Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back in the groove of things

Well I have avoided blogging for a while, I'm not sure why but I had internet the entire time I was suffering with my kidney stone saga in Lima but I didn't want to write again until I was better. And then when I got better, I avoided internet and camped for a week on the beach. I guess I left a lot of things open ended after the last blog, issues with my health, no drivers license, border crossings, etc. As always a lot has passed in a short time. First things first, my kidney stone has been s mashed (twice) by a procedure called Lithrotripsy and I've passed all the little bits over a 2 week period. It was quite an intense experience, one of those "character building" experiences. I had to navigate the health system alone and in spanish while in excrutiating pain. This included xrays, blood tests, urine tests, physical exams, lithotripsy (twice) and many farmacy trips. It was good practice for my spanish & it's these situations that make me learn a little more. I learned how to get to and from the hospital for 25 cents instead of a 3 dollar taxi & I learned loads of new hospital terms in spanish. I suffered tremendously & experienced the horrible process of getting a catheter removed with no pain meds. I walked out of there feeling like I had been defiled, embarassed & then had to just catch a bus back to my hostel where I landed on a friday night with backpackers all around having fun & wanting to chit chat. I crawled in my room yet again and hid away. My story was too weird to chit chat and I've traveled so long and my story is so strange that I can't even relate to the avg person traveling anymore. Anyways after getting the catheter removed, I started unloading sandy like sediments within my urine. I had one final test to ensure I didn't have an infection & then I got cleared from the doc. The hospital happened to be across the street from bus station and I begged and pleaded my way into my final consultation to be before the 5pm overnight bus left and so the doc saw me at 440pm, gave me the green light and I ran across the street and got on yet another 18 bus ride back to my car. When I got to my car I decided it was time for a fresh start so I just started driving towards Ecuador. That night I couldn't find accommodations so I slept in my truck, it was hot. The following morning I went to the border, with no drivers license, and hoping I could pull it all off. I was also down to my last few Soles along with the fact that gas in Peru is twice as expensive as Ecuador so I was trying to hold out until I crossed the border and could use my US dollars as Ecuadors' currency is US dollars. This proved to be an added stress as the light on my truck was on when I hit the border. Exiting Peru was easy for me as I am familiar with the process for my truck there. I got to the Ecuador side & their system was down so they made me drive to another spot to get my passport entered, while the light on my gas tank was lit up. There was 1 gas station with about 40 cars in line so I figured I just have to get in line and wait. They're all there because the price of gas is so cheap in Ecuador & though I wasn't in Ecuador, this gas station was techincally in Ecuador. I waited an hour, got up there only to find out they only had Diesel! Just wasted more gas, still haven't entered the country & now I've decided to try to get in the country & find the next gas station. I managed to talk my way in without my drivers license. i was asked for it twice but avoided answering directly & kept handing the copy I have. somehow it worked, I was in and I now was worried I wouldn't have enough gas to even start my car. I got to the next closest gas station, another line of cars and I made it to the pump where they would only give me 10 dollars of gas....well I talked my way into 20 dollars but they limit it to 10 dollars per car so peruvians don't come over for gas. On the road again it felt really liberating to be healthy, in a new country and back in my truck. I hadn't really traveled in my truck in a while at this point and with all these positive things I was really over the moon. Decided it was time to make the journey all the way to the coast, another 6 hours of driving. I was pulled over twice and managed to get away with having no drivers license. I finally get to the coast town, pull in a beach called ayampe and make a 'wrong' turn and end up in front of a guys hotel that he is building that I know from Virginia Beach. Random crossing. It turns out they are still working on things but welcome me to stay for free if I'm up for helping out. I stick around, get to enjoy these guys ups & downs as they stress on their new lives in Ecuador, fresh from the states, and under construction with a 1 yr old baby. It's funny to see how far I've adjusted to this life when these city folks get here and DON'T EAT SEAFOOD and only eat chicken breast....which you can only get a supermarket 2 hours away. They call me "the drifter" and laugh at my daily meals of vegetables or me eating at the little local fish market or making my granola every morning. I also invented a little coconut coffee drip which still needs a little more touches to make it perfect. A few days here & it was time for me to really disconnect so I did a little camping trip up the coast for 5 days. Camping was fun but as always turned into some random adventures. One night it was pouring so I decided to drive south and then it started to get close to dark so I took a dirt road off the main coast road and figured I could find an empty spot to sleep for the night. I found a dried up riverbed with nothing around, parked and hoped for darkness to come so nobody could even see me. The sun was setting & up walks a drunk guy who I can barely understand as he slurs his spanish & asks me for food or money or something. He also tells me it's dangerous to be there. Then some kids ride up on a pass above on their bikes and stare at me for a while so I'm starting to doubt my choice of spots. Sure enough shortly after a guy pulls up on a motorbike to ask me what I'm doing there. he said some people in town saw me & they want to know what I want and what I'm doing. I'm actually setting up my stove & cutting veggies so I show him my set up and tell him I just want to camp for the night. He tells me it's not safe & insists I come to his house for the night. SOooo before you know it, I pull my big american truck in front of his house and out pours his kids & nephews, wife, and other family members all to stare at me and ask questions like I'm some strange alien. They're all really nice, the kids are cute and it's quite humorous really. I sleep in my truck bed and when I wake up in the morning everyone in town has passed by to see who I am and what I'm doing. Nobody can believe my truck and my sleeping spot. I break out my skateboard and get the kids doing runs down the dirt street. Then they get me on their little bikes and take me on a tour to show me off to everyone in town. They're so proud that I'm at their house and hanging out with them. EVeryone comes out to say hello and smile and stare. It's quite funny. They try to get me to go to Church but I manage to say goodbye after they gave me bananas, a spoonful of sugar from a sugarcane & a reused pepsi bottle that they made me take a taste out of which was full of sugar cane juice. They made me promise to return, opened the doors and basically told me I was part of the family now. So funny how quick to open up their home and give me things. After this I head back down to Ayampe to get back to my friends spot. When I arrive news of his first guests are on their way. It's professional surfer Ben Bourgious & a guy Jerry taking video for a new Reef surf video. I'm a big fan of this surfer and for the last week it's been him & I surfing up & down the coast of Ecuador. He likes having a surf companion and I like pushing my surfing with someone who is on another level. He's around for a little while longer & I am actually about to go surfing with him right now so I think I'll end the blog. I hope you're all staying warm, those that are in the snow....I'm sweating bullets as I type this blog! chau


  1. So glad to hear you are doing well and back on the "path" and in Ecuador no less! Surf a couple of waves for us!

  2. I am glad to hear that things are going well! Sounds like you are having fun! things are finally warming up here, wishing for some waves... take care