Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Right Now, Not So Ecuadorable

Even with stops in Atlanta and Miami, it's pretty painless to get to Quito. Of course, they have all the flights arrive at around nine at night, so that by the time you get through Immigration all the luggage is piled up in giant heaps of black bags on the floor. (I have so much stuff in my 'backpack' that I can hardly lift it, let alone carry it on my back. It's smaller than most Ecuadorian luggage.) But after a couple of minutes of freaking out that yours has been stolen, you finally find it.

The next morning it is amazing how quickly one adjusts to this foreign country. People are small and the pace is quiet. But it is also cloudy and rainy, not to mention an upcoming weekend, so my initial plan to go to Mindo, a cloud forest reserve, has to change. By three in the afternoon I am on a bus to Banos, and by six thirty I am there and hanging out with our friends Jim and Marshia who own a small hotel there.

And then by three in the afternoon the next day (Saturday) I am esconsed 3 km down the hill in my house rental for the next three weeks or so. It's got several rooms, a little porch, a little garden area, and, like every other house in Latin America, eight foot high walls surrounding it. Banos is, however, a no crime area.

My project is to put an allegorical gun to my head and, like in those old college days, force myself to write. And, like in those old college days, the first day I hemmed and hawed and did nothing, mainly because I still hadn't figured out how to approach the next part of my current project. But by Sunday afternoon I had decided to write a history of my drive to Panama 8 years ago. That stuff is easy, and I had quickly done 1700 words.

Unfortunately, part of renting a house is putting food inside it so that one doesn't have to go 6 km back and forth to restaurants three times a day. And it turns out that the only supermarket in Banos (population 14,000) has been closed for a week. Something about a messy divorce. So everyone had said that I should go up the hill to the Sunday market, which I did. And there I bought many fruits and vegetables.

But I also had tasted a plum that an indigenous lady had wanted me to taste.

So by the dawn of Monday I wasn't feeling too good. And then as the day progressed it got worse. By three am Tuesday my bowels, and everything else, had been evacuated. I thus lay in bed for 24 hours.

Around two this afternoon I finally forced some clothes on, walked out to the corner, and got a cab into town, where the nice Farmacia lady sold me a big pile of pills. I barely had enough energy to down the first ones, buy some Ecuadorian gatorade, and take a cab back to the house.

By five I had enough energy to help this little bird that keeps hopping into the house to find his way out again. By six I could read a NY Times article. Now it is eight and I am blogging.

Although my stomach still is gurgling.

And it's been cloudy and cold pretty much nonstop. Which is kind of weird, since Banos is only at 5500 feet, it's, uh, on the Equator, and the Amazon is only two hours down the road from here. At certain points, though, I've had to have on thermal underwear, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt, and been under two heavy blankets.

But the theory is that I'M ON THE FRIGGIN' EQUATOR, so that the Scottish Highland weather won't last...

(Oh, and writing blogs does not contribute to my daily authoring quota.)


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