, , ,

Can you see Hotel Andino down there?

“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”     -J. Krishnamurti

Quito Ecuador – This past week Miguel, owner of Hotel Andino, sent an email to warn me to expect ‘something different’ for my one-night stay.   When I arrived, Miguel explained that they were full with an out-of-town group of business people, but there was one option.  He seemed hesitant, and I said that I loved surprises –“… Show me the space!”

We went into the main part of the house, and I wondered where in the world an extra room could be, and then we stepped toward a petite door located beneath the staircase.    Like a child, I grinned and waited for Miguel to open the door.

Three small steps led to an itty-bitty room!

I started laughing.  “I love it!  May I fill it with wild and crazy colors?”  

Loving the mysterious histories of old buildings, I wondered what this room’s original purpose could have been.  Beneath the chain-pulled light bulb was a tiny little buzzer switch.  I placed my bag on the bed and explored the tiny area.

Miguel explained that the room was used in ’emergencies’ when one more person needed a place to sleep.

The sliding window is now divided with a privacy panel, which separates the entrance from the bathroom.

I was tempted but did not press the little button! I DID enjoy checking the light switch to confirm that it worked. When is the last time you used a chain-pulled switch?

On the far side of the bed are little cabinets. Curious as I was, I did not move the bed to inspect the what was inside. Perhaps Atahualpa’s famous treasures are hidden there?

“…The Yin and Yang simply represents the natural dualities in our world–e.g. black and white, hot and cold, low and high, dark and light, male and female, poor and rich, living and dead, hate and love.  The two cannot live without each other…”  from Embellished Minds 

In polar-opposite contrast, like pulling that light switch, I put my things away and left the hotel for the purpose of my trip – to visit a sick friend who lived a stone’s throw from the hotel.   Several minutes later I reached his 7th-floor door after taking the steps.

Hotel Andino

“You took the steps?” he asked with a bit of disbelief.  “Why didn’t you take the elevator?”

With heart beating in my throat and threatening to blast through my skull, I replied, “I usually take the steps for my health, but I forgot about the altitude.”

Taking seven flights of steps is not the wisest choice after going from sea level to  9,350 feet!

I quickly forgot about the altitude, as the penthouse offered a polar opposite of the itty bitty closet that awaited back at the hotel!

After swapping stories and enjoying the serene setting of my friend’s penthouse, I returned to the hotel, enjoyed an early dinner with the owners and their precious daughters, and then retreated to the ‘Ittty-Bitty Emergency Room.’   With a plan of filling that little wall with color, I settled in, unpacked paints, brushes, containers for water and for mixing paints.  Looking at a photo on the computer, I drew the rough image with baby-blue chalk.

Ready – set – go!

About 7 PM –

Around 8:45 PM

About 11:45 PM

Stopping around midnight, I wondered if a past occupant of the room might walk through my dreams.  If he or she happened to inspect the painting during the night, I slept through the visit!

Subtle morning light gave the painting a different mood, but one final step remained…

After breakfast, I asked young Gabby, if she would walk with me to retrieve something from a nearby store.   We picked up the special-requested item,  walked to a  ferreteria- hardware store and purchased one other item, and returned to the hotel.

It was  time to show them the surprise; Gabby and her mother all but gasped when they saw the new painting!

They helped unwrap the ‘jewels’ for the painting and then in teamwork spirit, helped glue them in place.

“Creating is the yin to the yang of our consumption and the doorway to beauty that we all want to walk through. Creating is how I tell the world I love it.” –  Kevin Hearne


Creating impromptu art offers one way of connecting with others in unexpected ways; there were so many facets to this overnight trip to Quito.  Gabby, who speaks excellent English, helped me practice pronouncing certain words, like ‘Ferreteria and Biblioteca,’ and I explained over dinner that ‘Sopa’ is Soup.   Their next question was about the word, “Soap,”  which sounds a lot like the Spanish word for Soup.

In one 24-hour period, expecting only a place to stay and a few visits with friends, I slipped between the yin and yang of beautiful harmony.

Hotel Andino – Shhhh! The next time you walk down a staircase, remember: someone might be sleeping below in an Itty-bitty room! Look carefully: The door to the Itty-bitty room can be seen in the mirror !

Thanks, as always, for your amazing support!