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August 2017

Frida Tacos

 

Frida tacos

Frida Tacos

- located at Andalucia 584 y Francisco Salazar in Quito.

Six of us from work met up for tacos and drinks on Wednesday night.  I volunteered to drive since I was the only one that had a vehicle.  Frida Tacos was the destination.  It's around 5 miles away from  the U.S. Embassy.  

Carta-frida

Here's more info on the restaurant.   I had the Tacos al Pastor, Campechano, and some Doggerlander craft beer.  Portions were small but tasty, that's why I bought a couple entrees. There is limited sitting so large groups may have to find space where available.  We placed three bar stool tables together for our group of 6.

 

 

 


Covered in mud and bird poo - My car arrives safely

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Rain storms came through this weekend, the first time since I arrived in Quito.  The storm clouds could be seen coming off the mountains to the east.  The cloudbursts were dramatic and amazing as I watched them roll in from the safety of my patio windows.  

As the subject line states, I was reunited with my truck on Wednesday.  I've adjusted to life without it, but it's great to have it back. Several people have offered to chauffeur me around, and I've also used cabs when needed.  But nothing can replace the freedom of getting to know the city while driving your own vehicle.  Lucia will get a nice change as well, since we can drive to distant parks instead of limiting our walks to the nearest one.

The FJ is well suited for the hilly driving in Quito. Many of the side streets have pavers vs. asphalt or concrete.  So the ride can be a little bumpy for a sedan or other low clearance vehicle.  However, there's plenty of economy sized vehicles traveling the city streets.  And the cost for imports is very high.  I've heard new vehicles can cost twice as much as you'd pay in the States or other countries, even higher if you're talking about high end luxury vehicles.

One of the first things I've had to get use to is parking in my residence's parking garage.  The height and turning radius inside the garage makes driving the FJ feel like I'm a gopher burrowing into its hole.  

Speaking of new things arriving-

Everyone told me that the speed of shipments have improved over the last few years.  Here's how my personal timeline shaped up for my vehicle (POV), unaccompanied air baggage (UAB), and household effects (HHE).  Everything was shipped from Virginia during the week of July 10.  Everything was staged in Miami, Florida for shipment to the coastal city Guayaquil, Ecuador.  From there it comes over land to the capital city.

Here's how long it took everything-

UAB - < 21 days

POV -  35 days

HHE - arrived in Guayaquil Aug-17, a week to 10 days for Customs clearance to Quito

I'm hopeful I'll see the HHE before the labor day weekend.  Fingers crossed.


¿Por qué mi café está frío?

"Why is my coffee cold?"

I pour a fresh cup of hot java, take a sip, then set it aside for a few minutes.  The next time I take a sip, there's a noticeable drop in the coffee temp.  I'm a fast coffee drinker normally, so I was at a loss until someone explained what was happening.  

At higher elevations, water starts to boil at lower temperatures.  This is due to the decrease in atmospheric pressure the higher you are in the world.  At sea level, water boils at 212°F.   But at 7500 ft, it boils at 198°F.   Water starts to boil for me at 195°F, since I'm a little higher at 9100 ft.  So with cooking you have to compensate for the lower boiling temp by increasing your cooking time and not the cooking temp.  You can't increase water's boiling temperature, unless you use a pressure cooker.  So if you try increase cooking temps, you'll just boil away water faster and dry out what's being cooked.  I noticed this cooking with chicken.  The meat dried out quickly and I should have covered the dish in the oven to retain the moisture.

So my high altitude coffee never gets as hot as it could if made at sea level, thus it will reaches room temperature faster than a sea-level coffee since it's coming down from it's boiling point of 195 vs sea level's 212.

Speaking of coffee, I'd like to end with a nice graphic from Coffee for Less.

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¿Como se llama?

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 Camino Antiquo a Nayon

This magnificent view overlooks the back of my neighborhood and the city valley below.  You can see the steep inclines leading up to the apartments.  While breathtaking to look at, it's also breathtaking to walk.  My endurance is slowly increasing as I get use to the high altitude that comes with living in Quito. (9350ft)  I'm getting use to the small hills around my building, but this climb usually requires a minute break just prior to reaching the peak.

One of the first phrases I've gotten use to asking is "¿Como se llama?", since I regularly run into dog walkers.  Lucia has already tallied up friends' names such as, Alberto, Luna, Fidel, Ella, Pepo, and Corky.  All them vary in breeds from German shepherds, Siberian huskies, basset hounds, golden retrievers, schnauzers, shih tzus, and Yorkshire terriers.  The dog park is now a daily stop in Lucia's routine.

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With all the dog walking at a higher elevation, my appetite hasn't quite caught up with the calories I need.  But I've gotten use to forced snacking through out the day and drinking more water to help me adjust.  Some of the popular supermarket chains in the city are SuperMaxi and MegaMaxi.  Since I'm still waiting for my car to arrive, I use a taxi for my weekly shopping.  The taxi rates are surprisingly cheap, usually costing $2 for a one way trip to the store.  A nice tip for the driver helps me get the bags to my apartment door.

Supermaxi

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A selection from this weekend's SuperMaxi trip

While it's nice eating familiar name brands (Snickers!), it comes with a higher cost due to obvious import fees.  Fortunately, I've always liked trying local products since it's cheaper and tastes (usually) just as good if not better.

I've been working on my Spanish more now that I'm here.  It definitely helps when you're trying to see more of the city and what it has to offer.  Everyone's been extremely patient and tend to help me as I practice.  I think I called my dad a potato once when I didn't accent papa (papá) correctly.  Sorry Dad, I'll just say padré next time..  

¡Hasta luego!