People have asked how I “keep busy” here in Ecuador. I’ve been here over four weeks the longest I’ve ever travelled) and I’ve not yet felt bored or that there wasn’t enough to do. Most days have some structure to them but it’s very loose and depends on who I meet, what’s going on in town and whether I need to run errands which is similar to home. But the errands here are much simpler and the options for shopping, time and money wasting are much smaller!
On most days it’s chilly in the morning, around 50 degrees F, sometimes colder; there have been mornings where you can see your breath. So I start out making a fire in the fireplace in my bedroom and usually watch it until it’s a raging inferno.
Then I deal with washing and dressing while it’s warm. I need to go outside and walk about 5 steps to the living room/kitchen where I make another fire and start it and then start a pot of tea. For those who know me, I never drink tea unless I’m sick (and never coffee), so this is a real change. As I’ve mentioned before, these fruit teas are really good, so I enjoy a couple of cups of tea in front of the fire until it warms up and it’s comfortable to start breakfast (the kitchen is on the far side of the room from the fireplace).
I’ve been rotating between three breakfasts: a big western omelet, once in a while with potatoes, fruit and yogurt or hot cereal. I brought steel cut oats with me, but not enough to last 8 weeks so I mix it half and half with quinoa and it comes out quite good. I add some stevia and some combination of apples, raisins, craisins, bananas and blueberries. Then very surprisingly, I wash my own dishes and give some thought to the day. I brought over 100 movies with me, so sometimes I’ll watch something during breakfast. By the time cleanup is done, it’s usually between 9 and 10 am. Then I go down to the main building and check email. It’s a pretty walk through a new blackberry grove.
Three days a week, I bike into town and go to the gym which is only open during the week. On the other weekdays i take the bus for 25 cents. Then I may have lunch in town, stop at the produce market, visit Adrian at the artisan’s market if he’s around, or just explore a new part of town. At home, I’d buy salad stuff on the weekend and make a big salad that lasted all week. Here, because there are no preservatives, I have to buy every couple of days- and it’s fun checking out what’s at the market, trying something new and eating healthy. The produce market is huge, here’s one example:
If I don’t eat lunch out, I may make a hearty soup, a tuna salad with tons of veggies or something similarly healthy.
On the weekends I’ll bike or walk into town for the exercise. Saturday is the big market day so it’s a fun day for people watching.
I might come back to the hotel mid- afternoon when the sun is warmest (70-75 or so at that time) and read for an hour or two in the sun, do some cooking, meet people who are staying at the hotel or just hang out. In the evening, if I’m not doing something, I may watch a movie or read. Dinner is usually some veggies and hummus or maybe popcorn, very light. And that’s paid off, I’ve lost 12 pounds since I’m here, trying for another 10 more.
It’s a very relaxing time and hard to believe I’m here a month. I’ve gotten a couple of invitations from people I’ve met through Adrian to stay in Quito and in the jungle outside of Quito which I will probably do towards the end of my stay in Ecuador. So that’s what a typical day looks like, it really depends on who else is around and what we decide to do. Right now there are 5 others here that I’ve been hanging out with, this week I’m having four of them for dinner (one is leaving during the day), so that should be interesting. One couple is looking at buying a place here, the other is friends with the owner and has been down many times before. So when there are people around I’m hanging out with, I adjust my day to whatever we decide to do. It’s very interesting not having a plan, but it’s kind of fun just taking each day as it comes.