Written 1996


First Impressions
 6/18/96 Ethan Adelman

      On the plane down to Quito my mind was racing with questions. What exactly is a web journalist? What would I see in Ecuador? Was Sam still alive?
      Sam had left a day before me and I hoped that he had made it to our new home safely. However, my imagination convinced me that he was lost, kidnapped or rotting in a Quito jail. My imagination also reminded me of the movie Alive about a rugby team who crashed in the Andes and were forced to eat each other to survive. The plane dropped and shook as we flew over the mountains in darkness. The woman sitting next to me prayed, tightly shut her eyes and shivered the entire flight. Finally , Quito appeared from behind the mountains and looked like a river of lights.

After landing, I was picked up and brought to our new home where I found Sam safe in the hands of Dona Fabiola. The next morning Sam woke me up and opened the shades of my room to reveal red tile rooftops and a huge green mountain in the distance. It finally sunk in that I wasn't in New Jersey anymore.
Day Two
     On our second day in Quito Sam and I went to visit the colonial heart of Quito. Along with whitewashed houses and colonial churches, the cobblestone streets are filled with a bustling market. If you have a bad sense of direction and a good sense of adventure like Sam and I, you can get lost in minutes.
    We turned off of a main road and into an alleyway filled with vendors selling anything from electronics to textiles. This alley continued around a corner and then down a flight of stairs where it suddenly got a lot darker and scarier. Within this subterranean market were more directions leading to more vendors. Sam and I just walked aimlessly until an alley way opened up into a courtyard filled with women selling fruits and grains. Three men came running past us with huge stereo boxes on their backs; strapped to their bodies by a sole leather rope wrapped around their foreheads. Children who couldn't have been older than five came up to us and tried to shine our shoes and sell us candy.
     After finding our way back to a main road an old woman shoved me into Sam as a younger man tried to grab Sam's wallet from his pocket. Sam pushed his hand away and we ducked out of the crowd and onto a bench. An old man named Rafael came up to us and told us to be careful.
    People streamed past us. At the end of the street old white houses dissipated as they climbed up the green mountains. Sam and I just sat quietly and took it all in.

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Written 1996