Alex and I went to Ecuador last week, which is just as random as it sounds. Everyone kept asking “Why Ecuador?” and I didn’t really have a good answer other than “we’ve never been there before,” which might actually be the best sort of reason: I’ve never done this before, I think I’ll do it.
Unless you’re talking about crystal meth. Or child abduction. Or a lot of things, maybe. But let’s stick to traveling.
Here’s a few other things I’d never done before this trip:
Had a stranger vomit on me at 45,000 feet.
This is a slight exaggeration. He actually only vomited all over the seat and floor behind me, but thanks to science and other magical forces his vomit managed to slide forward beneath the seat—where it was discovered only after I dropped my phone in it. Too bad my backpack was laying down there the entire time. (on second thought, maybe this was karma.)
Worried so much about a taxi driver abducting me
Apparently this is Ecuador’s thing— so much so they now have cameras and little GPS-enabled panic buttons in all the taxis. Except the ones WE took, of course. We always picked the best taxis:
1. The guy who stopped on a highway on-ramp at 4:45AM, jumped out, and popped the trunk. I used some profanity to inquire as to the situation but it was only a moment before the driver was back, wielding a torque wrench. NBD he just had to make sure the wheels didn’t fall off or anything.
2. The super-suave driver who exhibited a bit of a temper when a land-slide took out the road we were trying to drive on.
3. The driver who basically said “sorry” and left us to walk down a CREEPY ASS cornfield mafia village at 11PM because the town shut its streets down for some sort of festival (fireworks sound a lot like gunshots when you’re the only people in sight).
Of course there was also the driver who came back to our hostel to deliver my iPhone 6 Plus that I’d left in the backseat. Because if I’m consistent in anything, it’s losing expensive electronics in foreign countries.
Watched Alex drag a semi-unconscious man out of a street
I didn’t get a photo OBVIOUSLY because that would be exploitative and I was too busy carrying his hat (I’m a big help) and trying to figure out where the blood was coming from (just a flesh wound).
Seen the Andes
Spent six hours hiking in the Amazon rainforest during a torrential downpour
Ha, good one, RAIN forest.
Had this tri-fecta of physical and emotional comforts while traveling
Dry shampoo + daily wear contacts + a man who just randomly decides to carry my bag for me
Hung out at a bar that has its own cat
Things I’ve Done a Million Times but It Never Gets Old
Wondered why I put myself in such drown-able situations when I. Cannot. Swim.
There was a low point in the trip where Alex got bummed because he thought too many things were going wrong.
“Oh no,” I said. “That means you’re having a successful backpacking experience.”
Here’s a checklist just to be sure
1. Be charged more than the going rate, simply because you’re a stupid tourist.
2. Think you ordered a certain kind of food, but receive something completely different. Or, if you’re me, think you asked for “two spoons,” and end up with “two bowls of soup.”
3. Have something that normally works, without question, stop working. Feel helpless as the illusion of control fades from life and you realize this is Lord of the Flies and every man for himself.
4. Get yelled at because you don’t understand the language (there’s always that one person who’s obviously having a shite day and doesn’t find it adorable when you just shake your head and say “no comprendo” over and over while trying to hand them money because that’s the only problem solving you ever learned.)
5. Steal something for the sake of survival
6. Miss your bus stop because JOKES ON YOU these buses don’t stop and there are no bus stations and guess who gets to ride to the next town, an hour away, and figure it out then?
7.Don’t get to eat for about 14 hours because you planned poorly.
8. Almost die
I’m not sure I’m quite ready to talk about this one yet.
What have you recently done for the first time? Have you had any harrowing travel experiences?
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