You know that you´re in Ecuador / Quito when... (part 1)
… every woman older than 40 says “mi hija” (my child) to you
… every man older than 40 says “tiene novio?” (do you have a boyfriend) to you
… every man younger than 40 says “tiene novio?” too.
… the baker says: “That´s twelve dollar cents”
… the biggest hits of the world appear on the radio exclusively as Spanish Gipsy-Kings versions.
… crossing the street without getting hit by a car requires about 70% of your brain capacity.
… that´s still the case when you cross at a pedestrian traffic light.
… that´s still the case when the pedestrian traffic light is green
… most of the times you don´t cross at a pedestrian traffic light, just like most other people don't. Let alone a green one.
… staying awake usually requires 30% of your brain capacity, but is now an automatic process due to the load of stimulants in the surroundings.
… you can use those 30% now for other useful things, like the risk analysis of other causes of death and injury than being ran over by car or bus.
… that way, there´s no brain capacity left for other, less important issues like respecting the rules and not annoying other people.
… that´s the same for everyone, so no one really has a problem with that.
… people in the streets can make a lot of noise about things they actually don´t really have a problem with.
… they do.
… nobody has a problem with that.
… you get your milk, coco juice from the street vendor and fruit juice with you take-away lunch in a plastic bag.
… every time you can´t find a cup or scissors, you ask yourself why they do that.
… the man in the lunch café says: “We also have light version. That is instead of rice more salad an more… fries.”
… cold macaroni with mayonnaise turns out to be “salad” too (?)
… you see that your bag of full-cream milk says it´s “light”.
… God is suddenly everywhere. Even in your bedroom and the bathroom.
… logic is suddenly nowhere anymore.
… you wonder if that has something to do with God.
… you decide it´s better not to ask your Ecuadorian friends about that (95% catholics).
… you eat the three courses of your lunch with a spoon, including the chicken with rice.
… you never stand in the public transport without holding on to something. Same for sitting down.
… you hardly ever sit down in public transport anyway.
… your personal space in the public transport is reduced to about 0 cm from your back, belly and legs, and 5 cm from your face and chest.
… your “staring stoically at nothing in particular”-skills in the public transport in those circumstances are soon at a comparable level to that of your Ecuadorian bus companions.
… your bag is intuitively promoted to an intimate body part in the public transport (and actually everywhere else too)
… your head´s still buzzing with honks, police whistles and “a-un-dollar-a-un-dollar-a-un-dollaaaar!” when you´re in bed at night.
… you fix your flash light above a six liter bottle of water because the power´s down. Mood lighting a la no other option.
… your consumption of bananas, plastic and sunscreen suddenly increases with about 300%.
… your coffee consumption suddenly decreases with about 300% due to exclusive availability of Nescafé original.
… due to exclusive availability of Nescafé original, you´d prefer they´d steal your phone or your camera and not your camping-(real!)-coffee maker (found nowhere here).
… you´d even prefer they´d steal your phone and your camera and not your coffee maker.
… you´d prefer they´d steal your phone and your camera and not your notebook with stories, lists and ideas, but you don´t know if you´d prefer they´d steal your notebook or your coffee maker.
… luckily the chances one steals your phone and/or your camera are much bigger anyway, anywhere and anytime.
… the criteria “efficient”, “according to the rules” and “how something looks degrade in your head to the category “totally not important”.
… you indicate distances in the city as the number of ecovia stops
… you indicate the exact point in time always with about an hour of standard deviation.
… you´re still regularly mistaken by about an hour with that strategy.
… you get a banana with your soup.
… you´re not sure which part of which bone of what animal floats among which vegetable creation in your soup bowl.
… you add as many popcorn and banana chips to it as possible, so the amount of particles with known origin is at least about acceptable.
… you´re thankful every day you´re digestive system functions normally.
… you desperately try to remember which of the seven words for banana is used for the one you mean.
… you ask the Ecuadorian who´s trying so hard, if he could please speak Spanish because you really can´t understand his English pronunciation.
… you say “hello” as “hola, qué tal?” while you actually don´t really want to know how that person is doing.
… you don´t get an answer and you don´t even notice.
… you also say “bye” by saying “hasta luego” (see you later) while you´re pretty sure you´ll never see that person again.
… that person says “hasta luego” to you too.
… you roll every bill bigger than five dollar between your fingers to check if it´s a real one, and you check if there´s any foreign coins in your change.
… only prostitutes and tourists wear shorts in the center.
… you recognize the new people in the capital by their paranoia and their brave attempts to hide it in an attitude that´s meant to be “cool”. Touching.
… you then realize you were one of those new people two years ago.
… you feel like you´re new in the city again the first three times you walk around after dark.
… you recognize new people by their lack of paranoia: how they get into a bus at rush hour with their backpacks on their back, or walk around in the center with their camera gently swaying over their belly.
… you recognize new people in the capital by their full super-light-weight mountaineer outfits in hip colors.
… you recognize new people in the capital by how they're gasping for breath in their hip outfits after every ten meters they walk uphill.
… the honk to the melody of “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” tells you that there´s a trolleybus coming. That´s actually one of the biggest unresolved Ecuadorian mysteries to me still.
… the question “what kinds of fresh juice do you have?” is answered by a list of twelve fruits, communicated way to quick to actually be able to take it in.
… half an hour after you sat down in the sun, you know exactly on which parts of your body you didn´t put sunscreen.
… thirty seconds after it started to rain, even your socks and underwear are wet.
… those two events happen both in one hour.