Friday, July 12, 2013

A Day in the Life

I've been doing a lot of storytelling in this blog, but I want this post to be about the little day to day things that happen and might get lost in the hustle and bustle otherwise. In many ways I still feel like a fly on the wall here, observing this place from an outsider's perspective and cocking my head at some of the perceived oddities.

Walking to work:
So I go uphill about 20 mins to get to work, and I walk faster than essentially everyone here. I don't know if that's because I'm used to it from the states or because I just know where I'm going and don't really meander much. There's a lady who sells madura (sweet plantain) with cheese in the same spot on the street every day... I've been meaning to buy one from her but haven't yet. Most of the stores here are these weird little things that sell a small amount of a bunch of random stuff, almost like a flea market. I don't know how that type of business model works out, but I suppose it does. Though I've heard from Americans who are in business here that the Ecuadorian business model isn't very competitive- as in, they have a lax way of approaching cost/profit. Crossing the road here is either a complete science or no science at all, I'm not sure yet. All I know is that most people are constantly flirting with disaster. To go along with the weird shops here there are street vendors selling the most random stuff - crocs being one of the highlights. 

There's one store that I pass that only plays Adele... literally, it is the only music I have ever heard coming from that place. 

Goofin' around in the Lab

Taking the bus:
Only been doing this for a little bit because I use the bus to get to ISSFA, where I'm working on the government database. Today there were a couple amateur rappers serenading the bus. I caught that they said the word "casa" (house) and that's about it but  it was cool anyway. They were followed by a guy with a stomach tumor who showed it to everyone and was asking for money. Part of me was glad that in America there is enough of a culture of detachment/personal space that something like this wouldn't generally happen, but then I thought maybe it was sad that most people in America wouldn't show their stomach tumors because they know no one would care that much. Well, that, and we are generally healthier, at least in visible ways. But you're probably not gonna run into a diabetic in America who'll ask you for money for their insulin. The motorcycles here don't really follow any sort of road rules. Today I saw a guy drive about 100 metres on the sidewalk when traffic was slow. 

I went into a market today and there were entire roasted pigs on in, everything from head to tail in almost one piece (it was already dead though, phew). The ladies at the stands were trying to get everyone to try a little sample of some part of the pig kind of like Chinese fast food in American shopping malls. 

Last week when I had a cold/fever, my roommate's dad suggested a mix of rum, lemon juice, and coca cola as a cure. That one cracked me up... I kind of feel like it would work. Or it'd be so disgusting you'd forget you're sick. 

Now almost 6 weeks in, I also feel myself adjusting in some ways to Ecuadorian life. The first time I tried Almuerzo (the 4 course, $2.50 lunch that is proliferous here) I was underwhelmed. Now, however, I'm verging on obsessed. For one, the amount of variety they serve day to day is incredible and the food is always fresh. There's a great balance between veggies, meat, and carbs. And it's such a good deal too. I've really gotten to like the understated, homey flavor of these dishes. I've been wondering if the restaurants actually turn a profit serving almuerzos - they must, but I doubt it's very much. I think school lunch programs in the states should adopt these, for real.

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