24 septiembre 2006

Guagua Pichincha

Finally blogger is letting me post pictures again. The first one is me and some friends from the hostel riding on top of a Land Rover to the base of the volcano Guagua Pichincha. The second one is the view from the shelter that is halfway up the mountain.

These photos seem like they are from forever ago, but I guess it was only a week and a half ago. It was so great to get out of the city and do some hiking. By the time we got to the top, the clouds had moved in, so the view wasn't as good, but the experience was great overall. It seems like everyday I meet new people, Ecuadorian and gringo, who have ideas of work that I can do once I leave the Secret Garden. I'm contemplating whether or not to travel a little when I'm done volunteering or to try to find a paying job right away. I think that if I decide to live with a family and work here in Quito I can still volunteer at one of the many orphanages or do prison visits also. I haven't found a family yet, but there are lots of organizations that reccommend families. Also, the other day I was walking through a market and a man who looked about 70 years old came right up to me and started "interviewing" me--all in Spanish, of course. He asked me where I was from, what I was doing in Quito, how long I'd be here, etc. Then he took out a piece of paper and gave me his name and address so I could stay with him and his family to help my Spanish. It was so random and friendly...I guess. I'm glad the pictures are working again. I'll be sure and take some more and do another post soon!

20 septiembre 2006

Un Buen Dia

For some reason, blogger.com won't let me upload any pictures. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know because blogs are much more fun with pictures. The screen says that my blog site cannot be found...anyway, I apologize for not having pictures once again.

The past couple of days have been pretty cold and have rained off and on, but today is blue skies, sunny, and warm--perfect. I'm beginning to feel more at home in this city. I walked from the Old Town (where I live) to the New Town by myself today for the first time. Up until now I had walked with friends, butI felt completely comfortable navigating alone today. This is all a part of the process of getting to know this city and culture and its people. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to actually live in a place and not just come and visit as a tourist for a couple days.

Just today I learned about a group of people who go to visit women in prison every Wednesday afternoon. I think this might be a good opportunity for me to meet people and do volunteer work.

My Spanish is also improving which is encouraging. The other day I went and watched a movie in Spanish without subtitles. I didn't catch everything, but I definitely understood a lot.

Well, this is just a quick update. I'm going to try to figure out this picture thing so you can see more of what I see everyday.

15 septiembre 2006

Mi Vida

I have a little more time today, so I will attempt to fill in gaps of the last couple of posts. Some of you might be wondering what is is that I am doing these days. I havent really had the time to explain that yet. So here it is.

Back in July I came upon a website that was for the hostel, The Secret Garden, in Quito, Ecuador. The description and pictures really interested me. I noticed a section that they had about volunteering at the hostel and I thought that it might be a good way for me to transition into living in Ecuador. I wrote the managers at the hostel, told them a little about myself and why I wanted to volunteer there. Long story short--they had a job for me. So for my first month here (now the next three weeks), I am working as a volunteer six days a week, eight hours a day. Its a lot of hours, but its a great experience. During my shift I do everything from checking guests in and out, serving food on the fifth floor terrace restaurant and answer phone calls (there are many other little things that I do also). In exchange for my work I get a free place to stay, freen breakfast and dinner and free spanish lessons. The rest of the foreign staff is made of two other volunteers and two managers plus the couple who owns it (the wife is actually Ecuadorian though). Also, there are several local staff members which is great for practicing my Spanish. I can tell that it is improving so much already.

So that is where a lot of my time is spent. Its a lot of hours, but the work is not hard. Its also a lot of fun meeting all the travelers that come through and hearing their stories. So far England and Austrailia win for having the largest number of people traveling. Its normal for people in other countries to have 6 week holidays. When I tell them that many Americans only get one or two weeks vacation a year, they dont believe me.

