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ECUADOR | Friday, 17 October 2008 | Views [1551]

At Kahydas house

At Kahydas house

While in Puyo I stayed with a couchsurfer named Matt for a few days, so that I could begin to type up my previous Amazon expedition and have my tribal hair removed. On the second night at his apartment, we were invited downstairs to another couchsurfing couple`s house for dinner, who both work with Matt for the Peace corps. Another girl was there who also works in the Peace corps, and the next day she was off to give a talk about sexual education to women in a prostitution house. There was also another man there whose specialty is soil.


The food was great and so were the people, but for some odd reason I continued to find myself drifting into another world of my own. I kept blanking in and out of thought when someone asked me a question, and no, I wasn`t on drugs or sick. I wasn`t sure whethe, it was because I hadn`t spoken much in the previous month, or if I was just tired from being awake after 7pm??


I was so happy in the forest, and suddenly, I found myself walking in the streets of Puyo, about to burst into tears. I may have just been feeling sad and strangely shocked, because of the concrete, plastic and metals of the city... the noise and pollution, and people trying to rip me off again because I`m a foreigner. All of this fakeness, these cold, hard, money revolving, soul numbing objects, these lifeless things giving me no pleasure whatsoever.


I was deep in the jungle in my dream that night, and it was so fresh, emerald and beautiful. I don`t ever want these sorts of dreams to go away, and yet I know that it is inevitable that they will slowly fade as I continue to travel into the cities. I feel as if I have just truly realised what a sad turn humanity took when it began to completely start wiping out nature and all of it`s wonderful, clean, healing, calm, happy and freeing energy. 


So after these few days of adjusting to the economic way of life once more, I headed over to Guayaquil (a seven hour bus ride). I decided to stay with a couchsurfer named Kahyda who is a 30 year old local female. She is really chilled out and so fun at the same time. Her brother in law Boris took me down to Machala to stay with their family for a couple of days, which was quite interesting. It was an exciting little town where I saw gangs fighting and also people dancing on the streets.


When I got back to Guayaquil I was invited to go to the movies with a friend of Kahyda`s. I had called my mum only a couple of weeks earlier, and found that she had been freaking out because she had had a dream that I was robbed by men with guns. I told her I was fine, and that her dream probably just symbolized the deadly snake I walked over when I was in the Amazon.


In reality, this is what happened…


Andre and I watched a scary movie, and after, we got in a cab that looked perfectly safe. About two minutes later, a car screeched in front of us, the cab stopped, and two men with guns got out of the car in front and into the taxi with us. They told me to give them my bag, but unfortunately I had put it across my shoulders and then had put my jumper over the top, so when I gave it to them, they couldn`t take it as it was stuck to me! They started to yell saying ``hurry up`` and so only once I had taken my jumper off and given them my bag did they calm down a little.


I was then told to close my eyes and stop looking at one of the men, who's gun was staring at my head. I was told also to keep my hands down but, when one of the men leaned across me to check (I thought he wanted to open it) the door, I lifted my hands to help him. Bad idea! They started yelling frantically, ``Manos abajo! Manos abajo!`` (``Hands down``) I said sorry a couple of times and placed my hands on my lap.  


Andre, had two phones and $60 on him, but I only had about $20 on me for them to take, and so they thought I was hiding more. One of the men put his hand in my bra, then the back of my pants, and then down the front... it was pretty disgusting! But he didn't find anything. I told them I was a volunteer, and that I didn`t have any money whatsoever. Andre covered my mouth with his hand when I continued to try and say that disabled kids had made my handbag. I stopped talking and thought... yeah, I've probably said enough.


Some of the other thoughts that ran through my head were best to stay calm, also mmm, I wonder why I`m not scared? Well I`ve had a fantastic life so far. and then I really hope they aren't going to kidnap me and take me to a sex slave house. At that last thought a bit of fear kicked in. I knew they were professionals.


The car was still in motion as I wondered how long it was going to take for them to rustle through all of the papers in my bag. But finally the cab stopped... the driver was almost certainly an accomplice. The thieves gave me back my bag, kicked us out, and then threw my jumper out of the car window. Andre and I gave each other a huge hug and jumped up and down in happiness for being alive. 


We were left in a quiet street, and had no idea where we were. We walked for about a minute before I saw a police car and began calling out for them to stop. They did, and as we got into the car, two young boys who had also been robbed with pistols got out. We drove around giving the police a description of the car and thieves before they dropped us off at another place where we knew our other friend were. 


I had earlier bought the people I am staying with two little cacti plants, which I had been very careful not to crush all evening. I was sad when I remembered they were still in the cab as I had spent a whole 6 hours caring for them. A bit later, Andre and I made a bit of a joke about us not being killed because the cacti were sacrificed in our place.       


I`m glad Andre and I stayed extremely calm, because he told me that many people are shot when robbed. 


I met with Mauricio, another one of my Ecuatorian friends later, who told me he has been robbed by men with pistols eight times in the past three years. He told me that one time he was in an internet cafe when some men came in with guns and told everyone to give them their money etc. They had said that they would later search everyone, and if they found something hidden, would kill that person. Mauricio thought he had given over everything, but realised he forgot about a $20 note in one of his pockets. He took it out, put it on the floor, and stepped on it to hide it, but one of the gun-men saw him move. The man went over to Mauricio and tried to smack him in the head with the gun but missed and so became even angrier. He put the gun into Mauricio`s mouth and asked what he was hiding. Luckily the man never saw the $20 note.



A few days later, Kahyda, a few of her French friends, Miguel (another friend of Kahyda`s) and I went up to Montañita (a beach side town) for a festival. I was talking to Miguel, who told me that he had also been held up at gun point four times in the past two years!


The festival was fantastic, but when we got back to Guayaquil, we found out some bad news. Boris informed us that some men with guns had broken in to the upstairs apartment. Supposedly they got the wrong house, so went in next door to another apartment and help up the people living there. Boris could hear someone calling for help and so went outside to see what was going on. The street was now full of people, and one of the gunmen shot two bullets into the air, jumped in a car, and took off.


I was freaking because I thought that the gunmen were looking for Kahyda`s apartment, as her address was written down on a piece of paper I had in my bag the night I was robbed at gun point. She laughed and assured me it wasn`t because of that. She said it was because the people next door are Columbian and something must be going down. She has decided to look for a new place to live now though.


Strangely enough, a few days later my friend Andre (who had never been held at gun point in his life before he met me), was robbed by men with pistols, for the second time in less than a week.

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