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Archive for November, 2010

Home For A Rest

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Home For A Rest

27-Nov-2010

It is really good being back in Quito and reuniting with Alisson, Barry, Gina, Raul,… and all their families and friends.  It really felt like if I was back home: Night dinners, weekend BBQ, family Sunday gathering, cooking at home, doing a few fixes in Alisson’s apartment :)…. and not to mention I did not have to pack my suitcase anymore :).

What else did I do? Well, I spent most of my time setting up the website you guys are religiously reading and commenting on… right?  Otherwise, we went quite a few times riding, mostly with Raul who is as passionate about riding as I am and knows the best off-roads circuits in the area.  A highlight was when Raul managed to get us into the beautiful Parque Cayambe-Coca, normally an intangible area for vehicles: I was the researcher from Canada who’s doing a study on the effect of pollution on the plants photosynthesis process which affects the growth of Polylepis trees and…  you don’t buy this shit, do you? Doesn’t matter, they did :).   I only went hiking once and it was a great day. I hooked up with Alisson and Barry’s co-workers to climb the Iliniza Sur, a 5,126m.a.s.l. peak.  It was loads of fun with lots of joking and teasing going around.

Today Sunday 28-Nov is Ecuador census day.  What’s so special? Well, you don’t fill the questionnaire on-line at your own leisure as we do back home; they pass by each home like the good old days.  Here’s how’s things goes here:  First, “la ley seca” is in effect for 3 days, since Friday noon: no drinking is allowed anywhere (resto, bars, streets,…) and selling alcohols is prohibited.  On census day, i.e. today, a curfew is in effect and no one is allowed to go out of their house; Police and army are patrolling the streets and will arrest anyone who ventures out in the streets.  Fines vary from U$D10 up to 3 month in jail… wonder how they choose which fine to give!?  Everyone has to participate, even tourists.  As for the question themselves, check a sample below, it will give you an idea on the priorities in this country:

  • What is your house roof made off? The outside walls?  The floor?
  • How many families share the kitchen? Do you cook with gas?
  • Do you have running water? Electricity? If so, do you use energy-saver lights?…

Interesting, isn’t it?

On the sport front, La Liga again was in the hunt for the Copa Sudamericana and I went to watch the game… but this time they were eliminated in the semi-final.  Back to Quito, the effect of La Nina is horrible.  It’s been raining every day and the temperatures hitting record lows.  Last year, we had beautiful sunshine and I would happily trade in this rain for last year weather even if it meant returning to the 6 hours of daily electricity shortage.  As for me, I am still debating what to do next but spending a few months in Colombia is so tempting.  Security concerns, spending X-mas with family, money matters, “having” to go back to the real world,.. are all factors holding me back.  Not to mention weather:  Colombia’s situation is even more horrendous then in Ecuador.  28 of its 32 states in a state of emergency due to flooding.  On the other side, every traveler I met who visited Colombia, either on motorcycle or backpacking, was absolutely enchanted by this country and ranks it as the highlight of her/his trip in South America, with Medellin being their favorite city: Food, people, dancing, scenery, beaches,… all conglomerate in this hidden jewel called Colombia.  It’s kind of perplexing.  I mean, from my point of view and after a year of travel to so many different places, it is impossible for me to choose the best country or the most beautiful city or my favorite place,… and it intrigues me how so many traveler crown Colombia as a the best country and Medellin as the best city with such ease.  I want to go and discover this treasure but trust me, the decision is not that easy.  For now, I’ll stick around for the Fiestas de Quito and then decide what to do.

Ciao

Sami

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