Well, apparently my not voting and sequestering myself for the entirety of election day on a long-distance bus in a far-off country is the secret to democratic election success! who knew? Well you know you're really a pathetic excuse for an informed citizen when you get your election news the day after in the free quito public transit newspaper, and the headline reads "Gringos votan." Well, some of them did anyway. I had meant to vote and would have been able to get an absentee ballot sent to me but then I ended up traveling without an address to receive it at. Maybe 2008 will see me actually voting in my place of residence for candidates i know anything about! Or, I might be in Bolivia. Before I start planning my future how about i update you on the last few days.
My bus trip was quite uneventful, which is exactly what i was hoping for in taking a direct bus and not switching buses/companies, etc. Though shockingly (please note HEAVY sarcasm) it did not reach quito in 22 hours, but rather 29, and had left an hour late from trujillo at midnight exactly on monday night. Which put me in to Quito not Tuesday evening but Wednesday morning at 5 am. Good times with 2 nights and a full day on the same bus, with the same people. Some of my compañeros were seriously putting my journey to shame... that bus goes direct from SANTIAGO all the way to CARACAS!!!!! yuck. (check your maps.) At least expensive long-distance bus equals no skechy people stealing from me. (I'm happy to say i got through the whole trip without any loss or theft! I rock!) Though it was definitely not luxurious like the overnight bus i took from piura-lima, with bus attendants and food service and everything. Our greasy bus assistant guy in a wifebeater would have us stop somewhere random for a meal, with no set time to leave. So at some point 30 min-2 hours later most people would end up back on board and the bus would pull out. No head count, no roster checking. WIthout fail either someone woudl come running after the bus or someone would yell out "Falta!" and we'd stop to let the straggler on. That's one thing on a local bus, but i'm shocked no one ended up 2 countries behind their luggage! At least its always nice to travel on reserved buses where they don't stop every 2 minutes to let campesinos, school kids, chickens, etc. We went the stupid way, up the coast to guayaquil stopping at the horrible big border crossing instead of the better alternative i took going south. Most border crossings you exit one country, walk a nominal distance and enter the next. But in this case there's a bizarre no-man's land that took a good hour to drive across in between the borders! So if you aren't set up on a fancy bus like me, you end up easy prey for thieves, greedy taxi drivers, etc. Our excessive stopover in huaquillas actually didn't bother me to much because i was much too happy being back in ecuador! Just seeing pilsener, all the other ecuadorian products on display, made me way too happy. And i got sweet cheese empanadas for the first time in a month! and i got cell reception so as to send bored text messages to my roommates! After the border we proceeded to pass bananas for about the next 12 hours (no exaggerating... ecuador isn't the world largest exporter for nothing. i tried to estimate how many of those bananas belong to noboa. apparently he's attracting more ecuadorian voters by the day because his people spun some stuff about a giant lead in "the polls" and the commmon sentiment here is "no one wants to vote for a loser." great logic.) We did get 3 extensive police stops, every time we had to get out, show ID, have the luggage checked etc. Stupid drug trafficking route. It prob didn't help that our bus passes through both peru and colombia. I was only subjected to 2 horrible action movies (a chicano prison gang flic, complete with serveral dozen graffic deaths by file, comb, etc, and i can finally put a second tally next to the Seagal movie "Belly of the Beast!"), and the only movie i couldn't sit through and resorted to sleeping with headphones on, was Garfield 2.
My apartment was a sight for sore eyes, but after atrophying for 30 hours the last thing I wanted to do yesterday was sleep, so I set out to officially enjoy my trimphant return to ecuador. A partial list of my acheivements yesterday:
-all my favorite foods: almuerzo in my favorite spot, with my beloved cookies, pan de yuca and yogurt, dinner with becky at the pizza place, pilsener!
- singing with my choir! I felt sooo much better after singing again. That will be the hardest thing to leave in quito, after my fellow Rebeccas. They have lots of christmas concerts coming up, and a big christmas dinner, so of course everyone was trying to convinve me to stay. EVeryone was real happy to see me, and it was just liek old times - I felt like a musical genius all over again for remembering the christmas songs from last year and sight reading the new ones before eugenio even got aroudn to our part. Theres lots of new faces, which is great, and seem like cool people so im sorry not to get the chance to get to know them.
-visited the experiment, always get a nice homecoming there, even saw my little edison!, picked up my outstanding $6.50 (for the one hour i taught in september)
-went out with friends to a benefit for the womens prison - had some drinks and watched some salsa dancing.
-rolled into bed at midnight after watching another episode of the oc
Today I haven't been as ambitious, but I did write this epic blog entry. And I bought a plane ticket to the beach for tomorrow, so I am all set for some much deserved R and R in the sun. Traveling is hard work!