Saturday, Oct 1, 2016
It is time to take a trip outside of Cuenca. Chase and Easton haven’t been to Gualaceo and Chordeleg, and Heidi and I wanted them to see it. Our friends Scott and Colleen haven’t seen these towns either, so we all made a day of it together.
It’s about an hour bus ride from Cuenca to Gualaceo, depending on how many stops the bus driver makes picking people up along the way. Our bus driver today is a reasonable driver, maybe the best one I have experienced so far. The scenery to Gualaceo is interesting as the road runs alongside the meandering river.
The bus we left on out of Cuenca was going to Gualaceo and Chordeleg. I didn’t realize that, so when we arrived in Gualaceo, we jumped off the bus and asked where was the bus to Chordeleg? The woman at the ticket window pointed me back to the bus we just jumped off. Oops.
Last time we were in Chordeleg it was a Sunday and the place was crowded. Today, it was like a ghost town. This was good for Heidi and Colleen because one of the silversmiths took time to show them how he made his jewelry. I would have liked to see this, but I thought they were shopping so I was sitting on a bench in the park.
After we walked around the town square and checked the windows filled with jewelry and souvenirs, we headed back to Gualaceo to have lunch. We went to the mercado in the center of town, and I was looking forward to a plate of delicious roasted pulled pork.
We picked one of the vendors and she brought us our lunch plates. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t as good as the last time I was here. I was trying to decide it I had built it up in my head and it didn’t match my expectations, or if in fact it wasn’t as good. Heidi felt it wasn’t as good either, so it probably was just due to a different cook. Still, it was something we don’t normally eat so it was a nice treat all the same.
The bus ride home was crowded. We all had seats but as the driver stopped for people along the road, the aisle became very full. I was on the aisle and it is more or less like sharing your seat with the person in the aisle standing over you.
At one point there was a scuttle between some women in the aisle. A woman, and what I assume was her older daughters, got on and pushed through the aisle. The aisle was full and a young woman already standing in the aisle said something to the woman pushing through. A back and forth of dialogue occurred, then the woman who just got on turned for the front door and yelled at the bus driver to let her off. She and her daughters left the bus, and as I looked out the window I could see her still yelling and looking at our bus. This is life on a South American bus.
When we got back to the bus terminal we said goodbye to Scott and Colleen, and walked towards the taxis. There were probably six taxis lined up outside the terminal waiting for fares. Scott and Colleen took the first one. I approached the second one and went to open the door but it was locked.
The driver asked where I wanted to go and I told him where my house was at. He said no. Really? Wow. Whatever. I just went to the next taxi. This guy asked me where I wanted to go as well as I had the door open and was looking in. I told him and he started himhawing around about it. I don’t get what the problem is, but I was getting irritated and just closed the door and walked away.
The third taxi said no problem and we were on our way and home in no time. It seems fundamentally wrong for a taxi to be in line outside a public bus terminal and then pick and choose where they will drive. It seems to violate an implied contract of service, but that’s me. This is part of the charm…or aggravation…of living in Ecuador. It’s always my choice.