Today we wandered Quito’s Historical District. I loved the architecture, palm trees, and ladies in their traditional hats, shawls and skirts, and Elise oohed and ahhed over the dogs, cats and even pigeons. We bought a bracelet from a young couple trying to raise money to take their kitten to the vet, and then looked at the indigenous art on display in the catacombs of Plaza de San Francisco. Elise was on a mission to find a tiny lama to add to her traveling toy collection, and tirelessly darted in and out of shops. She ended up deciding on a minature nativity set that included a leopard, guinea pig, Baby Jesus on a banana leaf, and an incongruently topless Mary, sold by a friendly Grandma who was having her hair dyed while she tended her shop.
Although Elise was upbeat and carefree, I was very nervous about theft and getting separated from Elise, burdened by my unfamiliar pack/camera case/money wallet, frustrated by my new phone, and jet lagged and out-of-breath given Quito’s high altitude. It was confusing because it was completely unlike my experience traveling through Greece with Elise last summer and I wondered if I had embarked upon something too challenging. I even had a moment or two of wanting to crawl back to my friend My-Linh’s place in Berlin and curl up in a ball. Alas, it would take a little while to find my travel mojo again.