Otavalo is a town a bit north of Quito, with a huge indigenous artisan market each Saturday. The crafts are beautiful, and the alpaca is plenty. From socks and hats, to sweaters to teddy bears of Alpaca wool or fur, the options are open. Obviously, this is way more useful in the highlands than at lower elevations, even like Quito, where the winter drops to 60* F.
Mitad del Mundo
I officially arrived in Ecuador with my visit to la Mitad del Mundo. The equator is quite windy, but the view is stunning. With a band and dancing, a small artisan market and food, it’s actually quite a nice way to visit the latitudinal measure of 0 degrees, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.
This week at CENIT was quiet because some of the volunteers were traveling. However, this meant that I was able to get more done with the limited computer space. I worked on updating the internet presence, investigating funding sources and developing a list of universities with a nonprofit program who might be interested in sending volunteers or interns here. I love what I’m doing, and I love the people with whom I’m working. On Friday, I went to a goodbye party for a couple of Austrian volunteers; the combination of people from around the world made for an extremely fun night, full of Spanish fun. (By the way, you can still donate to the fundraiser here if you’re interested!)
Adrián and Toy Story 2
When my host mom had to run to see a neighbor quickly, I took care of Adrián as he watched Toy Story 2 dubbed in Spanish. Even though it’s animated, it is still clear that those toys are not speaking Spanish (side note: I want to was TS3 in Spanish to see what happens to Buzz when he gets reset to Spanish mode). It was nice to watch with Adrián though, because we could both announce basic words and it was completely acceptable. He also didn’t cry or fuss at all, which surprised my host mom tremendously, since he is always fussing. Clearly, Adrián and I are basically best buds.
After a bit of a hunt finding a mailing center, I finally sent out a couple birthday cards and a general greeting card, all handmade at CENIT. For me, this is fun just because I love to write notes and send letters, and doing this internationally makes me happy. I’ll hopefully get some more cards soon, so that I can send more of my love!
I finally am getting sure enough of myself and of my surroundings to venture around Quito more and more on my own. This morning I went to la Casa de la Cultura to see some of the pre-Columbian artifacts (mostly for my Andean Anthropology course), and then I got back to “Gringolandia” (la Mariscal y la Plaza Foch) to grab lunch with friends from CENIT and to attempt to plan our trip for carnaval next weekend! I subsequently made my way back towards home where I got distracted by…
Don’t worry yet, it’s not a tattoo. Tatoo is essentially the South American version of REI, complete with an indoor climbing wall and kayaks/canoes galore. I felt like my dad when I found a great hiking backpack and a hydration pouch insert that I can take on my excursions instead of my normal backpack. I’m thrilled with it, and I really can’t wait to show my dad. I also can’t wait to go on more adventures where I can proudly use it! Not to mention, it’s right up the street.