Ecuador: Guayaquil

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walking up la cima: 2015

Crossing over the border from Peru to Ecuador is a breath of fresh air for my eyes. Lush green tropical vibes and storm clouds brewing. I love it so much. Like a summer storm in Queensland, i can feel the humidity building up, the promise of clouds darkening until they reach bursting point, exploding into juicy fat drops of water that fall down, breaking the tension. The dryness of the Peruvian coastline was wonderful because it made me reach inside myself to access the hidden lakes and reservoirs, but after two straight weeks of 50 shades of brown, my soul is parched. North-Western Queensland is where i was born, and even in that dry landscape, there are summer storms. The colour green and lots of water. I need to fill my belly with its’ cleansing abundance.

The energy shift is brutal. Where in Peru I felt like a square peg in a round hole, here I fit. The people that I meet feel softer, which is probably because at the end of absolutely every utterance is “mi amor” or “mi corazon” or “mi nina”- the words love, heart and child are woven into the language, softening everything. My mother scoffs at this, saying that it is fake and overly romantic- too dramatic, and sometimes i feel it too. But, sometimes I also think we speakers of Castellano are just that little bit too uptight…Walking in Guayaquil I am overcome by the feeling that I am going to love my experiences in Ecuador. This city is big enough to be metropolitan, but at the same time it feels like a big town. It is vibrant, noisy, colourful. There is a wonderful promenade along the river (called the Malecon 2000), which I thoroughly enjoy exploring. Here I find interesting sculptures, a children’s playground featuring an old-school merry-go-round, a museum, and a beautiful garden. There are all sorts of things for the walker to enjoy. Another nice thing to do is walk up cerro santa anna, a multicoloured mound of houses and winding streets, topped by a lighthouse and a chapel. Once I get to the end of the malecon, i start the walk upwards. Not long after, i pause for a few minutes to listen to the sounds of the street. Directly in front of me, a man sits inside huge french doors, shucking corn…..

craaaaaaack……………………………………………………………………craaaaaaaack……………………………………………….craaaack………………………………………………………craaaackcraaack……………………………………………………………….he does this everyday activity as he listens to music that sounds like fado on craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack…………………………craaaaaaaaaaaaaack………………..craaaack……………………………………….pumping out from another house up and behind where cornman is sitting, comes the competing sounds of pachanga, except here, in this setting, this music that i usually can’t listen to for more than two minutes, is a lively companion to corn-man’s selection. i stand there, listening to the ways the different rhythms complement each other, how they weave together to create a perfect feeling that describes my happiness that moment….

Walking up the cerro, the path snakes its’ way through a community of people living on the hill. I see more than one inflatable swimming pool housing splashing kids, more than one bar selling beer, more than one shaved ice stand. I stop at one and in exchange for $1, i am handed a mound of shaved ice in a cup that has been drizzled with an assortment of brightly coloured syrups. The shaved ice, or more to the point, the multicoloured cocktail of chemicals, sugar, food colouring and preservatives that are poured over the top, are curiously mind-altering. I feel like i’ve just drunk perfume. Before getting to the top i stop for lunch, which consists of pork, rice, and beans, and a strawberry flavoured soft-drink. I am fully aware that my consumption of sugar in the past few weeks has reached disgusting proportions~ but there is a method to my madness. I know that the medicine will purge me and that after my trip to the jungle i will have to stick to a strict “no red meat, no sugar, no coffee (eek!), no sex” diet for between 4 and 6 weeks. There will be plenty of time for thinking pure thoughts…..the top of the cerro is a nice pay-off- great panoramic views of Guayaquil- a grey city with coloured houses peppering the hillsides, framed by a wide, fast-moving river.

I think the thing that touches me is the warmth of the city, the ways that people inhabit the street spaces, and the curiosities that i find, in the hidden corners that i love so much….My feeling here is an auspicious one. I will spend two days here before heading to Quito to meet the group and then it is into the jungle we go. No electricity, no computers. Us and the medicine…..but I feel really good about it. See you on the other side.

4 thoughts

  1. hablas mucho de ” la medicina ” del sitio ese donde vas , me puedes decir en que consiste dicha medicina ? suena la mar de misterioso .

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    • eres tu mum? aparece aquí que soy yo la que hace los comentarios….. creo que porque estas utilizando mi ordenador estas “logged in” bajo mi nombre. intenta lo siguiente- arriba en la derecha veras un icono de flores amarillas, pulsa ahi y a ver si puedes hacer el “log out”. después entra otra vez por el link que te di- a ver si eso funciona….así cuando hagas tus comentarios las puedes poner tu nombre…

      es una buena pregunta…. la medicina se llama “ayahuasca” (también “la abuela”) y es una planta sagrada que se utiliza hace miles de anos en países de sur america por los chamanes en ceremonia en las comunidades para sanar a las personas fisicamente y espiritualmente. ahora en estos países existe mucho “ayahuasca tourism” y mi intención es vivir la experiencia y escribir algo sobre ello porque me parece interesante de que en un mundo donde drogas como el alcohol y el tabaco son tan aceptables, que no permiten el uso de sustancias que realmente son sanas para las personas. una vez en espana participe en una ceremonia de ayahuasca y mi experiencia fue que me limpio el cuerpo y la mente muy muy bien. voy a trabajar con bea- una chamana que conozco espanola desde hace anos (entonces absolutamente fiable) que ahora vive aquí en ecuador y un señor que se llama sebastian- quien fue su maestro. también vienen otros 8 personas de espana…

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