Shock Value

Shocked that our gear shifter broke off again?  I’m not.  C’mon, Mechanic Joe fixed it for $3!!! Was I surprised that Captain parked in the wrong parking spot? No, if he hadn’t we wouldn’t have known for probably another 3 days. Shocked that Old Yeller dies at the end? Not anymore…

We had another business appointment early the next week.  It was crucial we get Yeller fixed in a timely manner. Captain and I were back in Ecuador on South American time-is there such a thing as timely?  It was Friday at 3PM.  If the mechanic hadn’t started drinking yet, he surely would be soon!  C’mon-it’s Friday~Fiesta Time!!! Here in Ecuador, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all party days.  Monday is recovery day and Tuesday is for easing back into the work week.  Wednesday, now that is a really productive day!  Thursday…that is the day to start preparing for the weekend all over again!

As you may know, South Americans celebrate everything! There must be a holiday every week.  It just so happened that this week’s holiday fell on Wednesday. Who knows? Another week could pass before Old Yeller was put back together!

We were given the keys and made our way up to our new home for the next month.  Our last 3 months were spent on the 37th floor in a downtown Chicago apartment.  I left my high standard of living the moment we departed from the US.  To reach our place at the top, we climbed five flights of stairs.  “We must be in the penthouse suite!!!”  By no means am I mocking the standard of living in Ecuador but do not come here with US standards or you will be disappointed…

Captain and I were very pleased with the apartment and appreciate the view of the city but mostly the ocean view.  After 3 long days in Quito, a business meeting, one night’s stay in Canoa and several hours of traveling on us, I just wanted to chill out and enjoy the view…but we had to get Old Yeller to the Car Doctor right away!

Old Yeller was put in neutral and pushed out of the parking spot.  Captain whacked him into third gear and we sputtered down the main strip.  I was praying we would see the mechanic soon…Old Yeller began stinking of burnt clutch.  “There it is—Dr. Car!” I yelled as I spotted the sign for the mechanic, thankfully on the same side of the road as Yeller.

My Spanish is improving with immersion and our continued efforts with Rosetta Stone.  Often I find it is difficult to convey what I wish to say without a large Spanish vocabulary. In a situation like this though, it took few words to explain our symptoms to The Doc.  Old Yeller is such a simple build, the MD had no problem taking him apart and doctoring him up.  With only the expensive U.S. mechanical labor in mind, I was amazed when our bill was only $35. That was probably the inflated gringo price too!

***

My initial visit to Ecuador was a major culture shock but it is easy to call it home now.  What I never imagined was the culture shock I would experience going back to the US: fast paced lifestyles, high stress jobs, dramatic politics and frightening media…the excessive tendencies of US citizens is equally as shocking as the ridiculousness I see regularly of Equatorianos.

This is a common trend here on the streets of Ecuador.  I don’t know what to say about this because it is terribly shocking that anyone could ever think this is ever appropriate.  Please share your best caption for this absolutely ridiculous photo and I will be sharing the most hilarious with you all next week…

Though it is so easy for us to point out our differences, I hope people can come together and see really how much we all have in common.  We all have a heart with an electric current that flows throughout to keep it beating every second of the day.  Many of us have hearts that skip a beat, others have a heart that beats a little fast and some even have a device implanted to correct the poor ‘wiring’ of their heart’s electricity.  Despite the differences, we all have a heart and the need for love.

***

Often, my anxious ego says, “what are you doing here? Who leaves the US to move to a third world country? What are you thinking? Imagine all the things you are leaving behind!” The Universe is so supportive and replies to my ego in subtle ways.  Sometimes the Universe is so subtle it is difficult to hear in a shocked state…

…A few days back, when our business plans took longer than expected, we stayed in Canoa for the night before making it to Atacames. We took our backpacks up to the room and I belly-flopped onto the bed.  My plan for the night was to lie right there and not move until the next morning!  Captain had been driving ALL day, so when he asked me to go get the internet code, empathetically, I agreed.  Having just laid down, I told him he was going to have to wait a few if he wanted me to go down the three flights  of stairs we just climbed…he decided it wasn’t worth the wait and went down himself.  When he took longer than expected, my mind began worrying that something was wrong.  Any longer and I would have made my way out to find him.  Moments later, I heard Captain’s feet on the stairs.  “What took you so long? I was getting worried.”  Captain says, “There is some guy down there from Indiana!” Indiana being my home state I wondered, “What are the odds?”  I felt compelled to go speak with the Hoosier but I was exhausted and only wanted to rest.  I lay there smiling…the Universe never ceases to amaze me!

 

Captain was pecking away at the computer when he grumbled, “The code didn’t work. The girl typed it in for me so now I don’t know what it is and can’t get on the internet…” Okay Universe!  The Universe clearly wanted me to go meet this Hoosier!  I made my way downstairs.

I approached the lone man sitting at the tiki table.  Sure enough, he was a down-to-earth, friendly Hoosier.  Our conversation flowed; we began sharing synchronistic events and shocking tales when the Hoosier confessed.  “Yeah, this is the second time I am meeting a Hoosier today! A few hours ago, I was introduced to a family visiting Ecuador from H-Town, Indiana…”

“H-Town is where I was born and raised!” I replied with bewilderment.

Shocked? No longer am I when crazy things like this happen.  I have come to realize this is the Universe telling me I am right where I need to be and it’s all going to be alright.

Moments later, I heard out our window Captain holler, “What’s the code?!?” My conversation with the fellow Hoosier was so intriguing I forgot I was getting him the internet code! Whoops…Captain wasn’t shocked I had forgot.

***

After a long day of traveling, all Captain wanted to do was take a nice hot shower.  Hot showers are rare in rural parts of Ecuador so when we found a hostel advertising hot showers we were shocked…

Captain was stunned when he saw what them meant by ‘hot showers’…

All I was thinking was, “where is the nearest AED because that is asking to be electrocuted!”  When Captain turned on the water, he felt a subtle wave of electrical current in his fingertips and decided a shower wasn’t worth the risk.

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