Well things got busy, and predictably, I didn’t keep up my journal as planned. Here’s a summary:
Friday evening, March 5
We had a wonderful party at the home of District Governor-elect Leonardo Gallardia. Delicious food and sweets, a dance exhibition by some descendants of slaves who got shipwrecked on the shore many years ago. Some of the survivors stayed on the shore and formed a colony there, and the others headed into the mountains, settled there and developed a different culture. The dance program was a combination of the two cultures that developed.
Saturday, March 6
Today is the President-elect Training Seminar (PETS) for District 4400, and since none of us were PEs, we passed it up for a day of work. I spent the morning preparing a presentation for a March 20 session back in San Diego on the new Future Vision Global Grants program. There’s a lot of new material, and it will be an interesting session.
We headed back to the meeting at noon for the presentation of an Ambassadorial Scholar and lunch. Waiting for lunch we had another discussion of the Global Grant program, and I was asked to taking a shot at editing an existing proposal, and that was my activity until almost dinner time. I think it is going to be OK.
We had an excellent dinner at a second-story restaurant off a main city square. Before the dinner, we had a another working session on Global Grants, and a number of issues were resolved. At dinner, we were treated to some excellent opera singing by three excellent singers.
Sunday, March 7
All our work has been done, and it’s time for a day sightseeing before going home. Manuel Nieto and his wife, and another couple, were wonderful hosts on a walking tour of Old Quito. The cathedrals were wonderful, including one with an interior almost completely covered in real gold leaf. Unfortunately, there was a mass in progress so I couldn’t take a picture. But other churches had plenty of gold.
It was a Sunday, and in almost every square there was some kind of entertainment, from rock bands, to traditional Andean music groups, and shops of every kind. We had a delicious at a nearby restaurant and headed for “Mitad del Mundo” (The Middle of the Word). It’s a tourist center dominated by a huge monument with a folk museum inside and a globe on top, and is reputedly right on the equator. I did a little checking, and according to Wikipediea, “The exact specification of the equator is, in fact, somewhat variable and dependent on the chosen mathematical datum.” We then visted the “Intiñan Solar Museum”, which claims to be on the actual equator, but who knows?
At the folk museum, I won a certificate for balancing an egg on the head of a nail, and we witnessed a few other hokey “equator” demonstrations. But it was a good time.
It was now time for a light supper. I had been hearing about “Cuy” for days, which is supposed to be very special Ecuadorian delicacy. What is, is roasted guinea pig. I’m game for most anything, so I said I was ready to try it. Well here it is:
Although it was edible, I can’t say it was best dish I have ever tasted, once I figure how to attack it. My hosts seemed to really enjoy it. It must be an acquired taste.
My trip was coming to a close. I would head for home the next morning. That evening I had supper in town with Juan Prinz and his wife. Juan is working on one of the Global Grants we had been discussing. It’s called Community Schools and you can find it at http://www.matchinggrants.org/global/project3.html.
All and all, it was a good we for Rotary and for me.