exuent, chased by an oso

ecuador2006 travel

Landed back stateside on Saturday and spent the past few daysenjoying the USA. Now, as the day spent remembering the man whodreamed draws down, I’ve a few final flotsammy observations tofinish out our correspondence.

– as always, I’m amused by small language differences. From my
friend the Deej’s self-induced hypothermia due to using only
one knob in the shower (he used the knob labelled “F” and
avoided the one labelled “C”, except that “C” stands for
“calor” aka “hot” while “F” stands for “frio” aka “cold”) to
the ubiquitous copy shops that say: “Fotocopias: B/N y Color”
(wait, what the hell does “N” stand for? Well, the “b” is for
“blanco” aka “white”, not “black”, while the “n” is for
“negro”, natch), one is constantly reminded that English and
Spanish are linguistic cousins. Of course, if you end up
marrying your cousin, something’s gonna be a little off,
which is what it feels like every time I’m there.

– best food discoveries: treating myself to a 10-cent icee from
the omnipresent Bon Ice vendors to cool off during the day
(it gets to be 25C (77F) on the equator every day!); eating
animal crackers styled after the endangered animals of the
Galapagos Islands, smothered in Nutella; finding an
Argentinean steak house; 90-cents for a liter of beer

– worst food discovery: Ecuadorian empanadas don’t hold a
candle to Argentinean empanadas

– undecided food discovery: a restaurant chain called
“Menestres del Negro” (Beans of the Black man), whose logo is
a stylized monkey face with a fork through its hair that
looks very much like a racist caricature. We ate there, of
course, and the food was quite good, but we couldn’t tell if
we were supporting racism or protesting racism. For a $2.85
meal that included a pork chop, beans, rice, salad, fried
egg, and plantains, I’m not gonna complain.

Bonus find: a soda called “Negrita” (little black girl) that
was an odd off-flavored cola.

Not really sure how this sort of thing flies in Ecuador, but
the companies making those two products would be sued out of
existence in about 0.004 milliseconds in America, I’m sure of

– the Deej, the Falconer, and I went to the tourist trap known
as “la mitad del mundo” or the middle of the world, aka the
equator. They had a bunch of pseudo-scientific experiments
setup to “demonstrate” the coriolis effect, such as balancing
an egg on a nail head, and watching water swirl clockwise
down a drain south of the equator, anti-clockwise north of
the equator, and straight down when directly on top of the
equator but we were much too smart for them. (We felt the
need to debunk their demos because the coriolis effect is a
macro effect that affects entire weather systems and not
little sinks being moved 1 meter to the left and the right of
some magical line.) After playing with their sink setup for a
bit, we determined that twisting the plug drain in a certain
direction while removing it added enough force to influence
the water to spin in either direction. There is no spoon,

– how I spent my last day “relaxing” in Quito: climbing at the
Quito Rocodromo or rock gym. They have this 25m (75 ft) tall
outdoor climbing wall with some pretty hard routes on it. Of
course, there is no Spanish word for “waiver” — you just
show up with your own gear, pays your $2, and start climbing.
If you fall and die, you are an idiot, and it’s your own
fault. Much better system than what we’ve got here, in my
humble opinion.

– death be to snorers, after having to share our dormitory room
with two of them. When you’re splurging on the $5 / night
room, make sure to pack your ear plugs. I think it’s a
natural law that whoever snores the loudest, always falls
asleep the first.

– Some links to pictures:
Ecuador climbing pics
equator pics

And in case you missed them last time…
Quito New Year’s pics
Quito Botannical Garden
Quito walking around shots

I’m staring out my window, looking at the snow that continues to blanket northern Colorado, with a giant pile of smelly laundry at my feet, remembering the man with a dream, and dreaming up new dreams of yet unknown horizons to visit and vistas to view.

Alas time marches on and I step reluctantly back on society’s treadmill. Loping along, not quite in step, not quite keeping up, I jones for the open skies and promises of adventure. The secret spot where I stash my memories keeps me grinning.

Thanks for reading along. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.