Monday, Jan 25, 2016

It’s pouring rain today. We dropped Keeper off at Don and Donna’s, who agreed to watch her while we have our over-nighter in Guayaquil. Big bonus for us!… they were kind enough to give us a lift to the bus terminal so we didn’t have to deal with calling for a cab to come pick us up. Disaster averted!…trying to speak on the phone asking for a cab and explaining where to pick us up…in Spanish. First off, that will not work well for me because my current Spanish includes use of my hands and my body as I play Charades while speaking, mostly English, with my limited Spanish vocabulary.

Easton pulled out his GoPro on his Gimble stick at the bus terminal to get some video. It caught the eye of two young guys, one from Austria, the other from Germany, who could speak English. So while we waited to board the bus we listened to Easton talk to them about it. I was happy because, since they were waiting for the same bus, I could say, “Hey, this is the 11:30 am bus to Guayaquil right?” I’m so resourceful. 😉

As we lined up to board the bus a stern looking Ecuadorian woman stood in the doorway. Another man was taking luggage and bags from those boarding and putting them in the under carriage of the bus. We all wanted to take our back packs on the bus with us because we keep being warned by expats we meet that we should never leave our bags unattended. We are told stories of things being stolen from back packs under the seats, in the overhead, in the undercarriage, and basically anywhere but your lap.

Easton is first in our line of three and she looked at his back pack on his back, said something and pointed to the man packing luggage under the bus. Easton then shook his head no and pointed inside the bus. He said “in my lap” because every Spanish-only speaking Ecuadorian understands that phrase, and held his back pack in front of him.

The woman took his bag and started opening every zipper and looking inside each pocket. When she was done she said no and pointed toward the luggage area in the underside of the bus. Off went Easton. Heidi was ahead of me and she looked at the woman guarding the inner sanctum of Ecuadorian bus heaven, held her back pack out, pointed to it then motioned toward the inside the bus.

With pursed lips this steely eyed woman unzipped the pockets of Heidi’s bag, embroidered with peace signs and doves, in non threatening colors of yellows, blues, and pinks;  looked inside each pocket, zipped them up, and said no. Then she pointed to the Ecuadorian bus underworld for Heidi to send her bag.

So now it was my turn. A few details first. Easton’s back pack was quite large by comparison to mine. And Heidi’s of course had her make up bag, her toiletry bag, her night clothes, her change of clothes, etc. I basically only had a tooth brush, not even a change of underwear (hey don’t judge…it’s only an overnighter), so surely my back pack will be found worthy and accepted into the Ecuadorian elysian fields of bus sanctuary.

Well, going last I knew the drill. I pulled my backpack off and handed it to the guardian of all that is safe and secure in bus-hood. I held my back pack as she quickly unzipped, re-zipped, and then just looked at me. I asked “can I bring my back pack with me” (again, because this is a common phrase learned by every Ecuadorian here), but just to be sure she understood me, I also pointed toward the inside of the bus. Without a word, without even a blink, this woman of woe just looked me square in the eyes, and then ever so slowly lifted her needle-like index finger and pointed to the dark, cavernous underworld.

So we obviously relented and put our back packs under the bus…with our I pads, go pro, phone cords, kindles, chargers, etc. As I’m sitting inside the bus watching others’ back pack fate being determined by the bus-nazi , I saw her let a young woman on with a back pack the size of mine.  Outraged at such gross injustice I stood up in my seat and I said “Senora, Senora!” to get her attention and then pointed to the woman’s back pack.

There was an ever so slight pause as our eyes locked, then such a flurry of Spanish headed my way I’m sure it created a breeze inside the bus. Of course I didn’t understand a word. So after she finished, I did what any intelligent non-speaker would do. I looked at her and said, “Oh”. And sat down in my seat.

So it’s a 5 hour ride and I realize my water bottle is in my back pack under the bus. Heidi and Easton brought their water bottles on with them. I guess if I start to suffer dehydration I will have to hit them up for some water.

The woman behind me heard and saw what went down with the back pack fiasco, so she spoke in Spanish to the woman who got on with her back pack. When she was through she turned to me and said that the woman only had a computer in her back pack.  I guess in the future we are going to have to put all the electronics in one back pack and bring that one onto the bus with us. Our clothes can go in the the back packs we put under the bus.

Definitely have to do this a few times to learn the ropes! Things are not done the same way here and I have to remind myself I have to be flexible and adapt… and that is ok.

On the bus we are not supposed to have food. Somewhere along the highway, the bus slowed to a stop and let a man on carrying a warm baking pan of this yucca cheese-filled biscuit thing and corn cheese-filled biscuit things. We bought 4 of them (one for my new amigo in the seat next to me) for $1.35 cents.

I asked the man selling them how much they were. I could hear the “un dolar”, but he spoke to fast on the rest. So I do what I’ve learned to do in these situations. I pull out a pocket full of change, which had dollar coins and quarters, and opened my palm for him to take what he said. He took one dollar coin and 2 quarters. I said, “Oh, un dolar y cincuenta”…a $1.50. But then he gave me 0.15 cents change. So 4 biscuits were $1.35. I doubt that was right though because how do you charge 33.75 cents per biscuit? I need to get better at hearing the Spanish words when prices are spoken. Lol…who the hell am I kidding. I need to hear better when any Spanish words are spoken!