Monday, July 6, 2009

Culture Shock

Quito is a fairly big city and we have only seen little bits and pieces of it in the few days we've been here, but it is a world away from what we are used to. Hence, the title: family adventure.

Here are some things I didn't necessarily read about in the guide books but have learned so far.

Dryers are a luxury. Almost nobody has one. Many wash by hand as well. We are spoiled because we have a washer & dryer here. Dishwashers are unheard of. We somehow scored one in our "luxury" apt. However no stores sell dishwashing detergent. The clerks assured us we should just try regular dish soap. hmmmm.

The view of the Pinchicha valley (where Quito is) is absolutely breath taking. Nothing close to anything we've ever seen. Cannot wait to get out and take more photos.

Many places we've traveled before in our lives we've encountered plenty of folks who speak English. Not so much here in Ecuador. (This makes the fact that our kids understand and even speak a little English all the more amazing)

Pedestrians NEVER have the right of way.
While we're on traffic laws.... no seatbelt or car seat requirements either which gives us mini-heart attacks whenever we venture out by automobile. Also there are too many children (and adults) weaving through traffic selling fruit/papers/brooms(?)and candy. It's upsetting.

We went to the shop today. A really nice kitchen shear (scissor) cost $1.49. The paperback Finding Nemo book we got for the kids cost $8.60. What?

On food....milk, margarine & eggs are not refrigerated here. It took us a while to find margarine! Thank goodness N is old enough to help point this out to us.

Power outages are often. I experienced that in our 1st hotel while showering in a windowless bathroom. Scary!

Poverty here is overwhelming.

We ate out at a local restaurant the other day - huge chicken dinner with roasted potatoes and rice (starch is big). 6 of us. Total bill: $11.

The ubiquitous buses spew black smoke as they ramble around town. The pollution is thick in the air and it's hard to breathe when you are out on the street. Also the sidewalks are very uneven and hard to navigate with a stroller. There are no cares about littering. Everyone throws their trash in the street, sidewalks, our back patio (we're on the 1st flr).

Despite our (my) language issues, the people we have met are so kind and helpful! Everyone you meet wants to give you a kiss on the cheek.

We saw a man walking his 3 goats down a busy city street 2 days ago. I did a double-take. I thought they were dogs.

It's crazy - but we are loving it and appreciating the opportunity to see and experience this amazing place our children were born.

That's all for now. We are tired but good. The children are adjusting to each other and us well. We are amazed at how wonderful and caring they are. Also amazed that they've only been together a few days and already fight over toys and mom and dad's laps like they've been together forever.


  1. thinking of all of you. and sending my love. i admire your adventure(s) and am grateful to get little glimpses through your communication! can't wait to hear more about it. xoxoxo


  2. Hey! We posted a comment yesterday (we thought) but I guess we don't have this blogging thing down yet. Just wanted to tell you that we are enjoying your frequent updates and pictures. We sharedd your Quito information with the Smethies because their daughter is there now in a Spanish immersion program. Hope all continues to progress smoothly and quickly! Love to all six!!
    Tia Ann and Tio John