My second Sunday at the Carolinas Park. Unfortunately, we got to the aerobics dance class about 15 minutes late, which is enough time to miss to make what could be a successfull workout into just a sad fail. It didn't make too much of a difference in the end because soon after we arrived, it started to rain. Everyone scrambled for safety and once the whole group had cleared, the rain clouds conveniently disappeared never to return again. But we made the best of the afternoon by walking through the entire park, which was so much more enormous than I had originally thought. We walked passed a children’s horse riding area, botanical garden, paddleboats, and antique car house, and even a small farris wheel.
A few days earlier, Julia, Paige, and I took some random buses to the high end commercial district of Quito, and spotted a very American-style mall, El Jardin. We went in after walking around the park for a few hours. I think the mall was more of a culture shock than almost any other aspect of Ecuador, where underwear cost over $60 and food courts lined the entire top floor.
Monday morning. Woke up at
5:30 am. In pitch black. I cannot believe I did. Julia and I decided the night before to wake up early in the morning, bundle up, and walk over to the nearby bridge over the highway from which we could view all of Quito, the surrounding mountains, and the Pichincha volcano…and also see the sunrise. As we were getting dressed, we froze as we heard a very near and ominous chanting coming from a group of men that sounded a few blocks away. It freaked me out quite considerably and when we asked Nancy about it later, she said it could have been the workers from a nearby factory who were protesting on the injury or death of a worker. It sounded like a witch hunt to me.
Above the highway, the smoky traffic rumbled underneath, while the darkness of the night disappeared and the fog of the early morning rolled in. 6:14 am, we saw the rays of the sun peek out from behind a huge mountain right in front of us, and in an indefinable moment, the entire sun simply uncovered all of itself and spread the sleeping city in bright light. The day was perfect, not
a cloud in the sky.
I used the time I had after work to take some last minute photos of the city. The city's beauty is so incredible and unique, when you actually take the time to look around (without letting go of your purse). The facades - many renovated, and most nicely painted - look like little pastries and cakes, in tasteful shades of pinks, yellows, blues, and greens. Clearly the influence of timeless colonial architecture, their regality somehow fades into the second-rate aspects of the city. Maybe it’s the wrought iron name displays for each building, or the influence of the few stores with sickening amounts of plastic toys and kitsch that spills out of the stores’ front that makes it this way, but something about it is really captivating and, is what I think, gives Quito its character.
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