Day 7: Rucu Pichincha and Settling In
We stiffly roll out of bed with the rise of the sun. No alarm clock is needed. The geese, dogs, and bustling noises of the city only take a brief, two-hour break between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. Today Chris gets an early start, catching an Uber and riding the TeleferiQo up the side of a mountain to above 13,000 ft, then hiking the remainder of the way to the top of Rucu Pichincha at more than 15,000 ft.
In his final push to acclimate, he falls, tearing open each finger and removing the skin from the tip of his thumb completely. He doesn’t notice the pain as he takes in the views and has another chance encounter with our Austrian friends from Hostal Mama Hilda on our Quilotoa stay a couple nights earlier. They greet each other with a loud and fond hello (What a surprise to see any familiar face at all!), but both parties quickly head on their way. Chris is eager to finish his hike as quickly as possible, needing to return to Wifi for a day of remote work.
The girls and I rest and settle in while Chris is out. I trudge back up this cobbled road
and past this beautiful, nearby entrance I’ll pass so many times in the days to come,
to buy some necessities in the little tiendas nearby. This morning I realize it’s hard to get an early start in Ecuador, if you’re relying on stores and shops to do so. I go home empty handed, returning up the same path at 9:00 a.m., when the shops are open. Letting go of old habits and routines isn’t easy, but I think I can get used to the slower pace I’m finding here.
I learn to get my fruit, vegetables and eggs from Luci, in her shop up the hill; my fresh empanadas and rolls from the better of two panaderias on the same block; and the other staples from this small store (pic above) bursting at the seams with goods, leaving only a small foot space to come in and find what I may need. Then I return “home”, through the gates, as I will each morning this week, to make breakfast. Doing the dishes in this small, metal sink, with this tub of Lava dish soap and sponge quickly become second nature.
The view out this window as I clean up helps.
Chris returns home in a time for a full day of work (we are 2 hours ahead of Colorado here), after his hand gets some cleaning and doctoring. The mistake on the loose rocks of Rucu Pichincha will not only make working at a keyboard more difficult, but will also cause some trouble with shoelaces and gloving up during his hike tomorrow and later in the week.
He gets to work as I head out, taking a $3.00 taxi ride to the Supermaxi. Going to a real supermarket feels like a betrayal of our goal to live as the locals do, but there are a few items I just can’t find up the street. I’m hoping to get some olive oil, butter, and healthy proteins, rather than the soy and margarine-types I’m finding in the tiendas.
In the afternoon the green lawn and resident golden retrievers (Luna and Sisa) provide plenty of entertainment for the girls, between homeschooling and frequent games of Uno. All I need is the balcony and a warm cup of tea in hand to feel comfortable and settled. And the days begin to blend, one into the other, as we make a temporary home, half a world away in this busy city.