[ Quito, Ecuador ]
Tomorrow marks two weeks here in Quito, where I’ve been a busy boy.
Since arriving on Valentine’s Day I’ve worked 10-14 hour days in front of my computer. No exaggeration. Most of that is for the book project I’ll share with you in the next day or two. I’m super excited about it. The concept is to create a series of short travel zines. Each zine represents a single adventure taken from the Travelogues section of my website, beginning with Mongoliad (2015). It’s looking great, but since this is the first in the series, and a template for subsequent issues, it’s an absolutely insane amount of work. Hence the hours.
Adventure-wise, I have decided on my next big ride, the 858-mile Trans-Ecuador Mountain Bike Route (TEMBR). There are two versions–a pornographically difficult singletrack version, and a merely obscene dirt-road version. I’m opting for the merely obscene as my introduction to high-altitude Ecuador (the coast and the Amazon must wait). My decision to relocate is already paying dividends, as I can leave most of my belongings in Quito–traveling with minimal gear and even taking a mid-ride break, returning here to rest a few days.
¡Que conveniente! This is EXACTLY why I wanted a semi-permanent base of operations.
Another time-consuming effort currently underway: establishing myself as a local photographer, able to earn money and supplement my adventure costs. I have reached out to the Quito expat community via some FB groups, spread the word with a few local business owners, and have already scheduled weekly on-site portrait sessions at a couple of cafes (remember the “More Espresso, Less Depresso” sign?). And finally, I’m wandering the tourist areas trying to sell spontaneous street portraits. With all these irons in the fire, something will work out…I just need time and persistence.
The only bad news? Dental mayhem. Again. No fun. Since late December I’ve been having occasional toothaches, which graduated–on the day of my flight from Guatemala City–to extreme hot/cold sensitivity. Lots ‘o pain. Last Friday I found a dentist and had a consultation and cleaning. She sent me to get x-rays, and today we had the follow-up. I need two root canals immediately, and two more relatively soon. And one additional extraction (which I’ve known since Oaxaca).
That’s probably TMI. Sorry for that, but you might as well see how the sausage is made, right? The upshot is that even with super “low” Ecuadorian prices, I’m scrounging hard for supplementary income. If you know any closet transglobalistas, please encourage them to join us here. Every $2 contributor is a big help, psychologically as well as financially. But you knew that already.
And I think that’s about it.
Hope you all had a great Monday. Think of me on Wednesday when I’m getting a double root canal, m’k? M’k!
Hasta la proxima,
Three more items.
- My website of 2016 has been broken for ages in a few small ways and, recently, one big way (thanks to Facebook). I fixed ALL of it this weekend. That’s a HUGE weight off of my shoulders.
- My Patreon page had not been updated since Africa. It was still worded as a request for support of that trip. Even though I’ve still got a bicycle and gear on that continent, I clearly needed to update the information. It was a pain in the backside, but it is done. Another HUGE weight off of my shoulders.
- Probably the coolest thing about Quito so far? Every Sunday here is Bicycle Sunday: they shut down a huge part of Centro Historico and other areas to vehicular traffic (except metro buses). It turns out Quito is cycle-crazy. I took Fargo out for a short 21km ride and never, not once, had to share the road with cars. That’s incredible. There is a neighborhood full of one bike shop after the other (along Parque El Ejido), and I even saw another fat bike on the road (out of thousands): I’m still one of the very rare cool kids, but it’s nice to see other fatties out there!
- There’s more, but I’m going to shut up and post now. Ciao!