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random early-morning thoughts

ECUADOR | Saturday, 22 September 2007 | Views [521]

As a female in Ecuador, one is subjected to the daily whistling and heckling of the men that have deemed this an appropriate form of flirting or getting one's attention. As a gringa in Ecuador, it is even worse. No less than twice a day, just in walking to and from the bus stop, I feel equated to a pastry as their catcalls of "rica" or "deliciosa" are shouted out, the really creative ones calling out "mamacita!" I almost feel bad that they are wasting their energy on me....but then...I also just don't. I told Lucy yesterday that I wish I could capture all this unwanted attention and give it to a girl that wants it. As Amelia (NZ friend I traveled with in Guate) observed, if you want to raise your self-esteem, travel through Latin America; you will get all the attention you ever lacked, and more, without having to bathe for a couple of days, perhaps traveling around with the same dusty clothes for weeks, and having your hair looking like you just rolled out of bed..which you very well may have. Que barbaridad..

Yesterday, three semi-bizarre happenings:
1) marriage proposal from my taxi driver on the way to get my CENSO
2) seeing an indigenous woman with an "I love NY" t-shirt underneath her traditional shawl
3) watching a woman sitting on the back of a [moving] motorcycle, breast-feeding her baby
....ahh Ecuador...

One important thing to know while traveling in Ecuador is that monetary change is sometimes impossible to come by and people will promise you they just took their money to the bank or you are their first customer of the day and if you would just buy one more thing, they might manage to break your $5 bill. I have become pro at spotting out places that give change, and it is at these places that even when something costs under $1, I hand over my 20, delighted with all the $1s I get in return. Ecuador has been using the US dollar for seven years now with some Ecuadorian coins are mixed in, giving the money in our coin purses a cornucopia of sizes and designs. And ever wonder what happened to the Sacajawea dollars that didn't really gain popularity in the U.S.? They are being utilized at full tilt in Ecuador. They're so great.

Every morning on my bus ride to school, I experience two semi-conflicting emotions/thoughts: 1) check out this view of snow-capped volcanoes! and 2) are the breaks on this bus working? Why are they making that noise?! Should I be thinking of an emergency exit plan?!?! It is quite the emotional time on my 25 cent ride as I switch from gazing at the breath-taking views to staring straight ahead at the driver and ayudante to see if THEY look at all worried that we could be free-falling down the 1500 feet we have to descend between Quito and Cumbaya (where the university is). But I try to live a life of unnecessary stress, so what to do? My remedy is that I've started bringing my iPod along, leaving me bien chill as I resume gazing at the volcanoes without hearing the screeching of the [working?] breaks.

Tonight we (Daniella, me, Lucy, and fam friend Lauro) got in this conversation from about 10pm-1:30am about the idea that the more independent you become (from your family, for example) the more responsibility you inevitably have to gain. Lucy and Lauro were on the side that this was not true, while Daniella and I argued for it. The conversation morphed from one thing to the next, but it was a very good discourse, and I think we all left the conversation thinking a little more critically in our own thoughts. Esta a mi me parece buenaso..

Last thing, today I went to the equator, for which I'll have to do the whole photo-story thing..I'll have to send my picture out of me leaping over the line, but that's all for now because tomorrow (or in 7 hours I guess) I'm off to get super muddy and climb a volcano, Papallacta, where at the end we get to soak in some natural thermal pools. Sunday at 3:30am I'm of to another volcano, Pichincha, followed by the 9:30 tour to another volcano, Cuicocha (where I've gone twice, but apparently we're going to another one in conjunction with Cuicocha) so I have four volcanoes in the next two days (this is all for my Volcanology class). Que chevere...

buenas noches a todos


Tags: Living Abroad

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