Besides work I have been spending my time walking around the old colonial part of Quito. The architecture is beautiful and there are so many people outside walking around. The other day I also had the opportunity to get out of the city. The hostel organizes a few trips to the jungle and on treks up some mountains. I was able to go on a trek up the (still active) volcano called Guagua (Wawa) Pichincha. The owner of the hostel was our guide and he took seven of us to the base of the mountain in his land rover. He even let four of us (including me) sit on the roof while he drove on the curvy dirt roads. It was loads of fun (Im sure all you parents out there are cringing). The altitude really hit all of us and we had to take it pretty slow up to the top. The top was at about 14,000 ft.

Yesterday during my time off, two other people and I went to a Turkish bath. It was definitely needed after the day of mountain climbing. The three of us had the whole place to ourselves. For six dollars we got three hours of a jacuzzi, sauna, turkish bath and pool. Then we went to lunch and had a three course meal for $1.30.

As you can tell Im having a lot of fun. I think that working at the Secret Garden is a great way for me to start my journey because Im saving money, meeting people and getting to know the city. It is, however, very different from how I imagine the rest of my time here. I am planning on finding a job teaching English and living with an Ecuadorian family, or Ecuadorian roommates so that I can really immerse myself in the language and culture. Also, I am currently researching more volunteer opportunities that work with orphans or homeless people.

Thank you all for your comments and for reading, I hope that this post serves to catch you up on what my life here is like so far. It was an overview of what Im doing and in the future I will write more about details of life in Ecuador. It is very different from the U.S.

I have more pictures that I want to post, but for some reason the computer Im on wont let me download them. Ill have more later.

Until next time...Ciao!

14 septiembre 2006

Algunas Fotografias

i apologize for not getting pictures up sooner. it´s taking me awhile to get adjusted to this new city and life. also, i haven´t found wireless connection yet, so i have to rely on slow computers in internet cafes and their hours aren´t always convenient for me. i promise i will get better at this, but i hope you can be patient through the transition time. the picture above is the view from where i work. you can see the basilica in the background. it´s a beautiful church. i climed up the clock tower the other day and saw great views of the city. below is phillipe, another volunteer from switzerland, and maria, one of the ecuadorian cooks at the hostel. in the background is the kitchen. i´m sorry for the short post, but i have to run to my spanish lesson and then i go straight to work. i promise i will write in more detail soon and add more pictures. thanks for reading!

08 septiembre 2006

Quito Bonito

Hello from Ecuador. I´m finally here after a long day of traveling on Wednesday. I arrived in Quito around 9:00 wed. night and went straight to the hostel. the volunteer on duty showed me around the place and showed me where i´d be staying. my room is called ¨the cave¨because there are no windows, but past volunteers have painted lovely murals on the wall, so it´s not so bad--hey, it´s free. thursday morning i went to a museum with some girls from the hostel to see the work of a famous ecaudorian painter, guayasamin...i think. then, thurs. afternoon at 3 i started my first shift. i´ll be working at the secret garden for at least a month. it´s a good deal for me because even though the shifts are 8 hours, 6 days a week, i get free food, bed and spanish lessons. and i automatically get to meet people. so i´m glad the volunteer position worked out. the people i´ve met have encouraged me by telling me that there will be no problem for me to get a job teaching english. so after the hostel, my next step will be teaching or volunteering depending on my money situation.

on another note, quito is beautiful. it´s surrounded by mountains and so far the weather has been amazing--sunny, blue sky and 70 degrees. the view from the hostel´s 5th floor terrace is gorgeous, and it´s the view i get all day while i´m at work.

i haven´t had time yet to walk around the city and see much, but there´s plenty of time. i´m living in the old town, the colonial part, which is the most beautiful and safe part of the city. the new town is where many tourists stay. so i´m happy to be situated in the ¨best¨part of town.

i will have pictures soon...i promise. i was waiting to write a first blog until i had pictures, but i decided on a whim to write a bit. so hopefully this will tide you over until i get pictures. thanks for reading, and as they say at the secret garde, ¨cheers!¨ (many of the travelers who stay there are from austrailia). and as they say in ecuador (or any spanish speaking country) ¨hasta luego.¨

Web Site Counter