In the northern half of Quito, there is an area which maps call “The Mariscal,” but which locals and everybody else knows as “Gringolandia.”
Gringolandia is a three or four-block chunk of bars, fusion food restaurants, internet cafes, laundromats, hostels and Spanish schools. Beers cost about four times what they do two blocks in any direction, and lunch about eight times.
For the month of September, my Spanish school has placed me with a wonderful family whose apartment overlooks Plaza del Quinde, the heart of this mess. Mornings will be filled with Spanish classes, afternoons planning the next few months with UBECI, and evenings cooking, dancing, planning, and getting to know the rest of Team Ecuador (what´s that called, HOD folks? Storming or something?). In October, we hit the ground running.
One member of that team, Craig Smith, arrived last night. We´re busting out of the Mariscal shortly to get back to the valley.