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Showing posts from September, 2012

My Expat Community

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I am really fortunate that my coworkers and the expat community here are so open-minded, hilarious, adventurous, and generally awesome. Ecuador definitely attracts a certain sort of expat. You have to be super chill, tolerant, unmaterialistic, and open to experience to live here. It makes me wonder what my coworkers will be like when I go to other parts of the world (Asia? Europe?).
We are like a giant family here. We watch movies together and support each other and eat together and travel together. The dynamic is strange; normally your coworkers and friends are separate. Not the case here.
I work with these people all day and then I go home and party with them all night.
My friends recently had a barbecue on their rooftop terrace. Everyone brought along good eats and we had a lovely time. This roof is sometimes used for movie screenings with a projector as well!
The boys firing up the grill
Their hammock room
This makes me think of Buddha for some reason
Me with a friend at the barbecue
The …

I Am Becoming a Hermit.

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As we settle into our new house, I am realizing a down side to its awesomeness. I never want to leave! Sure, it's saving me money, but my Emily Dickinson tendencies are emerging and my social life is at risk. Check out these photos of my new place and tell me you'd be able to drag yourself away. I would NEVER be able to afford a place like this in the United States.
Laura swimming laps in our pool
About to go for a dip
Me swimming, with our house in the background
My bedroom
Another view of my bedroom
This is my workspace- where the magic happens! Also, a clothesline of photos, foreign currency, and postcards
Cool Cuban art I bought here in Quito and my jewelry
Some of my favorite photos I have on my wall here

Seedy Underbelly of Quito

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Finnaallllllyy I am settled in my new apartment! We have working toilets and mattresses and internet (all of which are apparently very important if you don't want to pee in the garden or sleep on a foam mat). I have loads to catch up on, but one story from the last week trumps them all.
I OUTSMARTED THE BANDITS AND THIEVES OF ECUADOR.
Well, maybe not completely. But mostly.
It all started when I heard rumors of an underground electronics black market of stolen goods here in Quito. Except that it's not really underground, but is actually a four story tall shopping mall in Old Town. Having recently been robbed of a Nikon and BlackBerry, I had to check it out. My friend Mike volunteered to come with me to poke around and look for my stolen goods there. 
A photo I found on the local newspaper website  of police raiding the black market for illegal activity
After asking around in a couple electronics stores in Old Town, we were pointed towards Centro Comercial Montufar by some sketchy lo…

Internations Featured Blog!

I am officially a featured blog for Ecuador on Internations! To read my interview, click the link below:

Internations Interview

Robbed in Quito.... AGAIN.

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Ughhhh this is the second time I have been robbed in Quito and the third time in Latin America. So far, I have lost:
One BlackberryTwo digital camerasOne iPod I should just give up and sell all of my electronics and live a simple life, right?

Basically, I was at Fiestas de Guapulo this weekend (my favorite event in Quito!!) and I jumped in the giant moshpit/stampede around the fireworks contraptions. They build these monstruous wooden devices and cover them in fireworks and then run around in circles spraying flames at peoples' faces. It is so much fun.

I brought my brand new Nikon to take photos for this blog and jumped in the crowd, only to notice in the first minute that someone had opened my bag, taken the camera, and refastened the bag closed.

I stepped out to text my mom and tell her the bad news, and then decided to do one more lap in the crowd, but hold on to my bag ridiculously tight this time. When I emerged to get some hornado (pulled pork), my BlackBerry was gone too!!!

Apartment Hunting in Quito

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What a process this has been. My roommate Laura and I decided to find our new apartment independently, without the help of our school, and it has not been easy! We finally found a place we LOVE and we will be moving in slowly over the course of the next week.

Pretty views of Quito as we were apartment hunting
One of the streets where we toured houses in La Floresta
We used the local Sunday paper, El Comercio, to find phone numbers of landlords and real estate agents. We called and emailed over 20 different people. A few responded, a couple people let us stop by and tour their places, and one real estate agent took us under her wing and found about 5 places for us to tour. Laura and I used this time to explore various neighborhoods and try lots of new restaurants.
Seco de Pollo- Chicken stew from a street vendor
Korean lunch in Quito, in Gonzalez Suarez
Grabbing some empanadas with our friend Pablo
In the end, we decided on a 3 bedroom house in a gated community at the top of Guapulo. We have…

Quito's El Maple Vegetarian Restaurant

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I went out with some girl friends today to try one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in Ecuador. El Maple is located in La Mariscal, the international neighborhood with tons of bars, shopping, nightclubs, and restaurants. I was pretty disappointed I never got around to eating at El Maple last year, so I was glad to remedy that today!

Joaquin Pinto St. in La Mariscal
I found my name on the walk to El Maple!
The restaurant was suppppeeerrr cute. It is in an old house with a garden out back and plant covered patio out front. We chose to sit inside because it was a little chilly out.

My friend Shannan outside the restaurant
The pretty entrance to the restaurant
The menu has a ton of options, but they also have a set lunch. For 4.99, you get juice, an appetizer, soup, a main course, and dessert. We each ordered the set lunch menu, but also wanted to try out the samosas as well so we split an order of those on the side. What a feast!
Laura trying to choose what to order from a menu of winn…