My first week in Ecuador

I am settled in Quito, Ecuador finally. The city is pretty incredible. I have never seen vistas like this in my life. I have an apartment in Guapulo, which is a neighborhood known for its foreigners and bohemian sensibilities, so being a little of both I feel as though I am fitting in well. I have some photos of the apartment at http://picasaweb.google.com/joshuaferris

I am not sure what to tell everyone. I am safe and sound, the altitude affected me very little though it was quite noticeable when I first landed. I do not have high speed internet yet, though I believe the internet guy is coming today at 11 to install it. My spanish is incredibly bad, but I have some limited comprehension like time and location.

I am very excited about the coming elections for the new Assembly to review the constitution on September 30. There are so many candidates it is hard for me to follow to understand exactly what is going on. I almost made it to a forum hosted by Ruptura 25 (http://www.ruptura25.org/), which is the main Socialist coalition, but alas I got held up doing apartment type things.

As many of you know Michele’s school is hosting me, so I have been able to sit in a lot of orientation meetings concerning Ecuador. The most incredible, and I cannot say this enough, and fascinating lecture was given by the “special agent” from the US embassy about security. Mind you, he gives us this presentation with Ecuadorians in the room, but it starts out with “These people have no respect for law enforcement.” Then the rest of his analogies about security involve how he would shoot anybody who posed a threat, and though we may not have guns, we should be ready for drastic measures at a moments notice. He did end with telling us not to carry our passports because “that is exactly what Achmed wants, so he can go fly a couple more planes into buildings.” A beautiful reminder of home sweet home. He has been nicknamed Jack Bauer.

Quito is no more dangerous than Philadelphia in my opinion. From what I can tell, crime is almost exclusively burglary or pickpocketing. Rarely is it violent, so it is about being smart.

Well I must finish this entry up soon, so that I can start today’s mission of locating a french press in this town. People are not really into coffee here (horrifico!) so basic things like a french press are difficult to find.

Adios Amigos,

Josh

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