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Bit of a fright, to say the least

ECUADOR | Thursday, 24 May 2007 | Views [985] | Comments [1]

I had the scariest hour and a half of my life today. First, I felt very very proud of myself- I had gotten a cab to the bus station, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the station is very simply laid out and within 10 minutes, I had my ticket in hand.

My ticket said Bus 26, but the guard pointed at 27. Not trusting him, I asked a second opinion from a random. He looked at my ticket and frowned, then his friend did the same, then they pointed me to Bus 23. I went to the driver and said "I need to get to Mindo" and he hesitated for a minute, then said okay, get on.


Now the first hour went great. But I´ve read that this trip takes anywhere from 1.5-3 hours, and by the second hour of the ride I was a wreck. We passed through and hour of isolated cloudforest, and while it was scenic, um, scary! Isolated!!!! It got to a point where it was so cloudy outside (we´re so high up we´re actually in clouds) and there was so much rain on the window I could no longer read street signs. I swallowed a freakout but was about to burst into tears- why would the bus drver hesitate? Does he not go to Mindo? Will he stop? Will he tell me?- it's getting darkish out now. Just as I was about to lose it, the driver says "Mindo!"

Smile of relief. I hop off the bus happily, and look around. There's a stop sign and a couple of trucks pulled over to the side of the road. And nothing else. No town, no houses, nothing.

I run over to a parked truck with a teen guy outside it and ask how to get to Hostal Gypsy. He explains it's 8 km away, off the main road.


How do I get there?

Well as it turns out, my only option is to pay him a few bucks to drive me. And he's a freaking 20-something guy who only speaks Spanish. I said it's too dangerous, and he just says it's more dangerous to go on foot in the dark. After a few minutes, I realize my only choice is to go with him or wait on the side of the road to hitchike back to Quito, and really, is it more risky to hitchhike with this guy for 8km or to do it all the way back to the city?

Well, that would be why the bus driver had hesitated. "Yeah I go to Mindo. Sort of. I go BY Mindo."

So I threw my stuff in the back of his truck and quickly shoved my pocket knife in my pocket.

It was the longest 8km of my life. Through bush and this dirt road, no sign of any other roads or buildings, and I'm waiting for him to pull over and rape and murder me. All I can hear is the gravel as we bump and bounce over it, the rain on the windshield and my heart pounding, getting ready to leap out of my throat. We go slow down the road and I spend the whole 10 minutes in paranoid prayer.

But he doesn't kill me, and we finally end up at the hostal. I laugh and hand over the couple of dollars as he slides my backpack onto my back. But is over? Heck no. Why would it be? As I approach the owner it appears I'm the only person here, except for the male (again, only Spanish-speaking) manager guy.

After a quick introduction to my room, I learn there are 2 girls who speak English sleeping in the room next to me, but they're out eating right now. THANK GOD. And as it turns out the guy is really really nice, gives me a lock, towels, shows me the shower and bathroom, and even brings me down the road to a restaurant and shows me the street! I mention I'm vegetarian and he takes me somewhere that has "great vegetarian food," which turns out to mean they have fries. It's a REALLY safe town, apparently, really small, I'd guess 100-200. My Spanish keeps surprising me because we conversed for a good 15 minutes, which calmed me down quite a bit. So I ate and bought some bug spray, and now I'm in another hostal on their computer updating you on my traumatizing night. Now I'm gonna take some pills and go to sleep :D

Tags: misadventures



*hugs tightly* That must've been very scary!!! Glad you made it safely, though!

Love ya,

  Emily May 24, 2007 12:38 PM

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