So I guess my access to Internet here wasn´t going to be as limited as I thought. The last two days I´ve been coming early to the University, where there´s a whole classroom of computers that we are free to use. This morning, I got up, went for my first run here (which went reasonably well, considering I´m still recovering from my cold), showered, then made another fried egg to go with the grilled cheese sandwich my mom had prepared for me. That and my usual two cups of coffee (I´ve gotten the whole instant coffee business down…even though the quality of the coffee isn´t great, I´ve got the ratios of water and sugar and milk down to a T), and thus concludes my breakfast routine. Xavier and Fede missed their bus this morning, so they left with my mom shortly after I returned from my run, but most mornings they all leave before I wake up. And then Angie is usually still sleeping when I get up, so I essentially have the house to myself in the mornings.
Today was the first day that I didn´t see the sun first thing in the morning, so I packed some layers along with my snacks for school, and headed north on the Calle Guayas, stopping to add credit to my cell phone here and buy some sheets of paper for my exam today and my essay for Monday. Turned right on the Calle Remigio Crespo, crossed the complicated intersection, and continued down the Avenida Loja to the University. I wish I had better descriptive skills, and that I had a way to upload some of my photos of this beautiful city; I love the walk to school! Now I´m sitting in the computer lab, while one of the ten o´clock conversation classes carries on at the desks to my left.
Yesterday was another pretty decent day. Our conversation class was frustrating again…our teacher is so kind, and with good intentions, but she pretty much talks the whole hour, hardly giving us any time to practice our Spanish, which is what this class is for anyway. I´m not looking forward to class in 25 minutes…
After our brief break, we had our usual UBC class from 12:30 to 2:30, finishing our last presentation on our text, Ecuador: señas particulares. After that we headed across the Rio Tomebamba again and visited the Museum of Modern Art, where a provocative collection by a cuencana artist was on display. Her pieces were in a unique style, resembling that of Andy Warhol, with a mixture of mediums, including cloth and photos and other photoshop-derived techniques. Her pieces were definitely unique and eye-catching, but personally it´s not my favorite style of artwork.
I got back home in the late afternoon, at which point I went with Angie and Federico to pick up Xavier and Maria Gracia from their ¨bici-cross¨practice. It´s the first time I´ve watched that sport in person, where you ride bikes on a course with tons of hills and turns and stuff…it was crazy to see all these little kids doing it, whereas I´d definitely be too scared to attempt it.
When we got back, I did something resembling studying for my final today, but there wasn´t much I could do…how does one prepare for an in-class essay? The way I see it, either I know how to write a successful essay in Spanish by now, or I don´t… we´ll see how it goes.
This weekend, the only thing I absolutely have to get done is my final essay, so I have a lot of free time to explore in and around Cuenca. I´m hoping to visit the thermal baths, Cajas National Park, and Inga Pirca, a site some two hours away with an impressive set of Incan ruins. I´m hoping to make that work. We´ll see. Monday is our last day of classes, and then we have a farewell dinner and then we´re off to Montañita on Tuesday! The plan is 90% figured out…we´re hoping to get a private bus for our group of about twelve that´ll take us directly from Cuenca to Montañita on the coast, because Guayaquil, the city we´d have to pass through, has a bad reputation for being dangerous and all that so we´d rather avoid taking public transit and having to change buses in Guayaquil. We´ll stay together in a hostal for five nights, and at some point my friend Raquel and I want to go on day trips to Guayaquil and Puerto Lopez, another more tranquil beachy area to the north. I´m so stoked for this next phase of my Ecuadorean journey!