Yesterday, Thursday, June 14th, our group had an incredible opportunity to have dinner with a group of American University Masters students who are also studying in Ecuador. Their program consists of a three week set of classes, followed by a five week internship, over the course of which they can practice their Spanish and gain invaluable work experience.
Our trip up part of the mountain to get to our arranged meeting spot was quite an adventure! After taking an incorrect turn, we were forced to take one of Quito’s treacherous side streets. Luckily, our bus driver was in top form tonight, and we all survived with inches to spare. A little confusion met our arrival at the place where we were to eat. Not only had we thought that we would be eating at a nice restaurant, we also thought that we must be lost, because we didn’t see any places that could be what we were looking for. Suddenly, a gate in front of us opened, and we were allowed into a beautiful courtyard.
It seems that us students had misunderstood what we had been told. We were getting dinner, but it was going to be at the house of a lovely German expatriate couple. The place was truly incredible, with well-kept gardens, incredibly beautiful architecture, and a stunning view of a huge portion of Quito’s valley. Surrounded, as we were, by the shroud of night, the city lay below us like a galaxy might appear in the clear night sky. Sparkling lights, great whites, yellows, and the occasional blue or red from flashing signs in various parts of the city blended together for a veritable sky-scape laid out at our feet.
After we hurried inside out of the cold, high altitude air our group of Global Scholars cordially introduced ourselves to the fine folk of AU's Master’s program here in Quito. After introductions were made, we all began to mingle, eventually being served a delicious warm drink called Canelazo.It tasted somewhat similar to apple cider, but wasn't made with apples, and contained a delicious serving of cinnamon. As far as I'm aware, there was no one that disliked the beverage.
It was a fantastically relaxing evening. In a program with relatively little time just to sit and talk outside of a classroom setting, this little trip up the side of the mountain was a wonderfully potent nectar, that probably helped everyone to relax a little bit. Not to mention, the conversation with the graduate students was fantastic.
And then dinner was served! Hot tamales, served with an optional Ecuadorian hot sauce was the main course, and we all dug into the deliciously prepared dish.
All in all, it was a good night. Now we have the Galapagos to look forward to, and everything that comes with it, most particularly packing.