Well, today is an official holiday here in Quito, hence the luxury of blogging in the middle of the day. Last day of the fiestas de quito, meaning the end of my 4 day weekend. Boooo. I spent most of the last 3 days in bed watching dvds (i discovered the the bootleg dvds they sell down here, of which sara has a massive stash, seem to work in my computer, despite the supposed difference in region. which is very exciting.) and reading. Which was lovely and relaxing, particularly after a long day on friday. Long in the best way, but still, I can only handle so much social excitement before I shut down and go into hermit mode.
For lack of anything else to post about, here's the story of Rebecca's Busy Friday:
I don't teach any english classes on fridays, so my only work commitment was cenit. At which we had a big party to celebrate quito and an awesome volunteer who was leaving. Good times... lots of sugar and junk food, and the lots of dancing to the traditional songs of quito... cute pictures forthcoming. Then we got back to cenit early enough that we beat the other volunteers and I got to hoard one of the precious 2 internetted computers for a long time and blog and download to my heart's content. then, since there was no lunch at cenit, I got to indulge in a vegetarian almuerzo on my way back north.
There's a nice vegetarian restaurant just two blocks from my house, but one of the most wonderful luxuries for me is to stop off in the Old Town and walk past the FIVE, count em, FIVE vegetarian restaurants within a 3 block radius, inspect each of their daily lunch menus, and actually DECIDE which one I want to eat. And then get a 2 course meal and juice plus desert for 2 dollars. Mmmmm.
With a very satisfied belly I then set off on my next task, to pick up expensive coffee and chocolate for christmas presents, at which place i got a free TO DIE FOR hot chocolate. Then, with my bag smelling like heaven, off to claim my first PAYCHECK! And then, even better, CASH my paycheck! Not the most sizable since I didn't have that many hours this first month, and I've already blown most of it on rent and groceries, but fortunately the novelty of actually MAKING money in a foreign land compensates nicely.
Normally on a friday night it would be pajama time for me already, but on this night I headed straight out for my personal highlight of the fiesta de quito season... the all-city choral concert! I probably would have checked it out anyway, since it's free, but I had a more specific agenda. After weeks of phone tag I finally got in touch with the director of a choir here, who welcomed me heartily to sing in his choir and also to attend this festival, which it turned out he actually organized, to talk with him in person. So there I was at 7 pm in the theater of the Universidad Central, after picking my way through a campus full of hoards of students deeply engaged in spirited drinking and bonfire burnings, to get an introduction the quito choral scene. And what an introduction it was... since this was the final night, all the choirs participating (more than 20!!) showed up the sing one song each. Fortunately they had Oscar-caliber turnover time, with each choir on and off as quickly as possible, while some woman read really deep comments about music like "Music is what makes the heart beat" etc. Not that I minded the turnover... it's been so long that I have been to/in a choral concert (a whole year i think! that's not allowed.) that I appreciated every second of the familiar logistics of shuffling on/off stage, getting a pitch from the director, adjusting the awful outfits, etc. The choirs ranged from painfully inexperieced children's choirs to high school choirs, to an endless parade of college choirs, to professional adult choirs. With some random additions such as the professional 5 voice a cappella group who put on a real show. A few of them were good enough and smart enough to sing fun, rousing songs, that they were rewarded with calls of "Otra!!" from the crowd. Including the choir from what appeared to be a special music high school, who stole a page from Sister Act II and sang a modern and gospelly version of Gloria. (And whose tenor soloist gave Matthias a run for his money and instantly stole my heart.) Anyway, I managed to catch up with my buddy and future choir director, Eugenio Auz, and confirm that I get to show up for choir starting next Monday. Exciting!! His choir was the only one that performed a gospelly hymn in english, which is also exciting.
So, having indulged in wholesome entertainment it was time to switch to something else entirely. One of the beloved english teachers left, and the whole experiment gang met up for tapas in the mariscal. All you can eat and drink for $10. They had some crazy live salsa going on, and we had a good view of all the chivas going by. Of course, to drink $10 worth of wine in ecuador takes a while, and the gang was determined to do it and it was 1 am by the time we left. By which time I had consumed enough wine myself that it sounded like a fun idea to go out dancing somewhere else. So I very surreally proceeded to have a typical night out in the mariscal with all the gringos and the tiny children to try and steal from drunken tourist in the wee hours of the morning. And it was surprisingly fun. Everything was packed due to the holiday weekend and they had good music going on. I mostly hung out with Becky, who has an Ecuadorian boyfriend and is solidly uninterested in dancing with sketchy guys. We were on the front lines of a a scandalous office romance moment, at which point we decided we had definitely gotten our cover's worth out of the evening, and that it was time to call it a night and pass on the gossip.
And arriving home at 3:30 am free from any taxi scandals, thus ended my long day.
The end. Clearly that was enough excitement to last me for a long time, and I had no interest in going to the bull fight AGAIN today with Sara and Bill. The beautiful weather has finally broken, and the rainy overcast days yesterday and today matched nicely with my desire to veg out.
If you care, here are my weekend movie ratings:
New Charlie and the Cholocate Factory: thumbs down. Just the same story as the old one but weirder in an uncreative way. And I really did not dig the Willa Wonka as Michael Jackson direction. What a waste of Johnny Depp.
The Interpreter: Thumbs up. Surprisingly engrossing plot and hey, it's nicole kidman! Why don't you take off those glasses...
OK, I've killed enough time rambling. And I even have to prepare for my classes tomorrow. Ick! Looking forward to those Christmas holidays...