No Regrets, Just Lessons Learned!!
People drive tricked-out ’91 Ford Probes in Quito. It’s a Probe-prone part of the globe.
Can you guys believe that Puck, from Glee, is releasing a solo album? Two weeks ago I took a midnight bus to Ecuador’s coastal Esmeraldas province, home to a vibrant Afro-Ecuadorian population in addition to a vibrant community of approximately 100,000 stray dogs, all of which seemed to be in heat or in pursuit of one currently ovulating. The plan was to rendezvous with Henry Rossoff ’12 in the city of Esmeraldas and head south along the coast, updating the shit out of my company’s Ecuador guidebook.
You see, our information regarding the best dining and lodging options in the area was a bit out of date, and it was time for a check up from Dr. Eli and his Grecian assistant Henry. On the second day of our wandering, lustful travels, we arrived safely in Sua, a broken-down port. Men teauing boats in the surf; strays, canine satyrs copulating (anagram intended); the bumptious sea birds’ screeches mingled with the gringo-heckling locals to jeer in unison the two queer-looking, lanky Yankees and their spermy epidermises.
More painful than the mild species and racial-stereotyping was the rather serious laceration I sustained while tossing about in the froth and cream of a mighty ocean (what unknown volcanic castles erupt out of its depths every day!) with my assistant, Henry. I should’ve been more proulx’d! Poor Mangled Mangold had to hobble around amongst the labyrinth of sand-trap hotels for four (fore!) days.
Equatorial night brought no relief for the lone, limping gringo and his impatient companion. Malarone-warped dreams, the distant waltz-shuffle of reggaeton and kids with air-soft guns tucked against their juvenile mons pubises caused my culture-shocked brain and shell-sliced foot to swirl in exotic delirium. I was wound up tight. My wound oozed blood into the gauze like a PB&J soaking through a crushed lunch bag… I felt like an animal trapped in a parked car. I ate, I slept, I had visions of failure. CELS counselor Deb’s face appeared in the stars above the Pacific, her eyes glared down at me in a mixture of admonishment and pity.
I had responsibilities. I had to update the content! It took a full day to get out of my slump and regain my well-bred East Coast composure. No teats to suck on, no milk of human kindness to nourish poor Eli. With as much integrity and motivation as a unipedal unpaid intern could muster, I meticulously walked door-to-door in five cities and towns.
Although I had a slight-but-affable handicap, this was no William H. Macy straight-to-VHS charmer. In broken Spanish I inquired—often in an extremely-interrogative way that put many receptionists and maître-d’s ill at ease—as to how much the cheapest rooms were, moments after asking what the most expensive ones were, and immediately before asking to inspect “oh, just a normal, average room.” I must admit that my behavior was, to most, pretty erratic. But I was not a happy camper. Eventually the job was completed, to the best of my impaired abilities.
From the turpid and torrid coast, the grizzled pair headed back to the Andes—specifically the alpine gringo-playground known as Baños—for a 48-hour vacation. Eternally verdant, diurnally vernal, with a climate of perpetual spring and surrounding hills almost vertical, Baños sits snugly between an active volcano, Tungurahua, and a gorge carved by a 40 ft. wide snake-like body of water with rushing water about 120 miles long. It might’ve been a river, but I’d have to double check. Faced with the daily reality of potential pyroclastic flows juxtaposed with almost-unreal physical beauty, the town of Baños has one of those myopic tropical vibes, like so much of Central and South America. Plate tectonics have not been kind to Latin America. We need to stop them!
This reminds me of the earthquake—originating 144 miles beneath the Ecuadorian Amazon—that occurred this morning at 6:54 am, local time. Had the tectonic shift occurred closer to the surface, the damage could have been devastating to my adopted city, Quito, only 109 miles from the epicenter. Thank god all 6.9 units registered on the Richter scale (a loaded number, to be sure) of this geological hanky-panky stayed beneath the Earth’s crusty covers. Otherwise, my orgasmic return to the Land of the Free would’ve likely suffered from what a Viennese witch-doctor described as “coitus interruptus.” What kind of psychological effect would it have on this poor valetudinarian, if he was withheld from cumming loudly and graduating with similar credentials?
Stay tuned, my Arcadian academics.