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Ecuador -Part 11

Posted on Feb 15 2004 under Diary of the ONE | Tags: , , , , , ,

One part of Ecuadorian culture that still seems to thrive is the family run bus services. Each family/company might have a few buses servicing certain routes. There are hundreds of different companies with each one’s busses decorated in a different way; all are different colours, sizes or states of repair, quite a sight.

A trip usually works out to $1 per hour, so you can travel round Ecuador & S.A easily & cheaply. The quality of the ride varies completely so check out your bus before buying the ticket. The drivers are a little mad, possibly the thought of getting pulled over & robbed, although this only happens on occasional overnight journeys or falling many feet to your death off the side of a mountain.

The roads are untrustworthy, windy & mountainous; heart stopping if you are crazy enough to be watching & worrying about it. The pumping Salsa or Merenge music is there to keep your mind distracted & your spirit lifted.
Whenever the bus stops at a junction or at the lights people jump on & off, most trying to sell you something, anything; water, sweets, fruit, chicken (yea sure it’s chicken) on skewers, home made cake, sunglasses, razors, cloths, etc the range is endless.

They stay on the bus for 5-10 minuets then jump off to catch the return bus going back into town. They do this all day, every day, trying to sell there goods; make a buck or two. The more annoying of the sellers have a big speech prepared; they stand at the front of the bus shouting their pitch, usually fighting with the level of the Salsa music, most are trying to sell some sort of wonder cure. The list of curable ailments is endlessly amazing; it was surprising to see many people buying a couple of dollars worth. The people do seem to want to help others, a sort of “well he/she is trying, so I will help by buying” If the speech is good or the 10 year old boy tells a good story about how poor the family is because his dad needs an operation on his ass, usually you will find its more than just a few people that buy 3 sweets from the boy for 10c or the magic vitamins for a dollar.

I find it difficult to ignore the beggars & the street kids, mainly reminisce of the indigenous population relating of the Inca. They fill the city streets especially in the mountainous areas, trying hard to sell you some “artizania” hand made; often beautiful artworks or handcraft, the less fortunate just resort to begging.
There are so many that are living below the poverty line, scraping a life together to feed their 2/3/4 kids, you tend to become accustomed to their cry’s for help, walking on past them with no ears & no second thought.
I was quite surprised at the attitude of the people we were staying with, the comments that were passed as we walked around the cities were of dislike & distrust.

“Dirty Indians, why do they have so many children”.

It’s so easy to judge others especially when you haven’t taken time to picture life from their point of view. Don’t judge, help.

Ok if you gave 10c to each & all that came and asked then you yourself would have no money by the end of the day, this dose leads to saying “No sorry” which doesn’t help anybody.

You see the same story the world over; the poor forced to scratch out a living while the rich keep buying for themselves, getting fatter & farther from the majorities true reality.

Have you noticed how people when earning considerably more than they once had, soon forget their past along with their friends. As your earnings grow you start to move with different people (usually with more money than your previous crowd of friends) you need to buy better belongings; cloths, shoes, cars & houses all change. People move house into different areas & mix with more wealthy people; views, opinions & attitudes slowly change, the past gets forgotten as you are born into your new life.

The Jones or indeed the Carlos’s are richer in this district, so do try and keep up, “look at there new car, oh look what their children wear, wonder what he does for a living, how much do you think he’s on?”

It’s not long before you are considering buying outside your price range because of this friendly neighbourly pier pressure. I find this now a bizarre way of living; your own wants & needs pushed aside and compromised just to please the wants of others? It shows the great weakness of character that people posses today; we don’t understand ourselves & so don’t have, cant find the character to be strong in our beliefs, most hold no beliefs anymore.

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