Sunday, May 30, 2010


You know you are on a bus in Ecuador when the seats are oversold and yet the driver still picks up passengers to stand in the aisles for hours of the journey. You can buy helado, ice cream, and other snacks from the vendors who enter and exit the bus without it coming to a complete stop. You have at least 3 close calls during each taxi ride. Motorbikes weave between cars stopped at stop lights. Horns are used as a warning that your driver is making a close pass. Speed limits, stop signs, and driving lanes are mere suggestions. You can buy a ticket for a town three hours away for three dollars and sixty cents. But the return trip takes you seven hours, due to holiday traffic and congestion. You see a car marked student driver and you think how is this ever possible? Young people juggle bowling pins and meat cleavers for change at stop lights. You can read lots of interesting graffiti, some of the most common being: (insert name here) te amo (I love you). Plane tickets can be rescheduled at boarding time, no fees added. You still see fliers for individual guitar lessons plastered to light poles. The cool kids still sit in the back of the bus. There is always music played on the system. Or on someone's cell phones. And oftentimes, both. There are party buses that don't have seats, but have loud stereos, disco balls, and party lights. The taxi driver hands you the newspaper on a long fare, so after you've read a story, he can discuss it with you. Children sing for change and sell candy on the trolly. Everyone claps when the plane lands. People sell lottery tickets, fruits, steering wheel covers and other random things at stop lights. Riding a taxi in Quito is as close to riding in a rocket ship as I will ever get.