Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rockin’ The Bus

We just returned home last night from another amazing trip to Ecuador.  I haven't had a chance to download or sort through two cameras and one iPhone filled with photos but I've been thinking alot about the trip and do you know what I've decided I like best about Ecuador?  Do you?  It’s the people.  Well … other than drinking Pilsner and eating plantain chips. Of course that Amazon trip last year was absolutely incredible.  It’s right up there at the top of my favorite things about Ecuador.  But … I don’t know … it wouldn’t have been the same without a cold Pilsner at the end of the day … lying in a hammock, sweating, drinking Pilsner … in the Amazon … how can you beat that?   And this trip – the highlands and volcanoes were breathtaking and Dean was in geology-heaven – but we drank Pilsners and ate chips there too.  Hmm … it doesn’t get much better than sitting outside at the beach, or in the Amazon, or in the Ecuadorian highlands, or in Quito, or Guayaquil, or oh, hell, anywhere, with a cold Pilsner in your hand and a basket of plantain chips in front of you.  But the people are incredible ... Pilsner and chips or people … Pilsner and plantain chips or people ... it's a close call, but I think it's the people.  Yup, the people.  That’s the best thing about Ecuador.

I love the people.  I love how friendly they are and how they go out of their way to help you.  Like the guy working at one of the places we stayed on this trip.  He was dressed in his worker coveralls, walking past the cabin we had stayed in to go do whatever it was he was being paid to do, but when he saw me heading in the opposite direction with my suitcase, he stopped, turned around, came back, took my suitcase and carried it to the car.  Smiling.

Or the man from Ecuador I met on the plane when I went to Ecuador by myself last July who rented a cart for my suitcases and wouldn’t let me pay for it, helped me when there was an issue with my baggage claim form, and made sure Abby & Jorge were there to meet me before he would leave.

Did you know that men actually open doors for women in Ecuador?  Really.  They do.  And they let you go first.  Always.  They stop.  They hold their arm out toward the doorway and they wait, actually wait, for you to go through – before them!  I’m not kidding.  I felt like a queen … an old, wrinkled queen, but still … a queen.

And I love their smiles and joie de vivre.   One day we got caught in road construction and had to wait for one whole hour before we could continue on.  The wait could have been long, boring, and irritating, but instead we were entertained by the folks on a bus just ahead of us.  They cranked up the music and next thing you know the bus was rocking from side to side from the people who were dancing inside.

Other people were dancing alongside the road, and everybody was laughing.

I am not a seasoned traveler but I have never visited any city, state or country where the people are so courteous, so happy, so friendly, and so willing to help.  I don’t know what the secret is but I’m starting to think it must be the Pilsner and plantain chips.  The only way to know for sure, though, is through scientific study.  To that end, I have decided I will make the ultimate sacrifice and offer myself up as a guinea pig test subject.  Once I find a source for dollar Pilsners,  freshly prepared plantain chips, and have completed my research, I will report back.



Leslie said...

You made me smile this morning!

Art Elser said...

I'm sure that Dean, being a scientist at heart, will help with your scientific experiment. Perhaps you could do the Pilsner and chips and he could be the control group and go with water and white bread.

Perhaps you'll discover a cure for road rage, Pilsner and chips. :-)