The battle of The Restaurant Terrace

It was a quiet and peaceful afternoon in the town of Vilcabamba. The hooligans were all blithely dancing in the town center so in the side streets tranquility hung in the air, like mist above the North Sea. One could almost hear the implied theme song written by Ennio Morricone.
The sound of a single shot fired and the subsequent horrified scream erupting from the throat of an innocent lady disturbed the sheriff and his deputy in their lunch. They both snatched their foam riffles and looked around. They walked to the door of the Mexican restaurant  and simultaneously jumped out, with their backs to each other, unaware that they were reenacting the last scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Foam was sprayed everywhere. Water bombs were thrown and dodged. Buckets of water flew through the air… And brave men and women fell on both sides, because the floor was so wet.
The battle of The Restaurant Terrace was a short one, but no ammunition was spared and nobody was left dry. Later…

My Tyler Durden is a Latina

I never understood why certain people developed alter egos or double personalities, but two weeks ago, I developed mine: Rebecca. She wasn’t planning on destroying skyscrapers or loudly copulating with the girl I’m twistedly attracted to, but she did fight for me when I was powerless, just like Tyler did in Fight Club. I developed Rebecca as a character for a future short story as I was walking to work one day. She is a 168 cm young Latina, in her early twenties, with a sassy temperament and no filter. She always wears black or red high heels, with dark blue skinny jeans, a tucked-in white blouse with the top two buttons undone, and a red handkerchief around her neck, to balance out her cherry lipstick and fair skin. Once I had the character developed, I described her to Erato and she gave her the name: Rebecca. At first Erato found the character entertaining, but as Rebecca developed in my head she started intervening in my life, by vicariously expressing herself through me. Every time …

Backseat cooking

A few days ago, I went over to Erato’s family’s house, because she asked me to edit a document for her in English. Their house is on the northern end of Loja, in a gated community, with a private security guard and an electric fence. As you walk through the front door, you find yourself in a spacious living room, with soft, suede couches and armchairs surrounding a hardwood coffee table. Walking further, passing the antique-looking table covered with a fine-woven, white cloth, in the dining room, one will find the kitchen. The kitchen has elaborate orange tiles and a counter that runs along the right-side wall with a giant fridge on on end and the sink on the other.
Since I had just finished working, I was quite hungry, so Erato and I decided to prepare some dinner: Tortiglioni pasta with tomato sauce, and salad  on the side. As soon as Erato finished chopping the lettuce and moved onto the avocados, and I started busily sautéing the onions, Erato’s mother walked in the kitchen and w…

High above the chimney top

Trip to Cayambe Mountain - The highest I have ever been (15 753 feet).
On boxing day, the Wilf and I arrived in the town of Cayambe, with child-like enthusiasm to climb the volcano nearby. All this positive energy was soon met by our hostel’s owner, who told us that it was a six-hour hike and taxis would only take us up there for 60 dollars, which was roughly an eighth of our entire trip's budges combined. However, he mentioned that there is a bus that went half ways and if we wanted he would take us up for 50 dollars. We considered all three options over some coffee and biscochos (a local specialty of Cayambe, which I could best describe as a savory shortbread) and after we found out that the buses didn’t run on the 27th, we took up the 50 dollar offer. Early next morning, promptly at 7:12 (Ecuadorian 7 o’clock on the dot) we set off. The road up Cayambe mountain was in horrible condition. The once dirt road was covered with rocks of various sizes, so it would be travelable in th…

Fulfilling a Childhood Dream

During the early years of primary school, I constantly fantasized as I was drifting off to sleep at night about walking a path in the jungle, with a backpack over my shoulder, a machete in my hand and the humid air, combined with my sweat, slowly soaking my clothes.

If someone had told me that at the age of twenty I would be walking in the Andes jungle, I would not have believed them.
Christmas morning, Wilfred and I set off on a leisurely 10km hike to “some nice waterfalls, mate”. This was my first experience of the jungle. Bamboos and ficuses growing wildly, with palm trees poking through the undergrowth like skyscrapers. Birds, bugs and amphibians flying, crawling, jumping and buzzing around, which made even the air feel like it’s alive. Seeing these plants and animals in their natural habitat was enchanting.
After a five-kilometer stroll, we took a cable car over a valley, which gave us a chance to view the scenery from above. A narrow river ran along the bottom of the valley which p…

It’s beginning to look a lot like something…

It’s odd how until the 16th of December I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy. Only now have I realized that I associate the holidays with cold, damp weather that cuts through even the thickest of coats and goes straight to your bones.
Here the days are always the same length with a constant 15-25 degrees (Celsius), so I feel like it has been spring/fall for the last four months that I have been here. My brain hasn’t seen any of the triggers it’s used to. No ostentatiously giant Santa Clauses or unnecessary elf hats on clerks’ heads, and most importantly, I haven’t worn any thick, woolen sweaters with elaborate patterns of reindeers and snowmen, which I’ve grotesquely associated with Christmas, not realizing that in other places on Earth it doesn’t represent the holidays.
Last Saturday, I was shopping with Erato for avocados and tortilla chips, for we were preparing to watch Love Actually as I have done annually for the last four years now. (Snuggle up with a girl and watch to movie, and ye…

Melting into his arms...

First, I would like to just say, quite defensively, that I’m not a homosexual, even though this post will make you question that, I only dress like one, I don’t actually like men.
Back in late September, when I still wasn’t as familiar with the local places and cool people, a warm Thursday evening the gang from Intercambio (language exchange) went to La Fiesta, which is a popular club in Loja. After dancing and flirting for about an hour, I went outside to get some air where Juan invited me to go to La Pileta, which is a square surrounded by bars and clubs, to which I replied “Why not. Let’s see where the night takes us.”
After dancing in a club for about half an hour, Juan said that we got invited to a party at someone’s house so we got into a taxi with some people and went to the edge of town to an elaborately furnished house, with an amazing sound system and lots of people drinking and dancing blithely.
I danced with Andrea, a girl I had just met, for a while and when I felt it was ri…