|The last week of classes went well. Learning and speaking more and more each day! The three of us girls took another salsa lessions on Wednesday and only one thing is for certain: we can´t dance.
Cuenca was an enjoyable experience, but I have been growing increasingly anxious to escape to a warmer, less rainy climate- not to mention, the city.
In Route: bus´n it again.....
Ahh. Yes! I recieved a seat on this 5 1/2 hour bus journey to Loja- on my way south to Vicabamba. Last weekend, on the way to Cajas, the conductor had forced the three of us girls to relinquish our seats for other passengers. ¨They¨ say: you don´t know what you have until it´s gone, and I was sure enjoying the luxury of my very own seat.
While Helen and Charolette chattered away accross the aisle, I took in the ecuadorian scenery. More rolling hills, green pastures and mountain peaks in the distance. The bus was slowely pushing along, swerving giant holes and slamming on the brakes to avoid randomly placed construction equipment. Occasionally the bus stops at tiny pueblos dotted along the road to collect a new assortment of passengers (and of course the short-term passengers that pass up and down the aisles for a few hundred meter ride to sell thier goods: ¨papas fritas¨¨agua¨ or the local ¨periodico¨).
The woman sitting next to departed at one of these pueblos, and a older man dressed in safari-type gear eagerly placed himself next to me. I became painfully aware at that moment, that the remainder of my journey was going to be a smelly one. Normally this is not an abnormal occurance- you acclamate to many various types of unsavory odors- but this was a bit much even for the seasoned traveler. I decided to open the window in hopes of disapating the odor...no, that did not work, perhaps moving up in my seat and placing my face in the opening of the window would help. Ahh, much better! After a duration of 1hour, I realized that my head ached due to the fumes from the exhaust pipe located beneath my window. I decided to sit back and use some ¨calming¨ lavender lotion to assit in covering the odor. This seemed to help, but what it did not assist in the problem of the man falling asleep, with his elbow jammed into my waist and his head edging ever so close to my shoulder. I smashed myself as close to the window as possible, and found the humor of the situation- especially since Helen and Charolette seemed to think that this was all hilarious.
After a while, I inserted my headphones and nestled into the comfort of more gorgeous scenery. I was happy in my own little world when the man beside me, reached accross me to hurl a used yogurt container out the window. Having never really gotten accustomed to the ´norm´ of littering in Latin America, I had a knee-jerk reation and yelled at the man. ¨Dude, why the hell did you do that?¨ For some reason, Dude was my choice word- no particular reason, it just spewed out (Helen and Charolette are in hysterics). Trying to think of what to say in spanish, I stalled, and proceeded to tell him that littering was bad. I looked at him, at his half-toothless, confused smile- and I felt badly. He was completly confused as to why I was upset- probably just assumed maybe he grazed my chest as he reached accross to the window.
Yes indeed, another bus ride where I walk away wiser, and an ecuadorian man walks away confused.