Sunday, September 23, 2007

When should you visit?

Many folks have asked us when the best time to visit is. Well, anytime is great, and even if we are busy working, you are welcome to our house! The weather here is great year round, with the dry season in the mountains lasting from June to September and in December for some reason? The wettest month is April. The temps stay the same year round, "eternal spring."

I've also included our school calendar, including our days off. We're not sure what we are doing this summer yet...

Andrew Clinkingbeard and our favorite bartender from Hapa Sushi, Rick, are joining us in December. We'll be climbing with Andrew at the beginning of December, he and Rick will be creating all sorts of mayhem during the middle of the month when we return to work, and then we'll be either climbing more or sufing to welcome Christmas 2007. Anyone else want to join us?






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Now playing: The Gourds - Gin And Juice
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Fer Tuesday

Ahh, Tuesday nights. So often, they are the scene of the highly regarded "two-fer" phenomenon. For those not versed in this, it's when, on a slow night, proprietors of bars offer up their wares at rock bottom prices in exchange for some foot traffic through the doors. I've often been a fan of "two-fer" specials, and was glad to see that Ecuador is not without it's own "two-fer" night.
Last night we feasted on some tasty two-fer-one burgers, and micro brews at the local British Pub...Turtles Head. Though it was a far cry from any kind of two-fer special, I did also indulge in a rare sighting of 7 dollar 10 year old Bushmills. What the hell, you only get a shot at that stuff every once in a while here.
After dinner we went to a club, where, our friends heard that a movie they filmed a while back was being shown every once in a while. Sure enough, the owner had been showing it, and it had been getting some good reviews from patrons. In fact, he put it on that night, though not till 11:30. 5:30 AM came fast and furious....check it out, our teacher friends Bennet and Brett turning Quito into their own freestyle running track:

Quito Soul on youtube...

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Now playing: Flogging Molly - Laura
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soup

Today I ordered lunch at school. My soup had a chicken foot in it, claw and all. No pictures necessary.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Photo Journal: Fiesta De Guapalo






Yes, it is Fiesta time. Our local neighborhood hosted their throw-down this past week, and yes, this Fiesta has coincided with the first week of school. But hey, what can you do? The Fiesta basically involves bands, fireworks, statues of virgins, and lots and lots and lots of booze.

The Fiesta started with a run of unknown length up out of the Valley of Guapalo, through the streets of Quito, and back down. It was supposed to start at 8PM, I didn't start running until 9:45, and after an obscene amount of elevation gain-loss-gain, a beer aid-station, a kiss from my wife, and a good deal of late night car dodging, I arrived at the finish line around 10:45. I didn't finish anywhere near first, but the race was only 2 bucks, and I got to keep my cloth race-bib. A healthy start to an unhealthy weekend...


Friday night was spent on our front stoop, the entrance to our housing complex. Our stoop is just down from most of the bars in town, and was the center of action. No, you are correct, there is no open container law here. The beer we are all drinking is Pilsener, the national beer of Ecuador. Because there is no recycling here, we bought a case of 12 bottles, and now just get them refilled for something like .80 cents at the shop across the street from us. Convenient, huh!

Saturday night was the climax of this little party. The residents of our community began with a costume party and fire on our neighbors deck, and eventually progressed down to the mayhem in the bottom of the valley.



In the valley we found the locals carting huge firework laden bamboo structures into the middle of the crowd, and lighting them on fire. Apparently this is some kind of competition, but I just cannot describe how ridiculous this is. I think the CanaLazo, a local hot alcoholic cider drink has erased any sense of danger from the participants. But then again, even I couldn't resist taking a run in the circle-pit that was stewing around the flaming bamboo towers of death. Here's an action shot from the "pit"


I got out of the Latin American circle pit just in time, when the top of this sucker went off, fireworks starting cartwheeling into the audience with abandon. I took this video while ducking and holding the camera up in the air.

video


But even with this finale, it became clear that someone was going to one-up them, no quicker had the flaming embers dried in peoples hair, than the locals trucked out this monstrosity. I looked at Erin and said, "I think we should take a few steps back."


Once the locals lashed this contraption together, they started spinning this thing around, and then lit it. As the fire moved up the bamboo, various fireworks would go off, sending amazing amounts of colored missiles into the audience. On the opposite side, alter doors flung open to display a pyro-technic religious offering, the orange wheels spun, missles were shot out of the canisters on the top, and a huge flaming eagle was perched flapping his burning wings. I've never been to a better fireworks show, period.

video

We went to bed at 4 AM last night, and took a rest day today. We did go up for the tossing of the oranges, something similar to Mardi Gras, except the people in balconies were whacking the people on the streets with oranges instead of flashing them. I have to admit, with the orange parade, at least you get to go home with something. And I now must finish this entry because tomorrow is a school day, though I can hear that the Fiesta continues outside our window, unabated....

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Now playing: Youngblood Brass Band - New Blood
via FoxyTunes

House

No, not the TV show (though I did just buy the entire third season for the nice bootleg price of 10 dollars). But, I'm talking about our House, here in Quito. Shall I extend the invitation to come and stay here again? Three beds folks, three! Anyway, we had several requests for some pictures of the house. As I'm writing, the fiesta of Guapalo continues outside the window, I'll post some truly ridiculous pictures and words about that soon. Remember, if you click on the slideshow you'll get more control over speed etc.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Photos from our first week

It's been a long couple of weeks here in Quito, these pictures are probably testament to that. If it's scrolling too fast, you can move your mouse over the picture and pause/go forward manually. Clicking on a picture will take you to a larger version, in case you want to see our friend Graham's drunk face in even more detail:)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Skype

With our new internet connection, comes use of Skype, an online telephony software program. We can call you over our computer for 2 cents a minute, which is to say, cheap. Even better, if you have a computer with a microphone, or a webcam and mike, we can talk for free, even video-chat for free, though with some of our friends, the video confrences may be an ugly proposition:) So, we would love to stay in touch, and if you can:

  • Email us your phone number, we sold our cell phones, so we don´t have any numbers anymore!
  • henkelst@gmail.com or erinhenkels@gmail.com
  • Go to www.skype.com and register, it's free, and really quite easy.

Then, if you get a webcam, maybe one night you can meet our neighbor, and teacher friend, Lysha...he's, ummm, funny.