Sunday, February 5, 2012

Life at Casa Quinde - Day 1


Front porch, Casa Quinde

Over Casa Quinde's back wall


Neighbors

Delicious Ecuadorian fruit!

We have a housekeeper, Venancia, who comes three hours a day. She makes $3 an hour and is putting her son Jonathan through the university at Ibarra, a city about an hour north of her via the Pan American highway. She lays the fires in the sala (living room) and bedroom; there's no central heating here, so we need the warmth at night when the temps drop from the mid 60s to the low 50s. She made up our bed; Art is allergic to feathers so Venancia replaced the down comforters with a polyester one in a cotton duvet and covered it over with a heavy wool bedspread. She cooks if we want that. Last night we had chicken from the grill, brussels sprouts picked from the garden at Hacienda Cusin (the hotel/lodge on whose property we are located) and sauteed with garlic in olive oil, and a salad from the same garden. Hacienda Cusin has the wi-fi I need, so I'll be taking the five-minute stroll to their library every couple of days to post what I've written.

I learned how to clean vegetables by soaking them in water with a capful of Vitalin, a disinfectant for fruits and vegetables. As I watched her, Venancia asked me how I clean vegetables at home; I told her the water is clean from the tap and she looked surprised. I already know how to brush my teeth using water from a bottle, but it's harder to remember here since everything we've seen so far has looked clean.

We went to bed at 7:30 the first night (Ecuador is in the same time zone as the East Coast of the US) and slept for 13 hours! And after breakfast I went back to bed for a two-hour nap. Catching up, I guess. Plus, at 8500-foot elevation, my body has some work to do in the next few days getting me ready to live here.

What I've learned:

1. How to run a fancy washing machine with all Spanish instructions.

2. That I remember how to use a clothesline. I hung the laundry on lines strung between enormous fuschia plants. There is a dryer at the hotel, and I can use it if the door is unlocked. Not sure about the hours of operation, since Elena, the woman I met there while exploring, used words not yet in my Spanish vocabulary. Apparently Venancia has a key and will take the clothes to the dryer if it's raining, but I'm not yet accustomed to being royalty, so I feel odd having someone else do that work for me.

3. That I need a more robust Spanish-English dictionary than the one I brought. It doesn't have the word "visitor" or "guest", which is how I want to introduce myself. I'll look for a dictionary when we're out and about, or I'll write down a list of words I want to know and look them up on an online translator when I'm using the wi-fi.



15 comments:

Terra said...

I love the view from your hacienda. Stunning view of the mountains.

Ms Sparrow said...

How nice you have the woman to help you with settling in and learning how to cope with all the differences.
I love your pictures!

MerCyn said...

Sounds like a wonderful place and looks beautiful. Travel is exhausting and I think as we get older it takes longer to get our energy back. But we have the advantage of time!

Perpetua said...

What glorious views, Linda. It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful time and be very comfortable.

Retired English Teacher said...

I love your little casa. I truly would love to be there. You will make memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy having the help. It will free up time to explore and learn language.

DJan said...

The place reminds me of Puerto Rico, where I lived long ago. The vegetation and the hacienda, at least. The altitude, not so much. It sounds absolutely wonderful! I am envious, but glad you are sharing it with me. :-)

Teresa Evangeline said...

It's beautiful, what a cool casa, and your very own housekeeper/cook. Enjoy!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

What a wonderful place to spend a bit of your life! Enjoy!

Olga said...

Charming place. You are blessed to have this experience.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh my, you have gone to paradise. Lovely view, an amaxing housekeeper who pampers you and access to WiFi. What is not to love. Real life might be hard to come back to.

Bob Lowry said...

A bit different from Arizona! Your ability to smoothly adapt to such a different environment is amazing. The views are stunning.

8500 ft elevation is quite high. If you haven't already you will experience headaches and a lack of energy until your body adapts to a much lower oxygen level.

Have a great time and blog away!

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely stay with a unique spainish flair.It sounds and looks so nice.

Linda Reeder said...

What a beautiful place! And how nice to have help, especially as you get rested and acclimated.
REmind me, how long will you be staying there?

Barb said...

So, Linda, you're now in a tropical Paradise! The landscape looks lush and your meal sounds delicious. Rest and enjoy - hope your back is better, and you can do some hiking.

Linda Myers said...

We leave on February 22. A bit more than two weeks left.