We made it to Ecuador and have been in this beautiful country for just over a week. I still can't believe we did this, that we really are here in South America! Ecuador is so different from the USA in so many ways. Right now we are in Quito and we have one week left here. Quito is a very big, loud, dirty city. In that way it is similar to the large cities in the USA. The buses spew diesel fuel and there are so many people. 

A person can buy anything on the streets of Quito: ladies underwear, mops, squeegees, batteries, super glue, shoes, children's clothing, fruit, vegetables, cigarettes, t-shirts, bowls, bunny ears (for your TV)... the list goes on and on! There are so many people selling and so many things one can purchase. I have only seen one beggar on the streets, an old woman (vieja) with disfigured feet. For a city this size, I'm surprised I haven't seen more. But I have seen a blind man selling on the street. And I saw someone help him cross the road. In that way, Quito is very different from Spokane. Maybe there are beggars in other areas of the city. But where we live there are none and we are in the old town. 

Food has been a challenge to figure out. It seems that the people of Ecuador eat a lot of packaged food, beans and rice. We too have been consuming a lot of beans and rice, however packaged food is not our jam. It seems to us that Ecuador is 30-40 years in the past. Lots of potato chips, soda, fried food, sugar and roller blades. Fortunately, all packaged foods indicate whether they contain common allergens such as gluten or peanuts. That has been immeasurably helpful. We've gotten most of our groceries from el mercado (the market) and the local Tia. One night we went to the SuperMaxi and that was much more American feeling. We were able to buy granola bars and chocolate. I have a few RX bars I brought from home and I am hoarding them.

The produce here is amazing! I love the fresh fruits and vegetables. Today, I cut up mango, papaya and opened up a passion fruit. I will never be the same after eating the fruits of Ecuador. That is something I LOVE about living here. We buy most of our produce from el mercado (pictures below). I have to wash all of our produce before we eat it (although we don't wash the bananas). Everything gets a soak in a bit of bleach in a bowl of water. We must also drink boiled or bottled water. Fortunately no one has gotten sick yet (knock on wood!). This way of living is inconvenient and makes me appreciate the fresh, clean water that flows directly from my tap at home! 

Another thing about Ecuador... hot water is rare. We have a small water heater and only get hot water in the shower. The hot water taps in the kitchen and bathroom sinks don't even make water flow. The hot water in the shower is extremely finicky. I joke to myself that the people of Ecuador are always cold because they have to take cold showers. 

Yes, the climate is very mild here and yet I've heard many people say, "hace frio" (it's cold). There has been concern expressed for Maeve. To us, hace muy calor (it's very hot) especially at mid-day.
Which reminds me of another thing, there is no heating or cooling in any of the buildings. There is no need. As we live only a 40 minute drive from the equator, the temperature doesn't vary very much. Because of our elevation, it does cool off in the evenings. One would think it's very brisk out from the way some Ecuatantos dress, but no it really is still quite nice out. I am coming from winter in the PNW though. A Canadian springtime is a mostly accurate description of the weather, but I would say that it's a little warmer than that.