Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vivimos en Ecuador

Hey everyone! Now that Jonathan and I have had a chance to spend a couple days settling into our new surroundings, I thought I'd give you all a little update about what we're up to, where we live, and how it's going so far.

We arrived in Quito, Ecuador Thursday night around 10pm. Lenin, our coworker was there to pick us up. We took a cab to a penthouse apartment he had rented for all of us for the night (the hotels in Quito were all booked). The next morning (after both Jonathan and I woke up too early a bajillion times due to the early-rising sun) we had some breakfast and then took a cab to the bus terminal in Quito. There is a lot of crazyness here in Ecuador. It seems like right-of -ways just don't exist here. Horns are used frequently and with fervor. It's not rude; it's just that if you don't use one you'll get hit. Despite the crazy drivers and traffic, we actually did make it to the bus terminal alive. Lenin got us our bus tickets for Riobamba and I was amazed at the price. $4.00 for a 4 hour bus ride. Wow. I think we'll be doing a lot of bus travelling here.

The bus ride was amazingly beautiful. Everything is so green, hilly, and mountainous. We saw the countryside with huge fields of different colors of green patches of land, depending on the crops the farmers were growing there. Then, in the distance, a huge snowy mountain peak would pop out of the clouds and surprise us. I'm so excited to be living in such a beautiful country. Although the bus was only half full when we left Quito, they let people on in each little town we passed through until the aisles were full of people standing. Apparently that's illegal here but it still happens.

We arrived in Riobamba yesterday afternoon. We're living in the Ascend Alliance office, which is an apartment. During the day, it's used as the office, and at night it's our apartment. We work with three people here that are the local staff. Carlos is our boss and the head of Ascend operations in Riobamba. Lenin and Adriana our other coworkers.

Here is our front door!

Here is the cute little sign and balloon they had in the office when we arrived.

Here is our little kitchen that we share with the Ascend staff during the day.

Here are some eggs that don't need to be refrigerated. yum...

Here is Jonathan in Adriana and Lenin's office writing an email to family and friends.

Here I am in our little bathroom.

Here I am on our twin beds that we pushed together (because we're married! a week today!). There's about a 5 inch gap between the beds even when they're pushed together so we'll have to find a way to fix that. :) (oh... and my bum's really not as big as it looks. it's the sweats. I swear!)

Here's our closet. Because everyone loves pictures of closets.

Here's the beautiful view out of our bedroom window. We're so blessed to be here (hopefully I will still think that when I get a severe case of diarrhea from eating something sketchy).

Here is a little fenced off area on the roof where we will be hanging our laundry to dry.

Here is the view from our roof. That's the tallest peak in Ecuador, Mt. Chimborazo, which is actually an inactive volcano. Right here in our own backyard. The summit of the volcano is the furthest point from the center of the earth since the earth isn't a perfect sphere. So even though Mt. Everest is higher in elevation above sea level, it's not as far from the center of Earth as Chimborazo. Sweet!

Here's Jonathan on the roof with a rusty machete and saw he found.

Here's the front room of our apartment/office, with Carlos' desk and the meeting desk.

Here's Jonathan looking kinda weird and kinda cute eating his dinner. A sandwich with jamon y queso fresco (ham and fresh cheese). Wedding ring!

This morning, Carlos and his wife and 4-year-old son showed us around the city in their car. More crazy traffic, but they don't seem to notice it much. They took us to an awesome market where there were indigenous people selling all kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, etc. Everything was really fresh and inexpensive in comparison to what I'm used to. The only sad part was that Jonathan got his camera stolen out of his pocket when we got caught in a tight crowd at the market. He's pretty bummed about it. At least we still have my camera.

Here's Jonathan drinking coconut milk right out of the coconut but looking sad. It was about 5 minutes after the stolen camera incident.

Here's a view of the market. If you see any suspicious-looking men who might have Jonathan's camera in any of these photos, let me know.

Yummy fruits and vegetables.

Little tiny lady in slippers selling tomatoes.
Another little tiny lady shelling some sort of bean.

There were lots of strawberries.

And even a poor little pig.

After the market, Carlos fed us a nice lunch at his apartment and let Jonathan play his guitar. He wants Jonathan to teach him how to play it so he gave it to us to use here as long as Jonathan promises to teach him. We're excited about that since we couldn't bring his guitar here.

We were pretty sick in the days leading up to our departure for Ecuador, but we're on the mend. Jonathan is much better than he was Wednesday night (delirious and fevered). I'm still fighting my cold but I'm hoping to get rid of it soon.

We miss everyone at home but we're so excited to be here. We start our work on Monday and I'll make sure to keep you updated on what we're doing. Oh and if anyone wants to contact me through Skype, you can search any of my email addresses and it should come up. Let me know if you have any problems.

Buenas Noches!


brycenbeans said...

The camera thing really sucks...but aside from that I am really jealous of you guys. Jonathan, you should have taken the machete to the crowded market. Amanda, no dejes que Jonathan regrese a los estados unidos sin haber aprendido espanol. Los quiero mucho amigos. Estamos hablando.

David and Brooke Gallagher said...

WOW!How neat, all those pics are so cool! I hope you guys get feeling better. Sorry about Jonathan's camera, what a bummer!

Carly said...

Yeah! That is the same apartment we were in...Carlos told me they moved...weird? I will definitely be reading your blog. PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU NEED ANYTHING...SERIOUSLY. This is going to be great.

Michemily said...

Yay yay yay for Ecuador! Sorry for the missing camera. I always wished those camera thieves would at least leave the card with the recorded memories! I would seriously pay for them to get another card.

Lindsay said...

How fun. I am extremely jealous. The culture in South America is so awesome. I'm sorry about the camera. My trainer had hers stolen by her convert--two days after baptism. At least you know that they probably need the money (if that helps or not, I don't even know...).

I love you! Congrats again, and enjoy.


Jessica said...

Great Pictures! It looks like such an adventure...I am kinda jealous! But, I don't think it would be quite the same with four little kids in tow. Sigh.
So sorry about Jonathon's camera! I got my wallet stolen while I was on my mission, and I was SO mad. It makes you feel violated somehow. Glad you have a back-up so we can see pictures still! Please keep us updated on your adventures! Seth likes to see what you are up to!
Thinking of you guys! Have fun!

Sam and Rachelle said...

Hey sista :) Looks like you two are having a blast!! I am so jealous :) That market place looks amazing. I can just imagine how delicious the fruit is!! Mmmmm.
PS- you really do need to figure out a solution to the twin beds!! I don’t sleep well unless I at least have a toe touching Sam!! Lol.

amanda said...

We filled the crack between the beds in with blankets and we take turns sleeping on it. It works!

Joe Gracey said...

I LOVE THAT DOOR!!! Keep those random pictures coming. :)