30 June 2012

First days in Quito

I landed in Quito with another student without incident. Our incident was awaiting us, since I had recently received an email from the hostel I booked, telling me they were actually completely full. After a few different flights, we both found ourselves landing in Quito at the same time and we decided to head into town to look for a hostel like any other dumb tourists - by walking door to door.

After a few tries, we found a very polite lady who had availability for 2 nights (which suited me just fine), so we booked it. $9 per bed per night isn’t bad at all.

We explored, eventually met up with some other staff members who arrived early as well (the other student was here as a participant, but we’re quickly learning that she’s as good as staff), and then turned in, anticipating the next morning. That came, and went, and we woke up at about 10am, a few hours later than we planned on meeting with some friends to explore Quito.

Fortunately, we met up later at The Magic Bean (a restaurant named in honor of Shel Silverstein, the owner’s favorite, hopefully). It was great seeing all of the familiar faces from past field schools, and I can’t wait to get to work with them as staff this time.

I’m more than a little concerned about one staff member, but there’s always one who’s a little slower on the uptake. If it wasn’t her, it’d be someone else who’s not as reliable as everyone else. No point really in dwelling on it unless it poses a serious hazard. On one or two occasions I was afraid I saw something indicative of that, but hopefully she’ll wise up before she puts herself in serious danger.

Touring Quito has been breathtaking, and I’m not just saying that because the altitude is making it difficult to breathe - although really, that too. Photos will be upcoming, but in the meantime, holy shit; heights.

Tomorrow I’m taking a bus out to Cangahua with the rest of the staff at 11am. That’s in 6.5 hours, so I want to get to the rendezvous point in 5 hours, and I need to pack (so I should get started on that in 4.5 hours, maybe 4), which means it’d be ideal to be awake in 3.5 hours, so… Not sure about sleeping tonight, actually.

I feel oddly energetic, given the natural difficulty breathing at this altitude. I really can’t stress enough that breathing up here - particularly when hiking up hills - is enormously challenging.

Then again, it’s really cold, and I’m quite tired. I’m going to set my alarm for a few hours from now and hopefully I won’t sleep through it. If I do, then fuck. Otherwise, hopefully I’ll put some photos up (and more posts) in a few days.

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