Exploratory Trip to Ecuador May 2010 (Time to wrap it up)
Shit man, it's getting close to a month. Where's my replacement passport?
After several emails to the Embassy in Quito, we are told that the passport is on its way to Bahia by private courier. It will be delivered to the DHL office in Bahia. We keep dropping in, and the man keeps telling us that he will call us as soon as he gets it. I'm getting nervous.
World Cup Soccer is in full swing in South Africa. Most of the uncivilized world is watching the games. The DHL office is closed. What? My friend gets tired of waiting but suggests that I hang around alone while the office manager tries to track the clerk down. Long story short, the courier showed up at the same time the clerk did (i.e., just after the game ended) and I did get my passport on this -- the -- day before I plan to leave for Quito.
Back on the bus. a 6 hour drive up the mountains. Grab a taxi at the North Terminal (man this place really creeps me out now). Make it to the hostel. First thing in the morning the next day, I take a cab to the airport. Check my luggage in. Get on the airplane. And, Good F'ing Bye to Ecuador.
Back in Panama City, switch planes again. Will the luggage make it this time? It is too big to take onboard, otherwise -- believe me -- I would have. While waiting for the next flight, read some brochure about Hard Rock Cafe condos for sale. The small print essentially says that they are renting the Hard Rock name for the promotion (scam?). Fly to Houston, no problem. Wait until I get on my flight to Austin. Ah, it's good to be back home. Where's my luggage? It didn't make the switch at Panama. C'mon! I pick it the next day, and we're done.
What have I learned from this? I think there's a "bwana complex" that makes some people search out rustic places. There, one is taller than the locals, richer than the locals, better traveled, "smarter". Think about it: you can buy a double-wide trailer home, park it in a rural camp ground with a septic tank, be nowhere near a hospital, etc. and what's the difference? Okay, you would have clean running water, and no language barrier, and less crime (maybe?). But, essentially, you will be getting what you are paying for, although you would not have that superiority factor.
As for me, I'm now looking for somewhere a bit more like home: Spain in 2011.