Monday, April 16, 2012

Why I Love Cotacachi

I was just sending an email to a friend of mine when I realized one of the big reasons I love it so much here, in addition to the weather of course (notwithstanding my whine about the rain).

I adore the pace of life.  Sure, there are people in a hurry but not many that I've seen.  Even the taxi drivers are quiet and laid back.

The cashiers in the department/grocery store have time to pass a few words with each of the people in line, even me with my near total lack of Spanish.  When I was in there a couple of weeks ago, in search of the proper container to use for soaking my wrist, I found what looked like the perfect one and had one of the employees get it down from the top shelf for me.  As I wandered around the store some more, I found one that was even better.  Not only would it be good for soaking my swollen wrist but it would be a lovely storage box when I didn't need it for that purpose anymore.  The very same employee was more than happy to put the first container back up on its high shelf.  I know, that's happened to me in the States as well, but it doesn't just happen some of the time here.  I happens all the time--at least all the time in the five whole weeks I've been here.

When I first got here I assumed the honking horns on the street meant that drivers were impatient and "yelling" at someone via their horn.  Now that I've been here longer I realize that what they're primarily doing is letting other drivers and pedestrians know that they're moving through the intersection.  That's for the ones that don't have a stop sign or perhaps have a building right out to the street that might obstruct a clear view of cross-street traffic.  Occasionally a car will remind the vehicle double parked right in front of it that there is someone who needs to get past.  This is the same single tap of the horn as happens at the corners.  There's no road rage that I've seen, just a kind of "vehicle conversation" that happens.

I've never seen or heard an adult scream at a child or discipline them in public.  The children who come streaming down the streets when school is let out are courteous and friendly.  I've never seen any behavior that could be interpreted as bullying or even angry at one another.  A dozen of them will crowd into the ice cream store at the corner of my street and the owner, rather than shooing some of them out or looking nervous, smiles and welcomes them and starts getting the cones ready for them.  There's no pushing or shoving, none of the children seem at all concerned about whether they're served first or last--it's fun to watch.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the States.  I know these things happened to me there as well but there wasn't the consistency of it that I see here.  Of course along with that attitude is the one that says, "If I'm busy with someone else or don't get to you right away, I expect you to be fine with that."  I'm fine with that.

Well, I think I'm going to ponder whether or not to trust the distance of the clouds long enough to go have my weekly lunch at an English-speaking restaurant--by that I mean that it's regularly frequented by English speakers.  Even though I'm learning bits and pieces of Spanish every day, it's still nice to hear English on a semi-regular basis.

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