I exceeded the month in Ecuador, and without visiting the coast. Too much time in Quito, I guess! But it was comfortable.
Maybe in some years Ecuador becomes similar to its neighbor of the south, but at the moment I was there, it was much more comfortable for the tourist.
Quito is a delinquency nest. The Galápagos are reserved for the wealthy tourist -when the selection of the visitors should ideally be driven by an exam on the visitor’s knowledge and interest on flora and fauna, et cetera-, and many sleepy towns don’t have any attraction for a visitor (just the local people, I guess).
However, Ecuador is very pleasant. Perhaps someday I will return. And then I will get to the coast…
Archive for category: Ecuador
It was time to leave the criminal Quito, where I had been for a month, tied by a combination of friendships and hopes. The latter were creative and romantic. It had been a while since I last packed, and the flu didn’t help: when I bent, my head seemed to be on the verge of exploding.
I said goodbye to some guests at the hostel Bambu, and I had to speak with the imbecile and arrogant owner. At least was a short chat.
I also bid Luis [ec] farewell. He was in his last week at that job. He resigned after a conflict with the owners: he got discovered …having english lessons! (in an working hour that he swapped with Juan). The owners’ attitude was absurd: an employee having english lessons was something that obviously implied benefits to the hostel. But it seemed that those stupid control freaks were irritated as nobody asked for their permission.
I stopped and haggled a taxi to Cumandá. Quito, yet as dangerous and uncomfortable as it was, had been the setting for a month of interesting experiences, some of them quite unorthodox.
At the terminal of Cumandá, I ignored all the voices and went directly -guided by randomness- to Pullman Carchi: a company that would transport me to Tulcán for $4.50.
It was 10:30 a.m. and I was the only passenger in the bus. Although I had the seat #5, I sat down at the end of the bus, to be able to look after my backpack (through the window, though).
We left the terminal, and the bus began to fill with passengers after stopping at some places in the city. I was sleepy, but the hostility of Quito didn’t allow me to sleep. I was waiting to get out of the city.
I had two seats for myself, so I was comfortable. I put my little backpack against the wall, with my leg covering it.
At the seat in front of me, “the Good”. Around thirty, with indigenous characteristics, and a ponytail.
“The Ugly” was changing seats all the time, something quite suspicious. He was also going to prove being bad and stupid. He was relatively fat, and was wearing a blue cap. He had a friend in the bus, “the Bad”.
“The Bad” was seating in the middle of the bus.
We were leaving Quito, at some suburbs.
“The Ugly” comes to me and asks:
– Where are you going? -in a terrible english.
I was really sick of getting asked directly in english, so I answered in spanish (my mother tongue):
– Mande? (Sorry?)
He changed back to spanish:
– Where are you going?
– To Tulcán.
– You must change seats, you must sit down in the first seats of the bus. There’s other people coming.
It smelled like shit, metaphorically. The person and his speech. He was not more than a passenger, and it was easy to detect dishonest intentions.
– Good. Officially, I have the #5. I will change whenever it is necessary. But now it’s not. -of course I had no intention to change my place in the bus.
“The Good”, who had been listening, took part:
– Take it easy, you don’t have to change. -heading back in order to talk to me.
– Yes. I’m cool. I am not going to change seats because other passenger says so. -I replied.
And I stayed there, my distrust to “the Ugly” growing. After some minutes (that “the Ugly” spent playing with his iPhone and looking for other possible victims) “the Good” stepped out of the bus. While the bus attendant was getting his luggage out, “the Ugly” and “the Bad” had time to get also out of the bus.
The bus advanced some meters. I had my window opened, so I could see the three of them on the street.
– Son of a bitch! Live your own life! – “the Bad” shouted, while punching “the Good”‘s face.
“The Ugly” took advantage of the situation, and kicked “the Good” in his crotch.
Obviously they were punishing him for its intervention in the bus, when the real reason of their failure as criminals was their extreme imbecility.
“The Good” was scared. He had two violent pricks in front, interposing between him and his luggage. The bus kept on slowly advancing, waiting for the attendant, that was watching the fight without taking any part on it.
I was looking through the opened window, very irritated and annoyed by the injustice and the shit surrounding the situation. Apparently, I couldn’t do anything, but I went mad -always from my safe position in the bus. I spitted on “the Ugly”, and I started shouting: “I seeee pain in the future”, “You will be damned!!”.
Obviously, I don’t believe in that shit… but with a strange accent, an aphonic voice, certain connotations of superiority, and some strange faces, I thought it could work with those stupid and aggresive thieves.
And I don’t know if it worked. But while the bus was advancing and I kept prophesying pain, “the Good” had time to get his bag.
I don’t feel very thankful to “the Good”: I wouldn’t have changed the seat. But it was painful to see how a person that somehow fights for the rights of the others becomes the victim of some bastards.
I think it’s obvious that “the Ugly” wanted me to change my place in order to grant “the Bad” the opportunity to steal me something.
