September 20, 2005

notes from the wild blue yonder

Ecuador- first guidebook assignment

1. I}ve fallen into the tropical fishbowl. that is to say, what we do in N. America, and even chile, is not often noticed. We are transient and anonymous citicizens. Here, I am a museum exhibit. It takes some adjustment.

2. The keystrokes are not at the same place, making contractions difficult. I{ve not been able to correct this.

3. I can{t recommend climbing to the highest churchtower, a gothic pinnacle, in flipflopsbut it was a tremendous and terrifying experience. I had a view of everything'--the narrow 40 km valley with pastel houses jenga stacked, falling in the crevices. Quito is textured and hilly and sometimes downright filthy. Sunday is a respite from traffic, when all the families go arm in arm for a 25 cent dot of ice cream on a cone. Nuns still dress like penguins.

4. There are no shortcuts. I met with my co-writer tonight and there seems to be very little I can do to ease my burden or anxiety. I{ve decided: I am leaving the day after next. It doesn{t matter where. My cowriter says he can check 30 places a day! The past two days I{ve managed 6. I am destined to run around like a chicken with my head half-lobbed.

5. I also met my supposed nemesis--the Rough Guide writer, who happened to be in the same place at the same time as me. I was very polite (he was brit, so he sounded polite, even if he didn{t mean it). I even asked him to autograph my RG copy, next time we cross paths (which is sure to be constantly=what are the chances??)

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