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.