One hour later, I was far from the delinquency that had surrounded me a whole month…
It was appealing to stay a little bit longer in Quito in order to see Iron Maiden live.
The show was worth it, in spite of the teargas, the relatively bad performance (Dickinson wasn’t at his best moment, like the rest of the band) and losing my appreciated mexican belt.
One of the interesting things was the hostility: though most of the audience was very calmed, the massive police presence and their arrogancy was annoying. And there’s always someone that gives them the excuse to be agressive.
I forgot to leave my Swiss knife in the hostel, so I had to hide it in my left shoe in order to get in. But I couldn’t predict that they were going to remove my belt (because it had tiny metal parts), and put it on a big pile of belts and other ‘dangerous’ stuff. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get it back, but I expected, at least, to get some other belt at the exit… something that didn’t happen. I felt some attachment to that belt, but makes no sense to have that kind of feelings with material things, even if it was my only belt for 12 years.
The support band was quite terrible. Not strictly in terms of technique, but the genre and predictibility of their music. Now I know that it was a band formed by the daughter of….
Iron Maiden were pretty good at the beginning… but I guess age does not help, and they started showing some signs of weariness in the middle of the concert. Even sometimes, some obvious mistakes (unthinkable in a band with that experience) were detectable.
The riot police kept on showing their arrogancy. The third time they threw teargas was the strongest one, and it was quite (physically and mentally) irritating.
When the show was over, we avoided the mass of people that was returning to the ‘trole’. That was a wise move, as it turned out that the trole wasn’t operating at that time.
We returned in a taxi, after some beers and asking politely to a lot of policeman where I could get back my belt (or any belt). Most of them were a bunch of arrogant pricks. But the last one was different: he gave me some directions, he told me where they sent the seized stuff. Maybe he was lying, as it’s common in Ecuador. But at least he wasn’t a stupid ass like most of his colleagues.
Tuna, ping-pong, carrots, where’s my paper?, durak (gyrak). Touristic exploration with Kate [us] and Krista [ca].
Vodka with Slava [U.K.] and Anna [us]. 10:10 was the hour to flee.
Depressive creativity with a guitar and a harmonica. Lyrics in Russian (Slava) and French (Charline [fr]), plus some death grunts. The ‘Cuenca’ guitar and the accident. Blame the french anarquist!
Jamming with the Minnesota Kid and his ‘eco/ecua-beats’. Laughable. A pseudopunk friday in Mariscal.
Patatus. Pool and the degeneration of my skills.
The bipolish disorder. Shithead.
Farewells and so. Those were tranquil days: Internet, laundry, picture processing, and updating fiction (or how to fulfill the promise of writing 4 pages of fiction a day).
Saturday. ‘The curse of chugchucara’: now I guess how come black mama is called that way. Tried it, and then it came: a night of progressive vomit.
Sunday offered me the chance to reconsider my erratic plans while getting prepared for Quito.
The altitude sickness wasn’t a problem, but we began to be weary. This was the last day oing the Quilotoa Loop, and we walked 23Kms. until Sigchos. It was fairly easy, compared with the previous days’ route. After trekking for around 5 hours, we reached Sigchos and got in the last bus to Latacunga by the skin of our teeth. In Latacunga, noodles with vegetables, some conversation, and rest.
That previous 3 days, in which we walked 60+ Kms., were filled up with interesting conversations and good vibrations.
There are approximately 14 Kms. from Quilotoa to Chugchilán. That route was much more beautiful and difficult than the one of the previous day. The proper path was undefined enough for making the trek like a graphic adventure. Luckily, Mr. Simon had a ‘walkthrough’: two printed sheets that said when to turn to the left, how to use the crowbar, and what to say to the gnome.
Thus, without hardly committing any mistakes in our way, and without any canine confrontation worth mentioning, we arrived at Chugchilán. Then, with a lot of hours to go and the rain as the soundtrack, we played a mix between ‘trumps’ and ‘la pocha’. Two scoring systems. Payment method: beers.
We got ready to make the Quilotoa Loop. Simon and Nicky had everything planned, and their plans involved a lot of walking (compared with what I was used to). We started getting a bus to Zumbahua, and then walking until Quilotoa, 14Kms. There we bargained along some hostels, but, in the end, a coin made the decision. That sparkled the irritation on Manuel [ec], the owner of ‘La chosita’ (the hostel we turned down). But we were following the market rules… and I gave him some ‘information’.
As we had some hours till dusk, we decided to go down to the ‘Laguna’. We didn’t intend to get back with a mule, as many tourists do…
We had bad luck with the rain: just after beginning our way back, it started pouring heavily. Rivers of mud, lack of breath and the wrong equipment made the return somewhat nightmarish. But everything finished well, and I even had time to give some antimaterialism speechs in Portuguese (quite handy in Ecuador, if anybody knows what I mean) to some children.
After one of the best showers in my life, we had dinner (that was included in the price we negotiated, $20/3) and shared some Pilseners.