The "this is what I'm going to do when I'm home" top 10
The “this is what I’m going to do when I’m back home” – top 10
1. Coming home after dark. Tranquilamente.
Certainly number one on my list: oh, how great is the Dutch safety! No need to worry when you take the last bus home alone, no need to protect your bag with your body in the public transport, and just helping that lost person wandering the streets, “of course!”, to find an address. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, what a luxury that is!
2. Having cereal bread with “hagelslag”, vegetables and desert. With coffee.
One of the things I won’t miss at all, is the Ecuadorian diet. Although there are more bakeries here than pharmacies (and that’s a lot!), cereal bread’s more ... than hot water in the shower. There’s cheese, meat or Nutella, but Dutch people know nothing compares to “hagelslag”!
Only the very top of the Ecuadorian food pyramid has a tiny bit of green: the vitamine-containing part of a typical plate is one leaf of lettuce and two slices of tomato, if not one. There’s no “vla” (dutch desert, like yoghurt but then sweeter :D), and the yoghurt has the consistence and the amount of sugar of Yoghi drink.
And the coffee? Ah... coffee! I can’t stand any “Nescafé original” anymore!
3. I want to ride my biiiicycle!
Dutch people who’ve lived in Quito for fifteen months, realize a few cycling related things better than before: cycling is fun, cycling is practical and cycling is healthy... but only if two conditions are met: a safety that guarantees a survival rate of more than 50% and no (hellingen) that are even too steep to walk.
So I guess I’ll wait until I’m back home again.
4. Going to a doctor tomorrow and being attended to in less than four hours.
If you want a doctor’s appointment, you usually have to wait for two to four weeks. If you go directly to the emergency department (?) of a hospital, you’d have to be obviously half dead to be attended to “soon”, or wait the whole day (and sometimes night) to see a doctor, since everyone who’s half dead goes first.
If you turn up at nine in the morning for your appointment though, it meay well be that the doctor leaves for lunch after four hours, saying “he’ll be back in an hour”. Sometimes he’s back in an hour.
Celebrating Saint Nicholas
There’s no word for “gezellig” in any other language than Dutch (it’s used for a nice and cozy ambiance) And also the celebration of Saint Nicholas, which is the ultimate “gezellig” reference for me, is not very well understood in other countries. Children who put their shoes in front of the chimney with a carrot in it at night (that’s for his horse ;D)? Self made cardboard surprises with ironical poems? A two hour report of the arrival of his boat on the national news channel? It’s all just as hard to explain as it is to describe “taai taai” and “pepernoten”.
And that’s not practical because the 5th of December is the only night a year that I’m homesick.
6. Drinking water from the tap.
Although the quality of tap water isn’t quite as bad as I expected (at least not in Quito), it’s better to drink only bottled water to limit the number of days you spend on the toilet with diarrea. It’ll be nice to have potable (?) water available everywhere when I’m back, but it’ll also be strange to shower and flush the toilet with it!
7. Enjoying the weather. Whatever kind of weather.
There are just two seasons here: summer and winter, wet and dry. The temperature’s about 18-20 C all year round. When it rains, it drops to about 13, and on a sunny day more likely 25. But no snow, falling leaves, first (crocussen), or having an icecream to celebrate that lovely summer day... and sometimes that’s a pity!
8. Doing cultural stuff.
You’d say that it wouldn’t be hard to find entertainment in Quito, the capital of Ecuador: it’s a huge city with more than two million inhabitants. But that’s half true: of course there’s some kind of entertainment. You can dance to reggaeton (aaargh!) all night long for example, wherever, whenever. And there’s a ladies night every week in the Mariscal (“Gringolandia” entertainment district). That means: women pay no entrance fee and can have free drinks from 8 to 10 pm, and then the “gates” open for the paying men who can’t wait to get in. But if you’re looking for something like bars and restaurants with live music, there are very few places to go.
9. Doing social stuff.
Ok, ok, it’s not only my guitar, real coffee and cereal bread that I miss sometimes... but also “gezellig” (;P) catching up with friends and family. And we have some catching up to do!
10. Making new plans...
That I can change again once I made them. As soon as I know when I’ll go where, to do what, you’ll know it too!