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Quito views and Spanish class

(May 31 – written by Dave)

Greetings from Quito and our week of immersion Spanish.  We are not fluent in Spanish, nor are we effluent (but that’s a whole different story).  But we have actually learned a lot in the first four days of class.  Tomorrow we’ll have our last session and start getting ready for our departure on Sunday.  The trick for the next six months is to be a little more disciplined and actually get out our notes and study.

We have been studying at the Simon Bolivar School of Spanish.  They run a very professional school and we have a great teacher – Mariana.  There are actually quite a few Spanish schools here and also in many of the larger cities in Latin America.  It is very difficult to know which one to pick.  We felt like we lucked out with our school in La Paz, Baja – they had professional administrative staff and good teachers.  We scored again with Simon Bolivar on both counts.

Simon Bolivar School

Our Spanish school

Mariana

Nuestras Maestra Mariana y Nancy (sorry, that one had to be in Spanish)

If anyone asks, we’d probably pick Quito and Simon Bolivar over La Paz.  It helps that school is about ½ the cost and here they have smaller classes sizes 1 on 2, or 1 on 1.  We appreciated the individual attention even though I can’t remember words all too often (Nancy always remembers more than me!).  While those points are important, we’d pick here mostly because Quito is such a nice city.  It is pretty clean, has great cafes and restaurants and there are lots of things to do.  La Paz is nice but perhaps a little sleepy and other than fantastic fish tacos, the food is less exciting.

We of course stopped in La Paz because it came early in our time in Latin America and we needed to know more that “Mi nombre es David/Nancy….”.   So we certainly have no regrets.  However, if you are looking for a place to spend a few weeks and do immersion Spanish – consider looking at Quito and Simon Bolivar.

We found a great AirB&B in the La Floresta neighbourhood – pretty close to where we were with Nancy’s sisters.  Our new place isn’t quite as nice but the view is great.  We are clearly getting near the end of the wet season here – the sun and clouds spend all day fighting each other to see who’s going to dominate at any given moment.  We rose today to the most amazing blue skies and one single cloud (see photo).  This afternoon, the clouds managed to gang up on the sun – the second photo is taken only 10 hours after the first.

From our deck 3

View from our apartment – note single cloud

Verical garden 10 hours later

Exact same view 10 hours later

Sunset from our apartment

And nearly the same view 24 hours earlier

When we leave here on Sunday we will ride a few days in an area known for distant snow covered volcanos.  A few cyclists ahead of us got nothing but fog and clouds.  We are hoping that our week of Spanish has given the dry season enough time to get started – for both dry roads and volcano views.  We will leave on Sunday, the day they close the roads for bicycles.  We’ll get something close to 25k of closed roads to start our ride.  We tried out our newly cleaned and adjusted bikes last Sunday.  It was really fun being out with so many locals on bikes.  You have to be on your toes but the danger of a 6 year old jumping the curb on their BMX bike is always going to be less danger than dodging cars on open roads.

Ciclo

Busy Sunday Ciclo route – lots of bikes

We’ve been focused during the week on Spanish but still managed a few photos of Quito.  And of course we had to eat which always means food photos.  I’ll include a few photos here for historical purposes.  We have been trying to take advantage of access to great restaurants here in Quito to get our fill of good fresh food – and we’ve been pretty successful at that.

Yum 1

I had this dish this week, Nancy’s sister had is last week – I wanted to try it last week but was too slow – Gretch ate it all while I wasn’t looking.  So this week, I got mine own and I know why she didn’t share last week – wow – yum

Verical garden 2

Cool building near our school – with vertical garden

Sunset from our apartment - sun fighting cloud

Mountains losing fight with clouds – view from our apartment

Quito rough side

Quito is nice but there are some edgy streets – we didn’t go down this one

Quito haze

Looking north – it’s cloud/fog, not polution

Moving bricks

These guys are working on a building near us.  They start early and work hard.  It’s all manual.

God on eigth day

On the eight God created coffee – Ecuador is a very Catholic country.

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4 responses to “Quito views and Spanish class

  1. It sounds like a great break from cycling.Your dinner looks delicious! I look forward to hearing about your extensive conversations with locals in Spanish in the future! Wishing you many sunny days ahead!

  2. The Vertical Garden looks so interesting! Are these edibles or grasses or ?? So glad you decided to stay another week & relax while studying more Spanish. And taking more pictures!!

    • The wall was all grasses, healthy but tough looking to grow in that environment.
      More photos of mountains and the outside to come we hope – Cities are nice but mountains are better 🙂

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