eventually wended our way back home to the homework that remained, and I surrendered to sleep before having energy to write this.

Today has been a fairly decent Monday, and I am considerably less dead after aerial silks, which is hopeful. Learned how to make yucca dumplings with queso fresco and onion this evening for our "hora cultural" in Spanish tomorrow, and now I must focus on my 3000 word art analysis for Wednesday…