Jim and I returned to Quito yesterday. So very strange; when we left Quito for Albuquerque, I felt like I was leaving home. Then when we left Albuquerque for Quito, I felt the same thing. I’ve always been a nest builder and perhaps I’m getting faster at it. It was an odd but cathartic experience living in my parents home for the past two weeks. I’d never done so without them with me. Time to adjust to many things without my parents.
It is sunny, warm and nearly cloudless this morning in Quito (but it is cloudy this afternoon) . A nice welcome home for us after the early cold weather and snow in Albuquerque. Upon return I seem to be more keenly aware of the luxuries of our current home. Luxury comes in many forms.
Our shower. Many people might not consider this particular shower a luxury.
There is only a trickle of water (there is no water pressure as it is gravety fed), the water is flash heated in the showerhead and if you touch the showerhead you get a nice buzz from the 30 amp, ungrounded circuit (upper right) sharing your bath. We have learnd how to make the trickle of water actually hot (just barely turn on the faucet) such that the evaporation does not win out and cool you more than the warm water. To have a shower and get a moment of warmth on the cloudy mornings (we have no heat except the sun) is a luxury.
A “refrigerator”. Our kitchen has no refrigerator. We do have privileges to use the refrigerator in the building owners apartment – just walk in and get your stuff – but it is a floor down and if they happen to be out, you are out of luck. Thus, we have managed to locate in a modern (by US standards) supermarket a nevera portátil – a.k.a. a styrofoam ice chest. Turns out, that is what all the signs call it as well – ice chest, but the locals told us they were nevera portátil ‘s which translates to portable refrigerator.
In any case, we now have one…. but buying ice seems to be impossible. We have solved that problem with an old trick we both learned from our frugal parents in childhood. Fill water bottles (or milk cartons in our youth) and freeze them in the building owners freezer. Violà ! We have a refrigerator in our kitchen! What a luxury.
Jim and I are coffee and tea snobs. Can’t help it. Latin America is the home of Nescafe and tea bags – not our preferences if at all possible. I had brought a tea infuser along and managed to find a very lovely tea shop with all the usual tea suspects I’d find in Santa Fe. Jim had the opposite problem. It is not hard to find ground coffee in the supermarket, but he had not brought his drip filter. French presses are pretty common but Jim *wanted* a drip filter. Mountaineering is big sport in Ecuador because of all the volcanoes and big mountains (the Andes). With a visit to the backpacking store we are able to find a collapsible drip filter. Perfect for travel and a great cup of coffee for Jim. Turns out luxury is easy to achieve.
Music. We have a little (in size) portable hard drive with much of our music on it. We brought that with us but only had our laptops for listening. Just not good enough; the sound quality sucked. Off to the big supermall (with all the premium stores of the fancy US malls) searching for a small set of speakers to plug into the laptop. Ah… Mozart while I type. We will have to ship a box home with our nesting material.
One of the things Jim and I wanted to accomplish with this trip – and our “retirement” – is to find a simpler life. It is so easy to become encumbered with all the items and baggage of our lives. Perhaps we are getting a tiny glimpse of some of the little things that make us happy.
If only we had a decent internet connection to make this post… Sitting on the balcony stealing an open, very low quality signal. A chore for this afternoon.