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?

31/01/2008

Goin my way?

G-Unit, as I'll call him, is a Swedish dude who contacted me the other week through Couchsurfing.com asking if he could stop by Zaruma and hang out for a little while.  I said sure.  Over a day and a half we went on some hikes through rain and mud, poked around abandoned mines, ate good food, and spoke with some "authentic" people.  Good times, and what's perhaps the best part of meeting someone new is the new perspective thay can leave on you.  In his case, it was his admirable independent travel experience and innate trust of others.  To get to Zaruma he'd hitchhiked from peru with a family for more than 8 hours.  Niiiice.  So this morning he was heading to Cuenca and I was heading to Guayaquil to pick up my father, special guest code named Silver Bear ... instead of hopping a bus like I would normally have done, we decided to hitch and see where we got.  Literally 30 seconds of walking on the stret heading out of town he hopped in the back of a pickup and I followed suit.  We were ripping the moist air all the way to Machala without having to pay ni un centavo. (That means free.)  Made me wonder why I EVER pay for a ride anywhere around here, and that got me to thinking about how conditioned we all are to what's right, to what's safe, etc.  So there we were screaming with the mighty wind shredding at our faces, past mudslides carrying whole treese across the road with them, where drivers pas eachother on blind curves when the weather is GOOD, and here it's misty and maybe gonna rain and all we can do is laugh and snap photos of Zaruma, the mountain town receding in the distance like a piece of gray driftwood getting pulled by the tide into a green sea.  The driver dropped him off at the "Y" or roundabout so he could stick his thumb out for a ride 9,000 feet up to Cuenca, the nicest large city in Ecuador.  I stayed in the back, ready to finish the ride to Machala "a dedo."  Now, after a lunch of chicken foot soup and fried fish, fresh fruit juice, and rice...I'm here thinking I'd better update the blog at least a little bit.
 
Time is running out.  For so many things.  Let's not get into my current thoughts on civilization and its chances for long term survival.  How about more proximate topics, such as my time in Ecuador.  I'm hoping to leave mid-March, then be on the PCT with the Chuffmate by late April.  That leaves me just a few more weeks here, one of which will be spent visiting another good volunteer friend living in the Galápagos Islands.  For a while I wasn't that excited to visit them, thinking that I've seen some great beaches in my life and that I didn't want to add to the destruction of a true ecological treasure with my presense.  Also, I tend to dislike it when something is SO hyped that you can't sem to hear about anything else.  Well, I did visit Machu Picchu, so my POV is already skewed.  I suppose that after hearing it enough times, the Galápagos became one of those things that reminded me of how little time is left here, and that if I was EVER going to see them, this was as good a time as any.  So keep an eye out for that in early March.
 
Yesterday I held a gold ingot worth nearly $20,000.  That's a strange feeling, to have that much material wealth just lying like a shny lump in your hand, heavy with responsibility for so much good and so much bad.  Zaruma exists because of that precious metal, Indigenous people were displaced, enslaved, and killed for that metal.  They still are.  The biggest five story house with its shiny Ford 4x4 truck in the driveway exists because of a system in place to reward those who do whatever it takes to get this metal out of the ground.  So does the smallest hovel with crumbling stick and mud walls and leaky tile roof.  Schools, hospital, stores, restaurants, they all owe their livelihoods to the fact that the place on Earth called Zaruma is relatively abundant with vestiges of little yellowish glints in the rivers, in the soils, I am here because of the gold, and I wonder what will be here once the gold is gone.
 
Back up to a few weeks ago.  The night before New Year´s eve, or was it New Year's Eve itself?----three of us loaded some backpacks and headed up Cerro El Aguacate (the avocado) to camp overnight.  Even though it rained a good deal of the night, we had a splendid time communicating with the natural world from the bugs and the fruits to the mushrooms and the leaves, the twitching leaves that made us twitch too.  So difficult to describe adequately, but there are ways that we can listen to what the Earth says around us, and I'm interested in learning more about those ways, and even more interested in listening to what the Earth says. It's an urgent message I think.
 
Christmas was a small affair at my counterpart's house.  I made a salad and they made the other salads and the roast bird, nearly the same meal they served on my birthday just a few days ago.  Time passes and if we don't appreciate it passing we miss out on a great gift of life, the opportunity to bear witness to our own lives, to be present in our own lives.  Every moment is special.
 
A great friend (and fiend) from before high school and beyond came to visit for 12 days recently and we did some nice traveling.  I'll post some of the many photos from the visit sometime. Would like to say when exactly but all I can say is that it will be in the future....heehe. Let's all get on with our lives again, and thanks to everyone who wrote me a nice little note on my birthday.  I really appreciate it.
 
Follow the path that you find before you, in the direction that makes the most sense for you.  Boy that sounds so trite.  Should have deleted it. = )  Ciao.
 
 

 

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