Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

25/06/2006


Not long ago a little spot on my gums between some of the my top teeth was bleeding. Why? Well, it's funny you ask, because the reason just so happens to be that I had RODENT GRISTLE caught between said teeth for most of the day and only recently was able to get to my mirror to get the gristle out. (I think I have something in my teeth . . . can you get it out for me? ***That's /%$&çING TEAMWORK!***) Some of the people from the municipality I work with had to do "a little visit out to one of the other parishes" for some business having to do with a schools/children's program. They wanted to know if I wished to accompany them. I thought cool, I haven't been out that way yet and I can take some more photos for the presentation we're making. Maybe I should have been clued in to something more sinister when they said we would be leaving at four in the morning. Riiiiiiiiight. So I got up at 3:30 this morning, got picked up at four, and didn't get back to the city here until 10pm tonight ... eighteen hours later. Eighteen hours is one of those time durations that has seemingly become cliched. Playtex, for example, has a brassiere that has 18 hours as part of its name I think. Let me make something clear: Very few people should do anything at all for eighteen hours at a time. Even fewer people should do what WE did for 18 hours, which was to ride a busted ass SUV on unpaved roads in a developing country. The flight to New Zealand from Los Angeles is almost 13 hours, and for many people it's akin to torture having to sit in a small seat for that long. Well now I know how huge and luxuriously comfortable that airline seat really is. The SUV we were in can "comfortably" seat five adults. For several of the hours of today's ordeal, we had eight people crammed in like Golden Grahams, meaning someone straddling the stick shift and two others either sitting on laps or shoehorned into the already packed cargo area. Fun. But it's not just that someone is sitting on your lap, it's that the roads are like Humvee test tracks and your brain learns to be on constant alert, always trying to calculate where the next near-fatal blow will come from ... the window, the ceiling, your neighbor's elbow? Hard to tell. Fun. From here on out, I will ALWAYS think back to today's experience when I want to place a situation on a scale of comfort-discomfort.

Not all pissing and moaning though, I did have guinea pig today for both breakfast and lunch! Bless the indigenous population of the beautiful Andes of Southern Ecuador, BLESS THEM! (And regarding the picture above, yes those are little guinea piggy toes. Yum yum, better eat up before it runs off your plate! WHEEE!)

I hope it isn't too hard to make out in the photo.... here is one very short section of today's journey. That horizontal line on the ridge is where the road goes. Railings? Uh uh. Speed limits? Uh uh. Passing lanes or road signs or even functional seatbelts? Hahaha, you must be joking. If you imagine this same scene but at night and with a nearly impenetrable fog/mist/rain combination and a lot more oncoming traffic, that's what we had for the last two and a half hours of our trip. WHEEE!

Here's one of the schoolhouses we visited today. I think it's new, judging by how good the roofing tiles looked. Maybe it just had a new roof. Yeah that's more likely I suppose.

This is from yesterday. There is a little artesanal operation that makes sweets from fresh sugar cane and fruits and milk and stuff, and this is part of a trail that leads down the hill a bit from the actual place they make the goodies ... you can walk past the sugar cane right on the side of the trail. This place is about a two minute drive around the ridge from my site. Fun fact: The woman who started the business and whose name the business carries apparently lived to be 123 years old. One hundred twenty three. Wow. I asked her son, who now runs the place, what the secret was. He said just eat natural foods. I thought he was gonna tell me to buy a bunch of his candy! (I bought a bunch anyways, I like the ones flavored with guayaba...)

PS Forgot to mention it the other day with the last post about staying on the farm, but I milked my first cow on Thursday morning. And then I milked another one. And then I milked five more. For the record, I do not think that milking cows is my long-sought-after calling in life. I will not drop everything I am doing to go move to a one horse town on the Eastern coast of the Red Sea and milk cows until the last leaf falls from the mightiest oak in the forest. Feel free to email me for more details. Mountainjedi, over and out.

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