Tuesday in Quito
July 10, 2012
Last days have a funny way of sneaking up on you. 168 days ago, I quit my life. Just shy of 6 months. I have been in 5 countries, stopped in 36 places, taken 37 significant bus rides, swam in 2 oceans, walked 15 beaches, encounted an impressive number of amazing people, and had an immeasurable amount of fun. I can account for the passage of every day from when I arrived to now, and yet it still surprised me to look up and see it was time to go. For now.
Monday in Quito
July 9, 2012
Chupa cobra. Goat sucker. A legend to be feared, respected, and in awe of. Kept alive for many generations through the telling of his story. The ears of children in mountain and farming communities in Ecuador are among those that ring with the breath that gives him life. The savage beast has been described as an elongated bear cub’s body with long sharp claws, vampire fangs, and an affinity for extracting the blood out of farm animals with a taste for goat blood. An interesting entry on the guest list of the mythical creature’s family reunion. I wonder how he gets along with Bigfoot and if the unicorn is mistrusting of him…
Sunday in Quito
July 8, 2012
Hiked Pasochoa today. Not all 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) but close. Over a period of 8 hours. The views were worth the efforts, and so was the feeling of crawling over a sleeping giant that had last awoken 100 thousand years earlier. Eons before my father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father had been a twinkle in his father’s eye.
Saturday in Quito
July 7, 2012
What happens to the shoe that was originally stationed on the foot when “the shoe is on the other foot”? My theory is that it ends up cast out into the world destined to fade and collect smog stains on the side of a road. We have all seen solitary street shoes. Some embedded into the ground lining the shoulder of the road, some positioned as if the former inhabitant had left it behind in mid step not five minutes earlier. How do you just leave behind one shoe?
Friday in Quito
July 6, 2012
Today I stopped and looked at the ground, and this is what I saw:
The motivations of such an action, putting a leggo in wet cement, are mysterious to me. Yet I found myself inventing explanations as if I was interpreting some clue. As if the humble leggo was the key to unlock the door currently obscuring the view of an incredible truth. Was it there attesting to the random acts of play performed by children? Or was it done pre-meditatively by some fully developed street art genius? Or perhaps it was a mark for a specific spot. We mark spots for all kinds of reasons: to show where sweethearts connected, to show where someone died, to show where someone is laid to rest, and equally to signify burred treasure. X marks the spot. Who had marked this spot and why? I will never know for sure.
Jetlag is a real. It is a psychological condition brought about by propelling the body through time and space at such a rapid pace that the body’s circadian rhythms are altered. It is considered to be an affliction of the modern age, as prior plane travel you could not transport yourself over a specific distance in a sufficient amount of time.
I have experienced a lot of jetlag in my life. I respect it as a real phenomenon. But I suspect that our assumptions as to why jetlag happens are faulty. Traveling on a bus spurs the same sensations. It does not matter how quickly you are able to put distance between two points, it only matters that you created that distance. You were in one point in space and time, and you suddenly catch up with yourself in a completely different point. It is disorienting, no mater at what velocity you have arrived. Really, we should just call it “travel lag”.
Wednesday traveling from Manta to Quito
July 4, 2012
Ecuador has an interesting security system for bus travel. Before departing, a video camera is used to film each and every passenger’s face. This is done to help identify and persons retrospectively in case of a crime occurring. In the not so distant past, robberies were a big problem. Individuals would board the buses like passengers, only to highjack the bus and take everything of value from the real passengers. Thankfully, this precaution of filming has greatly discouraged this kind of crime.
I, of course, always give a wave and release a “hi Mom” from my grin when being filmed. I think the workers appreciate a little humor in their “big brother” task.