Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hitchhiking in Ecuador..........makes me smile!

I had a lovely evening in Cuenca.   I first met with two couples at 6:30 p.m. at a restaurant called El Tiestos which was eight blocks from a singles event I was scheduled to attend at 7:00 p.m.  The conversation and people were so delightful I did not leave until almost 8:00 p.m.   The singles event was at Cafe Eucalyptus where I met even more interesting people so I  left there around 9:15 p.m. in a cab to the bus station feeling elated over new acquaintances.   This being a weekend, I boarded the bus to Macas as buses which terminate in Paute do not run that late.   The bus to Macas skirts through Paute and I have done that several times in the past.

The trip from Cuenca to Paute takes around an hour and fifteen minutes.   I read for around twenty minutes and felt a little tired so I leaned the seat back ignoring the protesting thumps from behind.   I was tired, damn it, and my seat mate was doing the same and I'm old so I felt entitled.   I did feel quite drowsy so I dozed off in what I thought was a bit of twilight sleep.

At one point, I awoke to feel the bus stopped and noticed the bus driver slipping off to an open tienda to buy snacks and drinks and wondered what town we were in.   As we started again, I noticed some familiar architecture of apartments that rounded the corner and felt we were getting close.  Then, I saw lights off in a distance that seemed much too far downhill.   I had never noticed anything like that on any previous trip so I got up to ask the driver how far it was to Paute.   They told me we had passed Paute around eight kilometers back.   PANIC!   They instructed me to come forward and sit on a seat in the front.

We drove an incredibly long time through darkness.   They assured me there would be a bus coming back to Cuenca and stopped in a small town called Sevilla de Oro.  They showed me where the bus bench was and I was to wait there for only about thirty minutes.  I should have no problems.   It was 11:50 p.m.

Pictures or it didn't happen!
As I waited in my pink party dress and blonde curly hair, I could not have looked more out of place.   I did not have a good view of what was coming around the corner so any time I heard a loud motor, I would jump up from my seat to make sure they saw me.   It was never a bus although several passed going the other direction.   Several trucks passed going my way.  I entertained myself watching a few dogs scavenge through the trash and even calling out STOP at one time.   What was I thinking?   I wasn't even supposed to be there!  Let them scavenge!  

Lonely dark streets!
After sitting on the park bench for about an hour and a half, I started preparing myself for the remote likelihood of being robbed and tucked my money, credit cards and ipod touch into my bra and had a fleeting thought that might bring even more attention to me.   A few people drove into town, gave me a quick glance, and proceeded on to what I hoped were their residences.   I had an additional problem.   Nature was calling.   Don't ask.

My park bench of over an hour
Around 1:30 p.m., I heard yet another heavy vehicle coming around the corner and jumped up once more.   It was another truck but I was losing hope so I waved and he blinked his lights.   He came to a stop and I ran to the passenger door.   He already had it opened and I asked "¿A dónde vas?".   He said he was going to Azogues which meant he would be passing right through Paute.   On the lovely word "Venga", I climbed up into the truck.   We exchanged some small talk which was difficult as he spoke no English and my Spanish is spotty at best.   He pointed to the back of the cab where there was a bed.   My heart stopped until I saw that he was wanting me to get a blanket if I was cold.  After close to an hour, we had arrived to a familiar setting and I was home at last.   At 2:30 a.m.  On my facebook post, people are calling me courageous and brave.   Not so.   Desperation was more the word!   No more setting seats back in recline on a bus.  

My hero!

No, if you will excuse me, I need to take a nap!


  1. Glad you got home safely!

    I've enjoyed your blog. Hubby and I are planning a trip to Ecuador and perhaps a move in 2014. We're not big city types so I particularly enjoy hearing about your new life in Paute.


    I see I am signed in under a pen name

  2. I appreciate that! I enjoy going to the city but I enjoy coming back to the small town. I have been here for over 10 months now and at first I considered moving to Cuenca because it was terribly lonely at times. Now I get a lot of "Hola" instead of Buenos Dias which means they are familiar with me and like me. I feel like I am part of the community now. I will be leaving the night of the 4th of February and returning on the 21st of March for visiting my children and others. I will miss it and be glad to get back.

  3. That is a nice long trip!

    We're signing up for a Spanish class through the library and expect to fly down for a visit in late summer/early fall, probably to Cuenca since that seems to be the likeliest place to land if we decide to make a move. We do know someone from Casper, WY, who is moving close to the coast, where they have brought acreage and are building a house, but that is beyond our spending limit I think. We need to rent or buy a house since hubby's plans for retirement involve scroll saws and gardening! Also have the small dog we couldn't leave behind. I write and can do that from anywhere--and it would be nice to retire at the same time. If we stay here I will have to continue with the day job for years to come. ~Beckie

  4. Use the alarm on your iPod next time!

  5. I am impressed that you had the courage to jump into a stranger's truck. I myself have not hitch hiked since the 70's and would not even think about it here in North America. When you read about Ecuador and the relation to it feeling like the 50's, you have just brought that into perspective. You Go Girl! Glad that you made it home safley and the experience was something to remember. Nothing like a good story!

  6. Thank you so much for the kind words!

    Actually I think a truck driver with a big rig in North America may have been okay as well. They are hard working souls the world over. And Ecuador is very much like the 50s but not everything about the 50s in the US was ideal. The good? Families are much more supportive. Food is fresher and livestock is generally treated better than factory farms. Children are not being raised in daycare. The bad? There are very few alternatives for abused women and children. Pets in general are treated poorly after the "cute" wears off and are set free to roam. Trash is thrown on the streets.

    I love it here but I'm not unaware of some of the problems. Most of those problems are avoided by the foreigners moving here. I also believe the dangers are being overstated in both countries unless you live in Guayaquil or South Los Angeles.

  7. I've enjoyed reading all your posts. I too am considering relocation to Ecuador. I'm researching blogs, compiling a notebook, looking at some online language courses. Cuenca seems the best "fit" for me. I've been concerned regarding how well a "mature" solo female would fit in socially-(me.) I'm happy to have discovered through your blog and several others that this should not be a problem. Keep on posting-you have interested readers.

  8. Big smile... you sure weren't in Texas.