Ecuador, My Life In The Jungles- The Sequel 1

This day brings into remembrance of my time in Ecuador. I wrote about my first leg of the trip on Kiss From The World but of course, time and perspective holds even more colorful stories.

As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep because it’s 7am on a Saturday, I suddenly saw myself on a truck riding to the jungles of Tena. My mind replayed my trip in vivid details as if to remind me of all the adventures I’ve had in my life. For some reason, people accuse me of my inexperience and youth because I look young….but if they heard what I’ve been through. But it’s really none of their business.

So here goes.

Backpacking solo as a women.

  1. Do research, but don’t RESEARCH TOO much. Don’t ask too much of other peoples’ opinions. It was my first time backpacking in a “3rd world country”. My last backpacking trip before Ecuador was Australia. I asked a few Asian women and was filled with more fear than excitement. My boyfriend at the time gave me pepper spray and told me to hold onto it at all times. My experience was contrary to those opinions…I met the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met.

A kind man offered to help me translate, my Spanish was quite broken. I finally arrived at a local hotel, it was $10 a night with 2 beds. One for me, and one for my backpack. The plastic walls separated me from the grandma who owned the hotel and was watching some drama. I could see the technicolor bouncing to my wall, as if to welcome me. My bed sheets were thin and crinkled from the 1970s and hot red florals covered my second bed. Please excuse the quality, I don’t think I had an Iphone back then.

My days in the city of Tena was a blur but after visiting my sponsored child, I roamed the streets and attempted to eat street food without getting sick. I was successful. Ecuadorian salsa is BUENO. Almost as good as Mexican salsa out here in LA. They also love animal innards, and as a Taiwanese person, I could get with that, no problemo.

I decided to visit the jungles, there was another $10 hotel over there. I asked my new buddy whether he wanted to go with me. He was hesitant as he was very American, even though Ecuadorian American…and also he had gotten robbed once at an Ecuadorian bar. Oh I meant, he got roofied and robbed, and woke up in the bushes without his Iphone or wallet. So he was pretty petrified at the thought of going with a strange Asian woman to another city hours away.

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First we were to wait in front of my hotel for a yellow taxi. We waited. 1 hour, 2 hours. Wow. Okay, we called a few times and finally taxi came.

Second, we were dropped off at a bus station where tons of people played volleyball or was it basketball, I can’t remember. Now, we were transported into a truck but we had to wait for the tour guide. Now, this was another hour or so.

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The trip took 2-3 hours, riding on dirt, rocks and rickety paths. Towards the end, we were pretty much off-roading and the sky was getting dark. We finally parked and the tour guide took out his flashlight. In these photos I think they were carrying gas into the hotel.

We walked into the jungle and I thought “that’s it, I’ve met my time of death”. (No, actually I was a lot more positive back then since I was young and inexperienced (LOL)). A huge castle jungle house appeared before my eyes.

I was in heaven.

The individual rooms were not fancy, but it was enough. Mosquitoes roamed around me as I quickly sprayed myself. The bathrooms had concrete gray walls and straw walls surrounded me in the bedroom. All I could hear was birds, bugs, snakes and whatever else was out there. I could feel my soul spreading into the jungle and saying hi to each creature. I was becoming one with the earth. 

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The one part of the jungle that had reception was on this outdoor patio on the second floor. You had to put your phone on one point of a statue.581041_10151770635875603_255176119_n

The next day, I was expecting my friend to be there but after some looking and asking, I found out he had left. YEP, I am not kidding. My new friend left the jungles early in the morning, I think he was SO scared by the whole journey that he decided to leave. 

And yes, he was a male person. And yes, I am a female. And it just so happened I was the only person staying there. So I had a whole castle to myself. SO please LORD, do not judge people based on gender.

“hey what the fuck? you left?” -me on the phone.

“yes, well my mom needed me for something, so I had to leave right away”

“oh okay, whatever. Have fun!”- me

So my friend for the next few days was the tour guide, who I was not paying because I did not want to go on a tour. However, as a friend he still showed me a few things like how to cut down cocoa.

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He had escaped from a life of American gang -hood to live in the jungles. He saw friends get shot, and the most horrific of all, children being trafficked in crates. There was nothing he could do about it because he could get gunned down right there and then. This was no Narcos, this was real life. Then we talked about Jesus and I showed him how to hear from Him directly. Jesus and gangsters all in one day.

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To be continued…..

Fanta and Rice Breakfasts, Hot Summer Humid Nights in Ecuador

Hi Friend!

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….

Love, bekka