Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's big in Quito

- Polarfleece. Wool used to be big here (this is the land of the alpaca, after all) but now blankets, jackets, pullovers, and hats are almost all polarfleece.

- Theft. This week two different people tried and failed to rob us. Normally wearing your backpack on your front makes you look like a tourist, but here even locals do it to avoid cutpurses and pickpockets.

- Meat. I was expecting more bean-based dishes, but people eat chicken or beef at almost every meal.

- Pantyhose. Most women wear pants, since it's always in the 50s and 60s, but older indigenous women usually wear knee-length skirts with knee socks or pantyhose.

- Stretch velour. Younger indigenous women favor white blouses and ankle-length stretch velour skirts.

- Soup. Every lunch and dinner starts with soup.

- Shoeshines stands. I don't think this is because so many people want their shoes shined, but because it's a low-cost business to operate for people who don't have better options. Likewise people selling candy or oranges on the street.

- Disney Princesses. Vendors who sell reading material on the street invariably have a couple of princess-themed coloring books. Disney On Ice is coming to Quito next month, and my five-year-old host sister is very psyched.

- Blackberries. Blackberry is the favorite flavor for juice and ice cream here, though it tastes different than blackberry at home.

- Nuns. Way more nuns here than in Boston. Or maybe Boston nuns are just less likely to wear habits.

- Breastfeeding in public.

What's not big here:

- Bicycles. For a city with bad traffic and a ton of pedestrians, I was surprised to see so few cyclists.

- Obesity.

- Traffic laws. Buses do at least honk their horns to indicate they're about to run a red light.

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