We got home Sunday evening to our own jungle of sorts. The grass was tall and needed mowing The laundry pile was even worse than the grass. Our last tour guide dropped us off at the airport at 6 PM on Saturday and we flew out at 5:30 AM Sunday. Crazy, but that is the way it worked out. We arrived in Dallas Sunday around 1:30 PM and drove to WF to pick up Ranger (the perro) and arrived home about 6 PM - 24 hours of traveling. As tired as we were, we had to unload the car, unpack the bags, and sort through the laundry and all the items that we bought while in Ecuador. We gotter done. Sleeping in our own bed was most wonderful. Yesterday was spent catching up on things around here. Toby mowed the grass while I did laundry and cleaned house. How does a house get dirty when no one is home? Spiders and creepy-crawlies are not my favorite. I killed two scorpions. Not good. And thanks to the airplane ride, estoy un poco enferma (sore throat). Maybe we should have stayed in Ecuador.
Let me start with this. Ecuador was a beautiful country with a wide variety of landscapes and people - all of which were great to us. We had a wonderful time. At no time did we feel threatened or worried - overwhelmed, maybe (quizas - my favorite Spanish word due to how is sounds in English). Although we had listened to our Spanish CD's and made it all the way to Leccion ventiocho (lesson 28), we were no where near ready to speak to Ecuadorians. It did come in handy and I was glad we had listened to the Spanish lessons, but it was overwhelming to realize how little we knew the language. Our first hint that we would have problemas with the language came on the plane when the pilot made announcements. As we taxied down the run way in San Salvador, the pilot spoke a whole string of Spanish. I looked at Toby and said, "Did you understand any of that?" Toby answered, "Yeah, I think he said something about a chicken." We both laughed. But when the pilot got to the end of the runway and made a U-turn to start the take-off, Toby and I looked at each other, and Toby said, "Maybe he really did same something about chicken."
At the airport in Quito, which is new and quite nice, no one spoke English, but we were able to pick out words here and there and did fine. Manuel and Rosa, our driver and his wife for the first half of the trip, met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. Neither spoke any English, and we had some pretty funny incidents because of it. We spent our first day walking around Quito (more on that later). Then Manuel and Rosa picked us up to take us to Puyo - a six hour drive. For the most part we rode along in friendly silence - each speaking to their own spouse. M stopped several times for us to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. He stopped in some little town so we could try some local ice cream - helado. Toby wolfed his down, but I took longer. When I tried to say that I was slow - despacio - Rosa just looked at me. I said it several times and tried charades. She and the ice cream lady just looked at me and probably thought I was really slow - in the head.
The next big misunderstanding came when we got to the hotel in Puyo. Toby tried to pay M & R, but they said, "Una hour" and "comer," which we took to mean that they were going to eat and would be back in one hour. We went in the hotel restaurant and ate, but M&R did not show up. We drank a beer - still no M&R. It was while we were drinking a beer that a family of indigenous folk turned up. The man went inside the restaurant while his family waited. Then the man came out and spoke to us. Who knows what he really said, but what we gathered was that he was friends with Jo (Jesse's professor whom she was with in the jungle) and that they were not coming out of the jungle til tomorrow. So we went to take a nap and wait on M&R. About 5 PM, M&R showed up. We had just tried to explain that Jo was not coming out of the jungle until manana, when Jo, Jesse, and their entourage came roaring up in a truck/taxi. Obviously we were wrong about what the indigenous man said. Oh well. It was mass confusion at that point with English and Spanish flying - introductions being made, plans being laid, and explanations running rampant. Part of the group headed off to the jungle (more on that later) and part of the group went to take hot showers. Then we all met back in uno hora to go eat pizza. I have to say that the pizza place in Puyo was maybe the best pizza I've ever had - go figure!
I have more confusion stories and adventures, but I will save them for tomorrow.
We were standing on a bridge far above the bridge you see down below. A girl bungee jumped from the upper bridge while we were standing there. Crazy! Can you see the "canopy" or gondola thang - another crazy! Me, taking it all in.