Thursday, July 1, 2010


By Alex

People travel for all sorts of reasons. In general it usually boils down to a few ideas: to learn about the world, explore, expand ones personal outlook while learning about yourself and your capabilities, to party and my personal favorite, to save the world.

Lately I have been learning about patience.

Everything takes immense amounts of time. Waiting in a market to buy food, time, waiting for the people to make you a refreshing cocktail, a painful amount of time, trying to catch a bus, unknown amount of time and currently waiting for Fernando and a whole host of other mechanics and middle men to call us back with a used but quality Cylinder Head, an excruciating amount of time.

Two days ago my patience was wearing thin and my stress level was dangerously high. I sat in the seat behind our mechanic in Puerto Lopez and watch him meticulously take our small diesel engine apart piece by piece. As each bolt hit the bucket a knife hit my heart. I knew nothing good was going to come from this.

He finally got the last bolt off the engine and pulled the Cylinder Head off the block. Oil drained onto the floor along with my soul as I got the first look at the damage. Even to my untrained eye I knew we were fucked. The gasket was blown to pieces one cylinder was pushed awkwardly through; the others were black and cracked in about ten different places.

I paced the mechanics yard while the others joyfully strolled the streets dreaming we would be back on the road in a couple of hours. Fuck, fuck, fucking hell was all I could mutter. Guilt poured through my body and questions erupted in my brain. My lack of Spanish was wearing on me. All I wanted was some answers from the mechanic, but there was little hope in that.

Alaena soon arrived all bubbly, toting a bag of empanadas and some fruit for me. She quickly translated what I already knew. We needed a new Cylinder Head.

I decided to take the 20 minute walk to town to cool my steaming anger and tell the others our disastrous news. They took it with a surprising positive response. Tom had already located a hostel and the others were stoked to catch a public bus to other places surrounding Puerto Lopez.

I on the other hand was not so alighted. I’m not the most pleasant person to be around when I’m angry at the world. I began to feel very bad for Alaena, who decided to stay with me on the bus for the night, as I cursed everything from the pollo lady on the street, to our fucking dog who won’t listen, to Fernando and myself for letting this happen.

The next morning Aleana and I awoke in the dark and boarded a bus to Manta with our mechanic in search of parts. After two hours of searching there was no luck. It just so happened the only matching Cylinder Head within Kilometers was sold the day before.

As Zach casually hitch hiked to go chase the girls and save the world one unneeded and over priced jungle gym at a time we boarded a bus to Quito.

10 hours of excruciating heat then cold, ten thousand venders all trying to sell us the same disgusting food and what ever happened to fall off a truck that week and a million stops latter, Alaena and I decided it was worth every penny we had to never have to ride a public bus again.

We walked into the Guayunga Hostel in Quito and ran into Tor, he greeted us with huge hugs and we laughed about this unfortunate but comical chain of events. In typical Tor fashion he invited us to a roof top party. We declined, the bus ride had took its toll and we needed some rest for the next day.

It has been two hours since we first contacted the mechanics, middle men and everyone else we have met in this arduous journey of owning a bus and still no word. I’m sitting at a computer with a painful bout of the stomach flu and Alaena is feverously calling Fernando. We are beginning to get good at this patience thing.

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