Friday 21 August 2009

Rotten Apple

My new iPhone has let me down and won´t connect to the internet and I´m very disappointed and frustrated. ¿!ñÇ·%&!¡ (That´s Spanish keyboard swearing.)

After a full 24 hours of travelling, I got to Quito, and into my room, which is fabulous and I would post a photo if I could but I can´t, so imagine quantities of marble, dark polished wood full of scrolls and curlicues, tapestry curtains and bed canopy, supersoft sheets and goosedown pillows, chandeliers, gold and beige striped wallpaper and a liberal scattering of rose petals in the bathroom and on the bed that make me feel guilty for not being a honeymoon couple. Hotel Plaza Grande - well named.

Today we´ve toiled around the old town´s narrow cobbled streets: balconies, pastel painted stucco, flags, balconies, potted flowers, smily kids, Indians with shawls and baskets on their backs, hats and long plaits, little yellow taxis, crawling buses with the conductor hanging out of the door shouting the route, people crouched in bright caves of shops, the odd horse and carriage and a creepy clown complete with red nose who I saw at least five times. And churches. Lots and lots of churches, with elaborate ceilings, Moorish patterns, heavy on the gold and almost lasciviously fond of Christ statues dripping blood and covered in bruises.

We put on silly chef hats and aprons AND rubber gloves AND masks and made ceviche, which was a nonsense as all we did was assemble it from the ingredients all laid out. But it did taste nice.

And there was a small incident, where I paused to take a photo and when I went to catch up with the others, they had completely disappeared. I was boxed in on the footpath, and when I got to the corner I couldn't see them round there either. So I stood in an obvious place in the square, gloomily thinking that it turns out I´m the group needy person. There was lots of local colour to entertain me, but I was feeling very guilty when I finally spotted the others, almost half an hour later, and dashed across to join them. "Have you been looking for me?" I panted. "I'm so sorry!" They looked puzzled. They´d been in a Panama hat shop and hadn't even noticed that I was missing.


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