It’s 2:26pm and I’m still in my pajamas. Dinner out with friends last night, ate something sketchy, many trips to toilet subsequent. Was planning to fast tonight, from 6pm to 6pm tomorrow. Decided just to start early, counting from 9pm last night. There’s a little girl, lives down the hall from us. Never knew much of her story, but today the ambulance came for her Mom who has stage 4 cancer. The Mom who adopted her, the one with the cancer, is living here with the girl’s biological mom and they are all staying for two months. They cook a lot in their apartment, and we usually smell garlicky-butter goodness as we pass their door coming back from our roundabouts downtown. Other people living here are more mysterious. One couple lived for a while in the apartment next door. He played the flute everyday outside his front door; his wife approached me one day, having forgotten where she lived, saying she had to return a sweater to me. But it was her husbands. She had my name right, which was odd, as it wasn’t the same as her husbands. The sweater was her husband’s though. The architects from France all moved out, when the money dried up for the tram construction. The money is back now, but they haven’t returned.

The tram work is now right outside our window. They work unpredictable hours. Sometimes at 3 in the morning. A lot of manual labor. One day, after a heavy rain, a worker was bailing water out of a deep trench with a can the size of a drinking glass. Took him several hours.

Guayaquil is a dangerous place, we keep hearing. We have become recently acquainted with a couple living there. They are Japanese, have a young son and live in a gated community. But the wife is fearful. She heard from a teacher, a neighbor, that two children were found last week dead, their eyes and organs removed. They suspect gangs. I searched the online newspapers, in Spanish, but she was right, nothing was reported. Just the high profile case about the two girls from Argentina. We have no plans to visit, either Guayaquil or Quito except maybe the airports.

Each night I’ve been going out to the central park, two blocks from here to sit on a bench and smoke a single cigarette. After years of smoking, quiting, switching to vapes, stopping, smoking only on vacation, etc. I decided that for now, I enjoy smoking, but my body is less resilient than it once was, so I limit it to one a day. Five days of the week. Go through about a pack a month. On the bench I watch people. Some are friendly, we greet each other. One guy I walk past on the way, usually standing outside his restaurant, has started to holler “Hola familia!” I replied “Trabajando duro!” last night, which is like “working hard!” But he’s really not. But he kind of is, standing out there all the time…

A lot of making out goes on in the park. Young couples without privacy at home, with no car. Some break dancing over under the pavilion. Many nights the pavilion is taken over by the police band, who come to practice. I’m pretty sure. But they get scattered applause after each set, even with several wonky notes. Occasionally the big red tourista bus pulls up, double decker, open seating on the top, a smattering of people disembarking. Sometimes I can see the moon in the Andean skies which are usually overcast at night.

Miko’s operation for removing her cataracts went seamlessly. We had both done at once. I guess that’s not the usual procedure, but they accommodated our request on the fly (we thought we were having both done, they had assumed we were doing one then another a week later, as is the norm.) She’s enjoying her new vision, unfettered by glasses and contacts. Her eyes are still converging for distance sight, we have an appointment in a couple of weeks when it should be stabilized but so far she’s happy with the results.

Spanish classes, intermediate now, are in full swing again. And other than accidentally calling the teacher a monkey, our progress continues.

Yesterday(?) was the Spring equinox and Miko made an interesting observation that here it’s always equinox. The sun rises and sets the same time everyday on the equator with very little variation. Which gave me that kind of “aha!” moment. And I started thinking about cycles and how they influence life and perhaps escape from the problematic ones depend on where our vantage points lie. And some recent experiments that seem to shift my linear perceptions a bit into more spatial ones when I move my “awareness-from” down to my heart or below my belly button… and then my philosophy circuits switched back offline…

I’ve been experimenting with new types of fruit and posting the logs on facebook, so I won’t repeat it here. Wasn’t sure I was going to publish this or not, but it’s been a while…