My First Real Ecuadorian Adventure

Let me first preface this story with some important information that will help you understand the context of the situation:

1. We don’t have cell phones yet. PC is taking us to get them this Saturday.  (Sidenote: incoming calls from the U.S. will be free, so let me know if you want my number =))

2. Because we slept in the training center the first few days, didn’t have training on Sunday, and my host mom drove me to and from the training center on Monday, yesterday was my first time taking the public bus home.

3. Ecuadorian buses are VERY crowded. They also don’t stop completely… they kind of just slow down so you can get/on off. You know, like rolling a stop sign. There is a set bus route, but the stops are never quite the same, because they stop or drop off when people ask them too in addition to the regular stops.It can be overwhelming.

4. My Spanish is not great yet.

Does anyone see where this is going yet?

Yesterday morning, my host mom showed me where the bus stop is. She also wrote down the name of the stop near our house- El Centro del Descuento. I got on the bus approximately half a block from my house. I thought great, its really close so I won’t get lost. (In case you didn’t know, I have no sense of direction). I noted the video store and hair salon near the stop so I would have landmarks to indicate when I should get off the bus. However, in the afternoon, I started to doubt myself. Other bus stops had a sign that read PARADA but I remembered from the morning that my corner did not. Then a bunch of volunteers got off infront of a school in an area I kind of recognized, so I got off too. I, along with 2 other volunteers, found our way home from that stop with almost no issues. I mean, sure we walked around a block twice, but hey, we all got home. My host mom was a little worried though. Apparently when I wasn’t back right when I should have been, she went looking for me, and she even asked other volunteers that she saw on the street if they knew where I was. But, you know, all is well that ends well.

That isn’t the adventure.

This morning, my host mother reminded me that I should get of at Centro del Descuento this time. I shook my head, and said “si, si, entiendo”. But it turns out I did NOT understand. I figured that yesterday, I must have gotten off one stop early, so today I would just stay on the bus longer. WRONG. So, so wrong. It turns out, the stop I had used yesterday was the right one; I just didn’t walk the right way which is why my host mom got worried. So today, I stayed on for another stop, but this took me farther from my neigborhood, and the driver announced that the next stop was Quito… you know the capital thats like 50 minutes away from my house/training center in Tumbaco. So I got off at the last Tumbaco stop with another volunteer, and we started walking back in the direction the bus had came. By this time, its about 6pm, and it gets dark here around 6:30. We have been strongly encouraged not to be walking around at night, since it is dangerous, especially for female foreigners. Soon, the other volunteer and I started to recognize certain things, and we thought we knew where we were going. Wrong again. We walked down the wrong street. So we tried another one… now it is really getting dark. We tried to ask for directions and people were friendly, but we didn’t have an actual address to give them, so it didn’t help a lot.  Finally, the other volunteer realized that we are very close to her house, but even though she walked by my house yesterday, we of course managed to bypass it today. Essentially, I have no idea where I am, its getting dark, and I have no cell. Welp, there was no way in hell I was wandering around by myself, so I went to the other volunteer’s house, and her host mom tried to call my host mom, but no one picked up (they were out looking for me, as it is now 6:45 and training ends at 5). The other volunteer’s host mom graciously offered to drive me back to that general area so we can find my house, and sure enough, about a 4 minute drive later, we approached my garage door, where my host mom was anxiously pacing back and forth.

I was kind of proud of myself in the way I handled things. Sure, the darker it got and the less people I saw on the streets, the more I started to worry. But by no means did I panic. I didn’t cry, or freak out… I was slightly frustrated and mostly concerned about my safety purely bacause of the time of day. Had it been earlier in the afternoon, I probably would have just kept walking until I figured it out.

And so ends my first Ecuadorian adventure.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sam Pelosi on June 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Thank god everything worked out! Also, I would love your number once you get it 🙂


  2. Posted by Liza T on June 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Katrina!! Oh my goodness, chica. My heart was racing reading this. You’re amazing. Keep it up and send along that number! I’m sure Jackie, Michelle and I will find some time to call tu telefono!

    Love, Liza


  3. Posted by MMM on June 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    kudos for not freaking out…wish i could say the same about the first time i got lost in the bronx hahaha. can’t wait for your next post! 🙂


  4. haha thanks ladies! No worries, Tumbaco isn’t THAT big! =)


  5. Posted by Mom on June 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Maybe you should pin “if lost please return to __________ (fill in the blank) on your back nest time you go out!


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