Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Magic of Ecuador

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You most likely aren't a subscriber, so this is the text of my column in Friday's La Tarde newspaper here in Cuenca.

My wife and I returned home from the United States Tuesday, and we felt Ecuador with us all the way. In the airport restaurant in North Carolina, we ordered lunch but my meal never came. It was OK—my wife’s food was more than enough for us to share.

In the Miami airport we rode a train from one side to the other to board our flight to Guayaquil. Uh, oh—there had been a gate change. So back we went on the train to return almost to the identical gate we came from. This was beginning to feel a bit like home.

Now it was time to get on the plane, but all the computers stopped working in the entire airport. We finally boarded. A coffee machine on the plane promptly broke so we sat there forever while the mess was cleaned up. I could hear Ecuador calling to us loud and clear.

When we arrived in Guayaquil almost two hours late the van service we had hired in advance to drive us to Cuenca of course wasn’t there to meet us, so we had to pay “gringo prices” to have a taxi bring us home in the middle of the night. I tried to sleep in the car, but the first time I opened my eyes we were dodging a boulder in the middle of the road, and the next time it was raining, very foggy, and we were almost hitting another boulder. I stayed awake the rest of the trip!

We got to our apartment just before dawn. The neighborhood roosters said “hello.” I awoke around noon. The birds, traffic, buses, car alarms, and horns formed a chorus singing “Welcome back!”

On our return trip many things went wrong; people didn’t show up; it took longer and cost more than anticipated. Yet this is the magic of Ecuador, is it not? Life is far from perfect here, but somehow it all seems to work out and everyone is happy.

We missed Cuenca very much and are so glad to be home!!


Mike and Johnie said...

Good to have you back.

Anonymous said...

Isn't travel fun?!! Somehow it's not as bad when the hassles are while you are on your way home! Glad to know that you and C are home safe and sound while we continue to dig (or melt) ourselves out here in NYC.

drbob said...

Hi Edd and Cynthia,
Just discovered your site and enjoy your perspective re what you're doing in Cuenca. Like many emails you probably receive, Cuenca is on the top of my list as a probable place to retire. I'm a former Peace Corps Volunteer from Chile (67-68), spent a lot of time in Peru and Brazil, currently live in San Diego and am quite familiar with the language and Latin culture. Will be scheduling my first trip in a couple of months and hope to meet up with you and the local expats. I do have one question that's been on my cold does it actually get in Cuenca???
Thanks much. drbob

Edd Staton said...

Bob, I understand from whence your question comes. I wore a damn pea coat and toboggan cap for 5 straight weeks from NJ to GA to SC to NC. Geez! The good news is the temps hold quite steady in Cuenca--usually up to the mid-70's daytime & mid-50's at night. But be prepared for the weather to change about 6 times a day!