Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lost, exhausted and no room for you!

After sleeping in the coziest, smallest room with the softest pillow, in a small hostel called Macondo, I feel like writing. I left bolivia 15 days ago  (written July of 2006) to travel for 2 months in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. I am falling in love with Latin America again. A year ago I was considering going back to the US and after much thinking I decided to go South instead of North. I am so glad I did! Ecuador has been simply awesome: walking the colonial narrow streets filled with magnificent buildings in Quito, while pouring rain fell on me! Exploring the deserted beaches of Galapagos where lazy sealions soak up the sun while the young ones swam up to our boat to greet us, playfully circling and jumping out of the water. Wandering around Guayaquil in the old barrio of Peñas I stumbled into the coolest eatery. A family began a business by literally opening their house to sell food, with children running around and a teen daughter with her boyfriend sitting on the steps chatting. I had a succulent rice/beans/steak dinner in their dining room while the mother watched her telenovela (soap opera). I love observing people wherever I go. The two 5-year old girls sitting on a balcony playing with their friends on the sidewalk. The lady surrounded by flowers wearing a white baseball hat selling roses in a corner street. The old man dancing in the park while a fireworks tower is lit up to celebrate la "cuencania".  As I observe others I also observe myself: my attitudes, my beliefs, my dreams. Yesterday when I arrived in Cuenca things were not going well. The hostel I wanted had no vacancy, the lunch I bought was tasteless, then I got lost carrying my heavy backpack in a hot day looking for another hostel. I was exhausted after a 4 hour bus ride and 2 hours looking for a place to stay. At some point walking down the street I said to myself: things will get better, just relax, this is part of the journey. I spotted an internet café and got online because I had gone to every hostel in my Lonely Planet and none had room.  After a quick search online I found Macondo. Macondo is a beautiful old mansion converted into hostel. I got the tiniest room you can imagine, but it had the best bed and pillow! The luscious garden was outside my window. I took a delicious nap and when I woke up I went out to wander the streets with new energies. I found a little mom and pop cafe where I had an amazing steak sandwich and yummy hot chocolate. As I walked back to the hostel I saw lots of people on the streets and I realized I had come to town during a major festival! In the main plaza a dangerously flimsy fireworks tower was the amusement of hundreds of people. A drunk dude danced and dodged the fireworks in the plaza making everyone laugh every time he almost got burned. The fireworks were humble but you could see the joy on people's face, especially the children. It was the perfect ending to a rough day. As I watched the kids run around, the people strolling and laughing, I was reminded of a vital lesson: when things get tough, keep a positive attitude, don’t quit, take a deep breath, keep going and you may find fireworks where you did not expect them. 
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