Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Night Stroll in La Ronda

Last night we decided to head over to the Central Historico sector here in Quito and check out La Ronda.  I have read that Quito has the largest historical center in all of the Americas, but that never meant much to me until I had a chance to drive through it.

Blocks upon blocks of edificios historicos (historical buildings) unveiled before me as my "Compadre" Santiago drove up and down hill on cobblestone roads.  As soon as we entered this section of the city I truly felt we must have driven through a time warp.  The only modern day scars to this side of town's authenticity are the Trole and the stop lights.

We arrive and park in a parking garage, normally a modernized an unsightly structure in most cities.  But this one was somehow, someway integrated from an existing hollowed out old building, to blend in with the rest of history.  We cross under the cobblestone bridge and enter La Ronda.  Again, I was amazed by the authenticity of this near ancient passage.

Everything slowed down.  The people walking, the cars driving, even the smells of street cuisine being served on the corners seemed to slowly find their way into my nostrils.  I was getting hungry as of course I always am.  We let the kid run around and play while we simply digested our surroundings.  It felt comfortable, homely, and welcoming.  An exact opposite of the feeling you get walking through La Mariscal at night, which is the modern tourist trap and gringo landing destination here.  (We will talk more about that on another blog).

With all the smells of typical Ecuadorian cuisine cooking from the multitudes of restaurants, my stomach finally wrestled my brain, convincing me and my family in law to walk inside a cozy little spot to eat.  By cozy I mean that my head nearly touched the ceiling, and I am only 5 foot 8.  I would have taken pictures of the Seco De pollo and Empanadas I ate but I was too busy destroying them.  For any travelers who come I highly recommend Cafe Musica in La Ronda.  Since I devastated all the food before I could whip my camera out I snapped a picture of the menu. 

Cafe Musical Menu.  For some reason I could not rotate the picture sorry. 

After our meal and a few Pilsener's (one of the locally brewed cervezas), we took off and headed back towards the car.  It looked like the bars and live venues were just starting to wake up by the time we were leaving.  I am positive I will come back without the little one to see how this place kicks off la noche.

Off topic.  My Spanish is evolving faster than expected.  I am still looking for trabajo but I am learning fast that being "American" is not a get out of jail free card when it comes to finding decent work here.  you need to know the language to thrive here, PERIOD.  there is NO "Little USA", here in Quito, and you will probably get charged double and taken advantage of if you do not speak the language.  If you are going to come here and you don't know the language, travel with someone who does, or make arrangements to have a guide take you around.  If you are coming here to live make sure you know basic Spanish at a minimum.  There are a few Ecuadorians that speak English and will be happy to speak with you, but not many.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I am Mike and I recently decided to move to Quito Ecuador, to start a new life with my wife and my 3 year old son.  I started this blog to share this experience to those considering visiting or living in Ecuador.  I will post as often as I can in between the multitudes of "Mini Adventures" I will ultimately endure.  I will post the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful, without regard or favoritism towards any organization persuading you to move here, or any former tourist warning you to never set foot here.

First of all, Why did I decide to live in Ecuador?  There are many reasons I decided to take off from my Suburban Los Angeles OC Lifestyle and move to the developing world, but the main reason is to help my wife take care of my Father in Law, Gus, who is at the age where he needs our help.  My wife has a wonderful family that has welcomed me in their world like I am one of their own, and they have extended a red carpet to my son.  It is hard to describe the love but to a "cold hearted American" like me, it can almost seem overwhelming.  The first time I visited here in 2007, I had a hard time coming back to the hustle and bustle of the rat race I was living.

Dont get me wrong, Quito is a bustling metropolis!  It just seems to move at a pace that gives you time to absorb its endless blocks of political and artistic graffiti, abundance of "Comidas Tipicos"and wordly restaurants, and historical heritage that forges its identity. In fact today I had the opportunity to eat "Truchas" (a type of local trout) at Rincon Amazonicas.

the "Real" Rainforest Cafe - Rincon Amazonicas

  I can see why UNESCO named this city a World Heritage Site in 1978.  According to UNESCO, "the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America".  I snapped a picture of this plant on the terrace my son's God Father and God Mother's home in the Colonial Section of Quito.
Typical scene inside a home in Centro Historico

As soon as I make it to "Centro Historico"  I will be sure to snap as many photos as possible for you all as well.

Republica de Salvador Sector in Quito

As you can see from above, Quito also has all the makings of a modern "1st world" city, including city streets clogged with smog spewing cars, SUV's, and trucks.  You think America loves SUV's?  You should come here, it seems like everyone has one, even if they have no kids or passengers to tote in them.  It is hard to understand why, especially when they cost nearly DOUBLE what they would cost in the USA.  I have also spotted Porsches, BMV's, Mercedes, and a few Volkswagens.  The KIA Sportage must be the official car of Quito, because at least 1 in every 8 people here own one, or maybe two.  This city has 2,000,000 people but there must be at least 4,000,000 cars.

Anyhow, I went on a mini tangeant here regarding the city I chose to live in, mainly because a lot of my USA friends have asked me questions like "Are you going to live in the Jungle?", and "Do they have internet there?".  Oh, and I can't forget "Can you drink the water there?".  The answer is NO, YES, and NO, but bottled water is between a quarter in la tienda (the store) and available absolutely everywhere.  FYI there are a lot of places in the states where I would not advise drinking tap water.     

I will give credit to my USA friends for asking me one important question.  "What are you going to do for work there?".  I will be running my own online Travel Agency dedicated to Ecuador at, but while I am getting this set up (Thanks to John from I will need to find steady employment.  I have already been contacted by a Language School here to potentially teach English, but the initial pay is half of the USA Minimum wage so I don't know if that is the right fit for me.  Teaching English seems like the gateway drug for entering Ecuador for Americans and Europeans.

I will keep you all posted on my job search, my adventures, and things I think you should know if you decide to come here in future blogs.  Bookmark me and feel free to email me at  Thanks for reading!  I will leave you with a picture of this park I visited today about 45 minutes out of the city center in Amaguana.

Mike B.