The contrast between the old and new part
This picture shows the contrast between the old part of Quito and the new and modern in the distance.
The two parts of Quito is truly like two different worlds, especially when you see how people live in small huts under bridges and roads on the outskirts of the city. Then compare this to modern Quito, where people live in skyscrapers, with running hot water and nice furniture.
low petrol prices
Because Ecuador is an oil-producing nation, it sells its petrol at about half the price of the United States as of November, 2007. This is $1.48 per U.S. gallon, not per litre. Sergio can fill the tank of his Chevrolet Grand Vitara for round about $16.
In Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia they eat empanadas like Americans eat hot dogs. For those from Roxboro, an empanada consists of meat, gravy, a few vegetables, eggs, and, believe it or not, raisins (that's what makes them sweet). All that is baked into a flaky pastry. The only difference is, the savory variety of empanadas is called salteñas in Bolivia. Regardless of what you call it, I like it better than the Aussie pie or the American pot pie.
4 onions chopped
1/2 cup oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 lb ground beef
salt, oregano, pepper
1 bouillon cube
Fry onion in hot oil until cooked, lower the heat and add paprika and ground beef, when cooked add the rest of the spices, and the bouillon dissolved in 1/2 cup of water.Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat. When cool use to stuff the empanadas.
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 lb lard
1 cup milk
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, add melted lard and hot milk, mix little, mixing well, but not kneading. Let stand for 20 minutes and then roll it.
Cut in circles approximately 6" diameter, and put in each of them one tbsp stuffing, one olive, 2 or 3 raisins, one slice of hard boiled egg, moisten the edges and fold shaping them as triangles or rectangles, brush with egg white or milk, puncture in 2 or 3 spots.Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes at 375 F.
International Soccer/Football Games
If you happen to be in town when the Ecuadorean national selection plays, it is definitley worth going to a game. I went to a World Cup Qualifyin game agains Paraguay and it was awsome! The national team's games are played at the Olympic Stadium (located next to Quicentro on the corner of 6 de deciembre and Naciones Unidas).
The price ranges from $10-20, depending on when you buy the ticket. You can usually buy the ticket outside of the stadium starting a few days before the game (the closer to kick off, the cheaper, however, you may run the risk that they run out). Only buy from the designated people: fake tickets are common.
Get to the stadium early (2-3hr before kick off) if you want good seats as they are not numbered. Bring a boxed lunch and spend these hours learning the Ecudorian fans cheers! The most popular cheer goes like this:
VAMOS ECUADORIANOS, ESTA TARDE/NOCHE, TENEMOS QUE GANAR!" A boxed lunch, a rain poncho, sunscreen, a good mood!
Unlike many other Latin American countries, where the Evangelical movement is not only making huge headways, but also becoming a political and social force, in Ecuador the Catholic church is still a strong, popular and politically power institution. There are many, many examples of just how deeply the Catholic church is rooted in Ecuadorian society, one of which is the large presence of nuns and monks, a section of the church that is now almost inexistent in Spain, France and other traditionally Catholic states in Europe. The headquarters of the Catholic Radio station, right across from a huge Seminary, are another indication of the reach of this institution. This may be changing, however, as the government works to pass a new telecommunications law that would, in some ways, deprive media outside of government control of the freedom they once enjoyed.