Last Thursday morning we left our hotel at 8 in the morning so that we could make the six-hour trek to the Amazon. I was a little nervous about the twisty roads and the drive up to 12,000 feet above sea level, so I took a Dramamine (or two) to prepare for the trip. We made it to the Amazon around 2 Thursday afternoon, and about 24 hours later, we made the trip back to Quito.
So yes. We spent approximately 12 out of 36 hours on a bus.
That is, as my mother-in-law would say, “a lots.”
The good news is that I loved my fellow travelers, so it really was fun to hang out and visit and marvel over the gorgeous scenery together.
And as an added bonus, I learned some things.
I would be delighted to share some of those lessons at this juncture.
1. Opening the windows on an un-air conditioned bus is an excellent way to get some cool air moving around, especially in the mountains of Ecuador.
2. However, if you travel through Quito during rush hour, the smell of diesel fuel coming through said windows is somewhat overwhelming.
3. Also: if you should happen to be traveling with a manure truck either in front of or behind the bus, the combination of manure and diesel fumes will cause profound olfactory overload.
4. In the event that olfactory overload is combined with twisty roads and the sudden onset of car sickness, Melanie has some cat-like reflexes in terms of grabbing a plastic bag in the nick of time.
5. When one of my very best friends (see #4) gets car sick in Ecuador, I tend to say “I am so sorry” over and over again.
6. Kelly and I share a fascination with South American snack food products.
7. Kelly initially developed a strong loyalty to the Doritos Mega Queso, but we were both intrigued by another brand of chips which, interestingly enough, were simply called “Nachos.”
8. I found the Nachos to be way too heavy on the corn flavor and way too light on the cheese flavor. In fact, Amanda and I christened them “menos queso.” I was not a fan.
9. Ruffles in South America taste just like Ruffles in North America.
10. There is a certain comfort that goes along with Ruffles tasting like you expect them to taste. Especially when you’re a little homesick. And mildly car sick.
11. There is a South American snack called “Gudiz” that may be the most interesting food I have ever tried.
12. As best I could tell, Gudiz are pretty much Cheetos combined with Fruit Loops.
13. Seriously. You take a bite, and you’re like, “OH, it’s Cheetos” and then two seconds later you’re thinking, “WAIT. DO I TASTE STRAWBERRY?”
14. I never could figure out if Gudiz are a legitimate cereal or a snack food. Maybe they’re a snereal.
15. While Amanda, Kelly and I were discussing the merits of the various and sundry potato and/or corn chip options, I heard Shaun and Ann – who were sitting right behind us with Ann’s husband – discussing the book of Colossians.
16. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more shallow.
17. But still. Did you see the part about Gudiz tasting like Cheetos AND Fruit Loops?
18. Ann looks at everything in God’s creation with contagious wonder. Around hour three of our bus trip, I realized that I could listen to her talk about, oh, TREES for pretty much the rest of my life.
19. Given a fairly wide open expanse of time, I apparently like to talk about writing A LOT. NOT THAT PEOPLE ASKED OR ANYTHING. I just start to offer all manner of unsolicited thoughts and feelings. Because THAT’S NOT ANNOYING.
20. The Ecuadorian countryside seems to bring out a strong desire (in me, at least) to listen to Watermark’s A Grateful People album. Because I listened to it over and over. And over. And over.
And then I listened to it some more.
All righty. I’d better get back to the business of settling back into my normal routine.
(WHAT IS THIS THING YOU CALL “COOKING”?)
(I am unfamiliar with this concept.)
(Have a great day, everybody!)