Life in Quito

It occurs to me that with all my ramblings about my life here, I haven’t said one word about the lovely city of Quito. I’m not sure which bright spark decided to build a capital city in a valley surrounded by volcanoes, but it’s beautiful. I love walking out of Ruth’s house in the morning and seeing the […]


Salsa, salsa, salsa

“Who here has their boyfriend?” Silence. “Who here has their girlfriend?” More silence. “Excellent,” beams Edi, our short and slightly rotund middle-aged dance teacher, who is atonishingly fluid of the hip. “In my classes we make romance. Sometimes we make marriage.” Fat chance Edi, fat chance. The warm up for his salsa class was not […]


All men are bastards

I am today recovering from one of the most excruciating dinner table conversations I’ve ever endured. The nine of us (seven volunteers plus Monika and her son) went out for dinner to a lovely Ecuadorian restaurant. I was seated near the end, next to Pippa, beside Monika and opposite Pa-ool (his name really should be […]


27 buttocks

There was a scary first day of school feel about this morning. We left at 8am, after collecting the sandwiches Maria had prepared and walked to school in time for lessons at 8.30. The tuition is all one-on-one which is great because it meant my teacher, Maribel, could start with the idiot stuff for me. […]


Monika has willies

Flying early in the morning is strange and, frankly, it messes with my carefully constructed routine for international travel. I always arrive early. I check in and I seethe my way through the palava that is security. Once that horror has passed, I recover quietly in WHSmith. I buy a Daily Telegraph (because it always […]


The teddies win

Death row was looking particularly tragic today. They stared at me with their black little eyes and eerily fierce expressions. I tried to look disdainful but probably ended up on the wrong side of indecisive. “What’s the matter?” my mother said, walking into the middle of the stand off. The matter? I think. The matter? […]