Tuesday, January 13, 2009

La Oruga

By Katharine

One Sunday in Quito, a giant green caterpillar appeared at our door. The caterpillar was 50 feet long! Instead of legs it had wheels and lights, it was a bus. It had boxes full of seats, every two boxes were connected with a trailer hitch. Each caterpillar segment was covered with a metal umbrella. In front of the caterpillar was a smiling face, it looked as if he put too much lipstick on. The caterpillar was short in height and played music.

We begged our mom to get on even though it looked babyish. After a while she said yes, and we climbed in. We might have misunderstood the driver because we think he said that the caterpillar would only go around the block and come back in 10 minutes. But nooo, he actually said we would have to wait 10 minutes until it started.

After 10 minutes of waiting we started. First the caterpillar swerved down the street. When the front went to one side of the block, the back would go to the other side! Unfortunately, we were in the back, it was really scary. All the cars had to get out of our way. Some cars even had to be halfway on the sidewalk. When we rode to a certain spot where there were no cars, the driver started spinning in circles, one loop after another. The head of the caterpillar was almost touching the tail. After 10 circles he started swerving again. Close to the end of the ride a guy tried to jump on and was hanging on to the back until he let go. Finally, the caterpillar stopped back in front of our house. I felt sick later.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rambling down Rocafuerte

By Graham and Katharine, with an assist from los padres.

When we arrived in Quito, Ecuador, at midnight, we could not see anything. When we woke up the next morning, it was sunny but cold. We went walking down Rocafuerte, our street, and what did we see?

Avocados galore, one behind every door.
Baskets of berries, stacked in narrow doorways.
Colonial Quito, with its cobbled streets.
Dense morning fog rolling off the mountains.
Early-bird children, in gray and blue uniforms, heading to school.
Fish frying in blackened pots.
Gold glittering in colonial churches.
Heavy bags on the backs of tiny women.
Indigenous women in brown felt hats.
Jugos de maracuya, mango, anana, zanahoria, naranjillo, manzana, mixed any way you want.
Kitchens on the sidewalks, with steaming pots of locro, sopa, humitas, and chifles.
Long braided hair on women and girls.
Munecas with rainbow-colored skirts and beautiful shawls.
Nuts, roasted in silver pans with sugar and salt.
Old women with bundled babies on their backs.
Platanos, fried and delicious.
Quinoa, a grain shaped like small beads eaten here for thousands of years.
Rotating chickens in restaurants.
Sopas and locros, served at every meal, usually with chicken, noodles, potatoes, and corn.
Tostados, crunchy corn kernels sold as a snack.
Umbrellas for the daily showers.
Volcanos as far as the eye can see.
Washing hanging on the lines.
X-crossings for pedestrians, striped like a zebra.
Yemas (egg yolks), yellow and rich, added to potato llapingachos.
Zanahorias, as big as Mom's feet.

That's what we saw on our first day, walking down Rocafuerte Street.

Our house.

The view down Rocafuerte.

Fruit & vegetable store.

Roasted pork with llapingachos.

Have Empanadas, Will Dance

By Eric (visiting cousin)

My trip to Buenos Aires was fantastic, and I can’t thank my aunt and uncle enough for having me. One thing that was interesting to me was how popular dancing the tango is. There are famous tango restaurants where you can have dinner and a dancing show. There are people tangoing in the streets to make some money. I thought it was very cool to see people tangoing while we walked through the market. I saw one man dancing with a dummy. He had comedy in his act; he would stop people if they tried to walk past him and block them from passing by--all while he was dancing. One group of tango dancers had two people playing the Spanish guitar for them to dance to. I liked them the best because their style was very relaxed and it looked like they were going with the flow. You can see this in the video below.

Pockets of Pleasure
Empanadas are great. I fell in love with the first one I had. Why can’t they be a common thing in the U.S? I may have started with one that was too high class because I got my first one at a luxury hotel before I went to a regular restaurant. But regardless they are great. If you take a trip to Buenos Aires then an empanada is a must-have snack. They can be filled with things like cheese, beef, and chicken.