Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flying to Ecuador

I spent the day so excited about Ecuador that I couldn't really enjoy Lima. In the morning I wandered around aimlessly, and ended up at the Whole Foods of Peru. I walked the aisles, looking for familiar foods. I spotted Oreos, Prngles, and Hellmans salad dressing! Nothing too exciting, so I left with an empty stomach and headed to a small restaurant to order a tamale. I need to stop expecting Peruvian tamales to taste like Colorado tamales. It wasn't my favorite. After eating, I stopped into a camera store that actually had my charger, but it was double what it was in Cusco -160 soles. I am kicking myself for not buying it when I had the chance. I will keep looking in Ecuador; hopefully they will have a reasonably priced charger. Luckily, I still have a bit of battery life left as well as a backup camera.

The one thing I did purchase today was Lonely Planet Ecuador. I spent a good part of the afternoon laying out in the fog on the hostel roof reading through it and Googling all of the places listed. Night planes are the worst because the anticipation of being somewhere new is crippling!

Around 2, Sebas picked me up to drop my suitcase off at his house. I am leaving the majority of my things in Peru so that I don't have to cart it all around with me. He will hang onto my Bolivian blanket, a lot of winter clothes, and all of the alpaca sweaters I have acquired. I feel like Ecuador will be a lot warmer - I hope that is true!

Sebas and I grabbed dinner at a pollo a la brasa place, and then I arrived at the airport way too early. They always say you need to be at the airport three hours early for an international flight, but in my experience, I am always there and the airport staff are not. The two lanes for Tame were both closed until 6:30 pm, and I arrived at 5:30.

One weird airport observation - there are these machines that wrap your stuff up in florescent green plastic wrap for 35 soles. It seems excessive, but tons of people were doing it. I also observed this phenomenon in Miami, but it wasn't utilized to this extent. Almost everyone was doing it!

Another weird airport observation - unlike all American airports, Lima does not announce your flight. When they begin boarding, they begin boarding. No warning, no reminder... You just pay attention. This is not my favorite approach, and it surely didn't help my paranoia about missing my flight while intensely staring at the gate for two hours, but at least it is quiet... Until a small fleet of 7 year old Ecuadorian cheerleaders arrive in the waiting area. Then it isn't so quiet. I found it amusing that these little girls play the same slapping hands game that my students played in the US. Some things are universal.

At the airport, I had plenty of time to make friends. I made one friend with a girl my age while waiting for Tame to open. As we were boarding 3 hours later, she asked me where I had been, and said she was looking for me because she had VIP access at the airport and had gotten free food, drinks and wifi! I wish I knew! Instead, I was in the normal waiting area, making friends with the 7 year old child who plopped down next to me. She was adorable, and blushed when she asked me to teach her a little English. She was very talkative. I thought it would be easier to talk to kids in Spanish since it would seem that they would have simpler vocabularies. In reality, though, it is tricky to talk to a little kid because they can't anticipate what words I will know or not know the same way an adult would. They also get really confused when I don't recognize seemingly common words. Talking to kids reminds me at while my Spanish is much better than it was, it sometimes seems better than it really is because I just keep having the same conversation over and over with different people. I am a master at talking about where I have traveled or how much I paid for my sweater, but when it comes to voicing opinions, I am lost. The fact that I was able to get by in Spanish, though, both with the adult and the kid, is promising. I definitely would not have been able to say anything two months ago.

Currently reading David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, and it is excellent.

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