I am living abroad on my own terms. It is one week that I have been living this life I have been idealizing for years now.
A few days after arriving here in Ecuador I met Carolina for lunch. She and one of her friends picked me up from my hostel and the three of us drove into the old city.
We drove through the narrow roads passing colonial architecture and dodging pedestrians. This continued for a while as we drove in circles in search of the area’s one parking garage.
One time during the stop and go traffic Carolina jumped out of the front seat and switched with her friend.
I wanted to visit the old town to wander but I saw enough from my window that I don’t even know if there is anything left to explore.
Just a few blocks from the garage the frustration increased and we turned into the bus only lane for a moment. But in that moment the police stopped the car and wrote us a ticket for $60. Just like in America, the more tickets you receive the more points taken away, until one’s driving license is suspended.
We walked down one of the area’s beautiful pedestrian only walkways into a restored colonial theater turned restaurant.
I ordered trout, which like most meals came with salad, rice, and a fried plantain. It wasn’t the best lunch but the restaurant’s atmosphere made up for it. We walked a few stores down for a quick cappuccino because just an hour before Carolina’s new job told her to come in for her first day of work.
We drove back down the narrow streets and back into the new area of the city to Carolina’s job, which happens to be very close to where I stay.
Speaking of which, after three nights of limited sleep and a poor atmosphere I walked a few blocks to a new hostel, Centro del Mundo. The hostel is known for its party atmosphere because of the 12 liters of free rum and coke they offer Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It’s also dirt cheap here even for hostel standards. For the past 4 days I have been living in a private room the size of a small walk-in closet. The price? Just US$6 per night. The real queen size bed (not just a flimsy mattress) makes up for the 1970’s paint job and rubber floor you would find in a water park’s changing room. It’s a dump for sure but for now I like it. I moved into my room on Wednesday.