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El Gringo valiente (The brave Gringo)

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Over the three-day weekend my friends and I went to Quilotoa. I had already been there once, but it was half a year ago with my dear friend Charlie, but this time it was during the rainy season, which made the whole experience very different.
We set off Thursday night, and arrived near Latacunga at six in the morning, from which point we took a taxi to Quilotoa and was there in an hour. After checking into our hostel we decided to go down to the lake. Let me just say that it looked closer than it was. “Nature lies, people!”
Walking down was challenging enough already, but Erato told me that going up would be even harder. The cold wind mixed with the dense humidity cut through our clothes like butter.
Once we got down, Brian, Beth, Erato and myself went kayaking on the volcanic lake. After paddling around for a while, it started raining, which dampened our lively moods on the water (pun intended). Once we successfully guided our kayaks back to shore, we set off back to the top of the …

Hard-boiled eggs and Metaphors

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Have you ever felt like a specific action or event could be a metaphor for your entire life or wherever you are in life at the moment? (How you got to Memphis - if you will) 
Sunday morning, I woke up craving hard-boiled eggs and toast. (Sometimes I get these cravings, much like a pregnant woman, and I will spend an hour searching for it in stores and preparing it.) I got some nice rolls at a bakery and returned home to boil the eggs. I had never boiled an egg before, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I placed three eggs in a pot with some water and set the pot on the stove. In the back of my head I seemed to have remembered that eggs need ten minutes, so I set the timer on my phone and went to the living room to read. 
When my phone rang, I went to the kitchen, took the eggs out of the water and put them into cold water, just like I saw my father do it numerous times before. I left them to cool down for about three minutes, during which I cut the rolls in half, buttered and to…

Dating Tom Sawyer

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“Let’s go and wash the car” Erato said, with fake enthusiasm. So we did. We got in and went to the edge of town to a car wash, where hoses were installed every three meters, and buckets and brushes provided by the company. Erato started by hosing the car off, meanwhile I watched from a relative distance. “Do you want me to help?” I asked. “Nah, you wouldn’t be able to do a good job, so just keep me company and I’ll wash the car.” I shrugged and continued conversing with her. After a while I asked again, for hosing the car off every two minutes with high pressured water seemed like fun. She didn’t let me again. The next time she wanted to use the water, I used the phrase “can I please”. Before I knew it I was happily doing what she was told by her mother to do. Only once I had the vacuum cleaner’s hose in my hands did I realize that she Tom Sawyered me. She made me think of her chore as a privileged way of spending one’s afternoon. Well played Erato. Well played.

Liberation of the silent Junkie

“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…”
I’m not saying that having no internet in my apartment has been the best thing that has happened to me in Ecuador, because my Latina girlfriend would kill me, but it is most certainly in the top ten. I am part of the generation which can’t remember a time when the internet wasn’t around.  When I was a little boy, my parents had dial-up internet. Then, as we moved to our new apartment and I turned eleven, we got proper cable internet. And by the time I got my first smart phone, we had Wi-Fi installed throughout the house.
When I went to high school, some of my teachers started using programs like Quizlet, or posted our homework on a blog. As the world of the internet grew, my generation got more and more attached to it, with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and all the others slowly consuming all of our time. We talked without speaking, we heard without listening, and listened to songs that voices never shared.
It wasn’t u…

The battle of The Restaurant Terrace

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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

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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

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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…