I´ve finally got the time to blog about my first 2 days in Ecuador. The manager of the internet place just asked me if I´m married, it´s not very unlikely that random strangers will make conversation with you by asking about your boyfriend or spouse. He said, “your boyfriend is in Ecuador?”. To which I said “America”.
I´m in a random hole in the wall internet cafe, except there´s no cafe. It´s called a “cabina”. I rode in a 5 hour bus to Tena from Quito today. What I´ve fortunately realized is that Ecuador is probably the most beautiful place on earth, and also the people are one of the kindest people on earth as well. Unlike the pre- warnings that “omg”, you are going to get robbed and beware of men there, men in fact, especially the older ones have been like papas to me. Today on the bus, I met a bus driver who helped me find a hostel and find my way around Tena. Then previously, a medicine salesman helped me get to the terminal and take the right bus to Tena. He was very kind, though I don´t understand why he said he wanted to see the movies with me when I already told him I had a boyfriend.
Having said, Ï paid 10 bucks to stay at a hostel. The hostel has a little gap above the door so you can hear what drama the owners are watching. The amazonias get really cold at night, though during the day, it´s like living 24-7 in a hot steam bath. I feel yucky. It feels like living in Taiwan. The night, the markets do resemble Taiwan markets from 15 years ago. Though Taiwan is now much cleaner and more modernized.
I was thinking about how I´m the only asian woman walking on the street. Sometimes you start to feel like an exotic animal that everyone stares at. Now I know how white people feel in Asia, except in this case, it´s an Asian in Ecuador. Staring is very normal it seems.
And private space doesn´t exist. Personal space? What? When people point to tell you something, they definitely cross your American space by bypassing the normal boundaries. Of course, I´m crossed and pissed. Though I´ve realized, hey, they are not the only ones. Sometimes they don´t stop talking until you tell them, ¨”I´m going to take a nap”.
This morning, I was freaking out about how I would get to Tena, I prayed. Then, when I was buying a 30 cent comb the medicine salesman happened to just be going there. Thank god! I would say, Ecuadorians are WAY more hospitable than people in LA. I mean no one in LA would take the time to help you. Plus, if you think about it, no one goes walking in Skidrow at night anyways. All the things you do at home, is what you would do in a foreign country.
Speaking of foreign, I hope that I never act foreign, besides the language barrier. I hope I´m never someone that treats local with disrespect and no offense, ¨”act really white”. I was analyzing and observing today, and thinking about what it means to be foreign. And of course, how everything my American friends warned me of, happens to be 99 percent not true. Of course, we have to be careful wherever we go, but my time in Ecuador, for the two days, have proven to be positive…..besides feeling like an exotic animal and the sometimes ¨freaking annoying remarks “cheennnnaaa” as in Chinese. Because the very idea that a Chinese would come from Los Angeles seems so foreign, I have to try really hard to be patient.
More to come….