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The Return Trip from Ecuador

The Return Trip from Ecuador

Culture, Travel

Everyday is like a B-rated comedy when you are an American living in South America. I think I could write all day about the odd things that I had never seen or thought possible before. Take for example a restaurant called “Whopper King,” it’s obviously named such as a knockoff to Burger King in the US. I hope the peeps at corporate HQ in the US don’t mind… Then we can talk about the bus ride itself.
I was fortunate to secure passage on a bus that came with a decent sized flat screen tv to pass the long hours watching movies. Subtitles in English please! For the first time in my life I watched American films in Spanish with English subtitles. Um Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore! In between the macho shoot em up movies there was one romantic comedy called “Ted,” unfortunately there were no English subtitles available. And to watch it in English with Spanish subtitles probably would have caused a mutiny!
The next interesting thing about my bus trip was the mysterious loading and unloading of passengers and items. In one small town a bunch of people hopped on and stood or sat on the floor up front for about 45 minutes to get from one town to another. At almost every stop there were people who either ran alongside the bus or hopped on to sell snacks, drinks and cellphone chargers or handheld radios. One young man got on the bus and sang a song then solicited money for his performance. Call me a Gringa but I simply could not resist giving him one of my leftover dollar coins for his admirable effort and ingenuity.
Most mysterious of all is the packages that travel by bus. Sometimes we pulled off at a run down looking roadside cafe where the matron would run out and hand a package to the bus driver. When we arrived in Cali but before the bus station we stopped at what was obviously a prearranged drop off for what sounded like 6-8 boxes of nails that seemed to come out from under seats and cubbies. Granted there is no mail service in Colombia and things must find their way from place to place somehow but one does wonder…
For anyone traveling the Pan-American Highway there will surely be strange sights, breathtaking views and interesting adventures. Whether it be odd passengers, strange packages, singing boys or just potholes in road. It is an experience I will never forget and will surely have opportunity to experience again and again…. As another traveler told me the other day: “when everything starts to make sense, it’s time to leave.”

About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!


  1. nouveau Maillot foot
    April 25, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Yeah !… life is like riding a bicycle. You will not fall unless you stop pedaling!!…

    • openmindedtraveler
      April 25, 2013 at 3:27 am

      WOW!! That is the best comment I have ever received on this site!!! I need to write a bicycle article about my training in the mountains here……coming soon!!

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