Saying Goodbye

Today is my last day in Quito, and it’s hard saying goodbye to a city that despite its quirks, I’ve grown to really love.  There are things I’ll miss about Quito and Ecuador, and there are definitely some things I can’t wait to be done with, so here’s the list I’ve complied:

1. I will miss the gorgeous views.  The city and its valleys sit in the middle of gorgeous green mountains and hills, and the view is spectacular during the day at night.  By far my favorite place to see the city is Parque Metropolitano, near my house.  You can see Volcan Pichincha, the Basilica, the Panecillo and virgen de Quito, and all the way from North Quito down to the southern valleys. It’s incredible.

2. I will NOT miss the spotty availability of hot water.  At my house we have hot water before 7am and after about 8pm until about 10 pm every day, and all day on Sunday.  Taking a run in the morning at a normal hour and coming home to a freezing shower is not something I have particularly enjoyed.

3. I will miss the panaderias.  You can find these little bread stores on literally every street in Quito and in every town in Ecuador.  They all either have freshly baked rolls, loaves and cookies delivered every morning or bake them in-house.  I have LOVED the bread here and it will be so hard to go back to grocery store slice bread.

4. I will NOT miss the cat calls. Yes, some of it is funny and it’s hard  for me not to laugh at the ridiculous things Ecuadorean guys come up with.  But on the whole, I’m done with the “tse, tse, tse” and whistling that apparently men here feel is an appropriate way to address women.

5. I will miss the ease of traveling and the diversity this country has.  It is so easy to hop on a bus for a weekend on the beach, or go camping and hiking/climbing, or go mess around with monkeys in the jungle.  And travel is so cheap! Bus trips run  for about $1 an hour and flights to Guyaquil are affordable.

6. I will NOT miss the pollution.  There is a lot of traffic in Quito, like any big city, and like any big city the major side effect of this is pollution.  The buses really don’t have any filtration system, so they end up spewing out clouds of black smoke for the unprepared pedestrian to inhale.

7. I will miss the food.  Most people can’t believe me when I say this, but I really do like food.  Yes, I am really tired of rice, and yes, there is more fried food here than in the south, but overall I’ve liked it.  Aji has become one of my favorite condiments, empanadas are delicious, the fruit and juices are incredible, and you just can’t go wrong with the $2 almuerzos. At the same time, I do wish I had made attempt to eat healthier here. I’m pretty sure the pinguino ice cream, potatoes and rice, hot dogs, and Pilsener have taken their toll.

8. I will NOT miss hearing stories of my friends getting robbed and having to keep my guard up at all times.  For a girl my age I think this is a more normal instinct to know when it is too late to walk alone, keep keys and phone handy, and always watch your purse.  The difference is that crime is just so much more common here, you can’t ever really relax because even safe neighborhoods can be dangerous.

9. I will miss the beautiful weather.  Quito’s weather is unique because it is both on the Equator and 9,200 feet high.  The result is temperatures during the day between the mid-60s to the  80s and cooler at night.  It is sunny much more than it rains, and there is a nice breeze most days.  It’s just perfect.

10. I will NOT miss the danger of contracting “little buddies” as they are affectionately called.  Gringos here are prone to amoebas, worms, parasites, and all manner of nasty digestive disorders.  Luckily I was spared from any of those problems, but I can’t wait to drink tap water without fear of unpleasant repercussions.

There are so many more things I could write about: my sweet family, the friends I’ve made, the people I’ve met, but that would probably make me even sadder to leave than I already am.

Quito, te quiero, vuelvo a verte pronto.