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Hmm…did I mention that Grace knows her way around?  The opportunities are endless.

For $.40 each way, we traveled to the monument at the equator, Mitad del MundoWe went to a shopping mall.  We went within two blocks of her home.  And we came back to centro historico.  (Well, I insisted on a $1.75 for a taxi as a trade-off to a few bus changes in the rain.)  I was curious and googled the distance: we traveled at least 25 kilometers for $3.85 total for both of us.

Grace is trying to teach me the fine points of aggressive boarding and disembarking from crowded trolleys and buses.  I’m paying attention to where we are going, but I don’t have to figure out the routing.  It’s being done for me.

At the busiest hours, people are crammed against the doors.  This mass of standing people clogs the aisles making it almost impossible to move toward the doors.  Standing in line for the trolleys can be just as challenging since people charge for the doors as they open in order to get seating since the jouncing of the cars makes it difficult to stand.  I can always hear Grace behind me, “Get pushy now, Grammy.”

Yesterday, she gave me the same lecture I had given her in the New York subways when she was 12 years old.  “If we get separated, we’ll meet at the next stop.”  Full circle!

This is a girl after my own heart.  She preferred to eat at small local place across from the mall than go in to the food court.  And she has a list of the foods we are going to try. And she has an unerring sense of where to find the best humitas, which are a corn husk wrapped hunk of corn meal that is satisfyingly heavy.  With a cup of coffee and a couple of nuts from my pocket it’s the perfect breakfast for $1.50.

We’ve sampled the Seco de Pollo in a couple of restaurants.  This is a chicken stewed in a rich sauce and served with rice.  Yummmm!  And fried plaintain or a banana.  And perhaps a large bowl of soup.  And add some salad with avocado.  And a glass of fruit juice.  $1.50 per meal.  We got a variation on this today when the restaurant we chose was serving carne with rice.

We’re still on the hunt for Ceviche and whatever else she has in mind.

Before coming to Ecuador I read that one should always leave a bit of food on one’s plate to be polite.  Grace warned me against this and I haven’t run into it yet.  Instead I’m finding that if I can’t finish the gargantuan lunches and dinners, someone will ask whether I like the food.  I’m compromising by finishing all of my food in private homes and risking insult to the restaurant owners.  I don’t know how much English is spoken in centro historico.  Grace is fluent in Spanish

I wanted a photo of the flower lady who wanted the young man included who wouldnt agree unless grace was included who felt really awkward.

and I have naturally reverted to what I know.  It’s relaxing for me to have someone else be the guide.  I just get myself into conversational situations and look to Grace to get me out when I’m over my head.

The people are gracious and friendly here.  Grace is an added incentive for the younger people to be helpful.

A lesson in finger painting

Neither of us have felt threatened or as if anything is dangerous.  I’m sure our attitude helps.  We’re expecting the best.  And getting it!

Hasta pronto

TRAVEL NOTES:

Guide for bus and trolley probably available at Tourist Information.  Just know that it will take you anywhere.

You can drink the water in Quito so we aren’t afraid to eat in any of the small restaurants.  Local cuisine is cheap and very good.