24 Sep


So, I’ve got a couple stories. First one: Eileen and I were coming home from classes one night on the “trole,” which is just an ecologically friendly, but crowded bus. It has its own special lane, so it’s faster than many of the other busses. Anyhow, it was standing room only and I’m talking to Eileen when I feel an unusual pressure right below my right hip, approximately where my pocket would . . . So I reached down quickly and grabbed a hand. Yes, that’s right a hand. I held onto it and pulled it up and stared its owner down. He was an older guy and he looked surprised and tried to tell me that the bus was bumpy and that he had just accidently placed his hand in my pocket. I stared at him a little more and he looked away, a sure sign of subservience among the pickpocket species. He walked away.

The next day, we were walking with the entire group to catch a bus for “Selva Alegre,” which means “Happy Forest.” Why were we going to Happy Forest? To eat guinea pigs, naturally. So Eileen and I stopped for a few minutes to help a friend who was suddenly feeling ill. We hurried to catch up with the rest of our compatriots only to find that the bus had already left. Luis, the Ecuadorian Spanish teacher leading our excursion, informed us that we would take a taxi and try to catch the bus. A thrilling high speed chase ensued. There were five or six of us in two taxis. We weren’t sure which bus to pull over, and the driver in our taxi was much faster than the driver of the other taxi, which contained Luis, the native Ecuadorian and the only one of us who knew where to go. Thus, the high speed chase involved a lot of looking backward to make sure the authority taxi was still with us, and a lot of looking forward to try to ascertain which bus to pull over. After pulling over the wrong bus, the chase got faster until, minutes later, Eileen shouted “esto, esto” and we waved our arms out the window and honked until the bus stopped and let us on.

And finally: Eileen and I went to a folk music concert last Saturday. We talked the ticket price down to two for $15, walked in and found some seats. After two or three songs, a man from Ambato(about two hours south of Quito) sat down next to me and began chatting about his cattle processing career, his carpe diem attitude, and his being favored by God. He bought us wine (in a box) and candy (Halls mentholyptus). He was very nice and patient, but as the evening wore on, he got drunker and drunker and therefore became much more difficult to understand. It was at this point of low intelligibility, of course, that he began to tell us that his wife had left him. He had hit her twice, and another time, he had given her a leather jacket, which she didn’t like, so he gave it to another woman. Woops. His wife took their son and moved to Quito. He asked our advice, told Eileen several times that she had beautiful eyes, and then wanted to change the subject when we suggested marital counseling from a priest. The evening ended with him insisting on taking us home in a taxi on his way to the bus station.

That’s that. Orientation ends today. We’re sure to become homesick in the ensuing weeks, so keep reading and keep responding everyone.

By the way, this should be our correct phone number for anyone who wants to call us: 011 593 99 807 971