My former-but-always-and-forever-in-the-cuadra-of-my-heart site-mate Isabel is traveling through South America at the moment, and reading her blog is bringing back excellent memories of my short time in Ecuador, studying abroad in the winter of 2009. In particular, Isabel was recently in Baños, which reminds me of a particular incident on the slopes of a volcano back in that formative January. Looking back on it now, after a year in the lesser-developed Nicaragua, I wouldn’t even blink if this happened to me now, but it is still worth recounting.
A group of us were in Baños, a fun Ecuadorian town in the mountains, nestled under the active Tunguragua Volcano. One day we decided to rent ATV’s and take them up the trails of the volcano to soak it in and get a good view. On our way up my ATV was having trouble, and we had to pull over to figure out what was wrong. None of us had any idea, but luckily a local was walking along the road and he offered to help me out. And sure enough he was able to fix whatever was wrong and get us moving up the road again. After fixing it he asked if he could hitch a ride up the volcano on the back of my ATV, and I obliged.
As we were heading up further the volcano I couldn’t hear the other ATV’s as close behind me, so I turned back to check on them. They were keeping a distance from the hitchhiker and me, going slowly. When they saw me, they started making scared faces and chopping at the air with their hands. That when I saw a glimmering machete blade protruding out of my cargo’s backpack. There was nothing I could do at that point though, so we just kept on going.
Clearly, he was not a deranged machete murderer. We made it to a lookout point, and he even watched our ATV’s when we hiked up a little bit to get a nice view. The view was great at the top, and my friend took an excellent picture of me climbing a tree which looks like it is perched at the side of a precipitous volcanic precipice.
As I recall, after that we drove back on down to town without incident, volcanic, mechanical, machete-violence, or otherwise.
Incidents of Travel Past: