Paul met me at the Quito airport and we went to our hotel where we spent two nights. We stayed in the “old city” which is the colonial remnant of the Spanish conquest. We spent an entire day taking in the churches - opulent but beautiful. The Jesuit church contains over 40 kilos of gold leaf decoration. With the modest level of the economy, that strikes me as grossly inappropriate, but such is the case I imagine in many Latin American countries. We are enjoying the local food – being an omnivore, as I am, helps!
A two-hour bus ride took us to Otavalo, where Paul and Kristen and the girls have an apartment for six months. As I sit here looking out at the local buildings, I see modest structures, some in great disrepair. Last night Paul and Kristen hosted a pizza (yes, pizza) party for about 20 local people, nearly all of whom are native people (indigenous descendants of the Incas). The natives speak Quichua, the old language, as well as Spanish. Speaking neither makes it difficult for me to communicate. However, the people who came were so gracious that it really didn’t matter. It was a joy to be with them and to get a sense of their gentle and loving approach to life. Smiles and touches communicate a great deal. Later last night, Julio, one of the guests, took Paul and me to the closing ceremonies of the local soccer season. Paul and I were the only non-natives there , and it was a wonderful expression of acceptance that we were included. It reminded me of an experience years ago when another white man and I were included in an otherwise all Black party. ( This was during Civil Rights times). One’s experience of another group is totally different from the inside-out. I look forward to the (all too short) rest of my time here. I salute Paul and Kristen and Althea and Rosalie for undertaking this adventure.
- ▼ February (11)