Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Which Bess, Emily, and Sarah Have an Adventure in Atacames

It began benignly enough. Three young women who just wanted to see a little of the Ecuadorian countryside, sample some ceviche, maybe dance with a Latino or two en la playa. What happened next would haunt them forever.

(Before you panic, let me preface by saying that everyone in this story is totally fine. At least physically.)

They left on a Friday for a leisurely bus ride through the jungle with the promise of drinks and camaraderie. With blind enthusiasm, they bought three tickets to a fabled town called Atacames. Eight dollars to the beach, what could be better? They waited eagerly at the bus station, and when the driver called for them to board, they were first in line, armed with a bottle of water, three apples, and a magazine between them. This was the first mistake. The bus left at noon, and the women were hardly out of Quito when it dawned on them that they had not eaten lunch.

"It'll be fine," said Sarah. "Surely we'll have to stop for gas along the way. We'll get something then."

It should be said that none of the three was accustomed to going hungry, but excited as they were, they were willing to wait for a few hours. They chatted amiably about former travels and the upcoming film they were all waiting to see, and passed the time in the enjoyable novelty of a new country. They admired the mountainous scenery and the quaint architecture. All in all, it was lovely. By the time they were outside of Quito proper, however, things took a dramatic turn for the worse. Sylvester Stallone joined the party, shouting through the bus in poorly dubbed Spanish, firing machine guns and other ballistics at will for no discernible reason. He continued to do this for seven hours, thanks to the bus driver's apparent addiction to his films. The girls were stunned. They had no idea Stallone had been so prolific, and now there was no way out. Two Rambo's in, they still had not stopped for lunch, and things were becoming alarming. The jungle was beautiful, but the tour bus hurtling around hairpin mountain curves was not, nor was the half hour detour onto a dirt "road" through a tiny village after the real road had been closed off by the police. The trip that was supposed to take five or six hours now stretched into the night, and Bess secretly feared she might never get off the bus. Rocky came on, and all three girls fantasized about cheese steaks in an attempt to sate their ever-growing hunger. This did not work, and they turned their thoughts to the night's accommodation, of which there was none. What had earlier seemed fun and three-sheets-to-the-wind now seemed a poor decision.

To be continued...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It Lives!!!

After a very lengthy hiatus, I'm back on the blogosphere, this time reporting from Quito, Ecuador. I've only been here about 8 hours and as I spent 6 of them sleeping, I don't have much by way of commentary yet. But here are a few fun facts about Ecuador:

- Ecuador is in South America. Don't worry, I didn't know that either until I signed up for the class that took me here.

- Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was the first city to gain World Heritage Site status back in 1978.

- Despite the name and its location right on top of the equator, Ecuador, or at least Quito, is quite cool. Right now it's 57 degrees F, so I'm actually slightly chilly.

- The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador!

I'll definitely be reporting more as I learn more, so stay tuned!