Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feliz Cumpleaños a mi

This was written 12 years ago back on March 15, 2010....

The computer monitor died while I was away so I haven't been able to post.


I went into Quito over the weekend for a few reasons: 1) to watch Duke basketball, 2) get a yellow fever vaccination for my upcoming trip to the Amazon, and 3) celebrate my 25th birthday.

1) There’s some sort of blackout on Duke games in Quito. On Friday night I got see Maryland play Georgia Tech and witnessed, with joy, enough Gary Williams exasperation to last me a season. But for the semifinal Saturday and final Sunday I was forced to watch Atlantic-10 garbage and hope for halftime highlights.

2) The Ministry of Health is closed on weekends so I had to extend my weekend through to Monday morning. But if it happens to be a weekday, the health care system here is amazingly efficient and cheap. I made it in and out in under 15 minutes and the cost?...a whopping zero dollars. They didn’t even charge an extranjero tax.

3) I had a really fun weekend and a great birthday. Somehow though my bank (Etrade grrr….) screwed up my last fund transfer and I ended up with essentially $20 for the weekend. Now Quito is a relatively cheap city, especially if you get away from the heart of Gringolandia, but my room alone was going to cost $12 per night. Luckily I had brought my driver’s license as proof of my quarter-century achievement which made asking favors of strangers and semi-strangers consistently successful. And since I had to stay through Monday anyway, I was able to put off paying for the room until cash came through.

Now usually I base my blog around pictures I happen to have taken, but really none apply to any of the above stories.

So here’s a massive slug one of the Canadians found when we were out hiking the other day.

Also, I’ll refer you back to my first post from Ecuador in which I expressed perplexity regarding the popularity of 3-on-3 white-collar volleyball in Quito parks. I recently found out the game is called “ecuavolley” and the players (and probably many of the spectators) wager hundreds or thousands of dollars on matches. We’re building a court at La Hesperia so we can practice and plan our great gringo ecuavolley hustle fundraising event.

I’ve got a lot of logistics planning to do in the next few days. Now that I have my vaccine I can go visit Tiputini (the most biodiverse place in the world). I’m trying to get my friend, ‘Pedro’ who’s coming into town, involved as well, but he doesn’t have much time and getting to and from the place can only be done on Mondays and Fridays and takes all day.

And then after that I have to leave the country for visa renewal purposes. I’m thinking a week in Peru, though there was a landslide in Macchu Pichu so it may be closed. Any votes for Columbia or elsewhere? For whatever reason there are no direct flights to Buenos Aires so getting to Argentina is a bit more expensive and time-consuming.

It wouldn’t be a post without a bird pic.

I finally got a good picture of a Pale-mandibled Araçari, a bird found only in Ecuador. It looks almost like a Muppet no?

1 comment:

Lo said...

Gosh you certainly are a thief eh? And yes, the bird looks like a muppet... must be the hand up its ass... you should get Dave to make you a belated birthday cake- I´ll send along the recipe :)