Sunday, August 16, 2015

When Margaret wants to ride on a motorcycle in Ecuador....

Quito, Ecuador
It was on my way to Jorge's home from the airport in Quito when I knew that I wanted to ride on a motorcycle before I left Ecuador.

This was a request I mentioned many times Jorge and one that he definitely wasn't keen on making happen. I don't blame him. The roads of Ecuador alone are something of chaos. Lanes are ignored and turn signals are totally optional. Passing on two lane roads is the norm - even right before super tight corners at night.

Motorcycles are the filler of the roads. They weave in and out, pass however possible, and basically seem to make up their own rules.

I've gotten around on motorcycles (as a passenger) before and can't get over the feeling of it.

So, it I knew I wanted to ride here.

Days passed.
Nothing happened.
Jorge was wise and didn't make my lil' dream come true.

It was my final night in Ecuador and things were happening. Dancing was the other thing I wanted to do and it was up to me to make that happen to. My only experience dancing had been with Gato in Montañita. Dance montage!

It was great and all, but a few dances doesn't exactly satisfy a dancer's desire to dance for a four week time period. I wanted to dance more and it seems that Ecuadorians don't like to just dance on the fly like blues dancers. They want the proper music, proper time.

(this is a limited perspective 'cause I ain't seen all of Ecuador yet)

So it was my final night and I hadn't really gone out dancing yet.

After a meal of wings at Allita Banditas (so good, so good), I dashed out while the others finished to catch a bus. While waiting for the bus, an unmarked car pulled over.

The man said he was going to Quito and the older couple in the bus stop got in and told me to get in too. They said the buses weren't running any more (they were, I think) and for a dollar, he'd get me to Quito. For five dollars, I could get to my destination. That's a really, really good deal.

So yes, I got in the unmarked car.
The car of Luis! Luis who wanted to talk about lots of things -- things that I couldn't always get myself to care about enough to understand the Spanish. Listening to Spanish takes energy, for me, and I'm not always keen on using that energy at night.

In the end, yes, he got me to where I needed to go which was this "salon de salsa," or "salsatech."
To the Ecuadorians, it was a novel place because you could go there and dance with other people! This is novel to them because generally, in Ecuador, you go to a club and dance and the people you dance with are the people you came with, generally. You stay in your group.

Here, you can dance with anyone -- which is what I'm used it.

I was so confused, one night, when I asked someone to dance and he said, "I'm here with a girl."
My thoughts went along the lines of, "Yes, I know you're with a girl -- but I was asking you if you wanted to dance."

Just different cultures.

So here I was, and I got to dance.

I got to walk up to people say, "Hey! Want to dance?" and they said, "Sure!"
They got to say, "Dance?" and I'd say, "Uh huh!"
'cept all of that was in Spanish.

I wanted to dance with anyone and everyone.

(and there was a girl with a Seattle Sonics hat which sort of blue my mind)
(a whole group of folks from Seattle)
(I wasn't super fond of them)

The whole night was a blast and the Ecuadorians were wonderful.

At the end of the night, there was one man I asked to dance and he cracked up like it was hilarious. We danced through the next three songs switching between laughter and serious salsa faces. He bought me a beer and I talked with him and his younger friend.

It was time for him to go and that's when I saw he had a few jackets, one leather. Definitely for a motorcycle.

"You have a second helmet?" I asked.
"I want to ride with you."

I then had to explain to him that that riding on the back of motorcycles is something I greatly enjoy doing and that it was a goal of mine

He kept double checking that I knew what I was getting myself into. He also made sure I knew where I wanted to go and end up and that I knew he wouldn't go fast, despite what I wanted. He said with me on board, he would be driving safe.

Within minutes, I was whipping around downtown Quito in my little black dress, a big red helmet, and a leather jacket. I was definitely the happiest human on the block.

At the red lights, he'd ask, "Are you ok?"
"I'm so happy!" I would reply in Spanish.

I watched as the speedometer climbed up at 90 kph at times. Yes, he was driving safe. 40 kph over the speed-limit, yes, but safely. The red helmet kept perching itself on my head at awkward angles, but it was securely fastened.

Where did I want to end up? At Daniel's house. I met Daniel through Couchsurfing a week or two ago. We met to just hang out but I've seen him and his wonderful girlfriend, Karlha, more than once now. To get back to where Jorge lives would be $25. Daniel lived quite close to where I was dancing so I asked if I could crash his place. He said that was fine and we agreed to meet at midnight. He told me to take a taxi to be safe.

Heading down a main road, I saw a bridge Daniel and I had crossed two days before. From there, I was able to navigate us there.

We pulled up to see a car -- in side were Karlha and Daniel.
They weren't exactly expecting to see my face underneath the helmet.

So that's it! Two goals for Ecuador in one night, the last night.

Daniel is a selfless host. He insisted, insisted on sleeping on the group and on giving me the bed as he already had two surfers on his couch. Tucked away in his shirt, I slept so, so soundly that night. Morning was for lounging, meeting the other surfers, watching cartoons, lounging and being happy to just exist in a house in a large t-shirt and feel so at peace. Followed up with a walk to the market to get some guayusa and chiffles and then Jorge picked me up and took me home. At home we had lunch and then Doris, Marcel, and I went to give food to the Indigenous folks who are striking in downtown Quito.

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