Salasaka / Ecuador · 2013   part-time devils

  

   How do you write about a year that was fuller than others without emptying it? You don't. I won't. I'll keep this one to myself, generously, and this post-it will have to do until I find an empty novel to write in.

______

a glimpse

Indigenous kids in rural Ecuador

 
glimpse: SALASAKANS | And so the months passed by as the place kept me. Its spell felt like deliberate inevitability to me, some sort of circumstantial fate. I was stranded in a paradise. Salasaka. Melding yesterday and tomorrow today, the Salasakans knew something that was either long forgotten or far from discovery elsewhere. Their wisdom was intricate, their lifestyle so graceful. Everything was deeply rooted in bygone centuries, in the land, in Pacha Mama, but change was harvested everywhere. Salasaka was not a village outside the world or inside a vacuum. It was right there, where it seemed to belong, in a limbo between eras. Holding on to ancient knowledge while embracing the next generation’s wit, the indigenous life lingered beautifully and without haste on tomorrow’s verge.



 

Erupting Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador

 

glimpse: PACHA MAMA | I remember learning about Pompeii as a child – the petrifying bottom line was dreadfully clear: don’t live near active volcanoes. Be that as it may, what sounded like a nightmare back then became a dream come true later on. Living (not too) near Tungurahua in Ecuador put me face to face with nature’s might like nothing I’d ever witnessed before. It was marrow-deep awe. By day, Pacha Mama’s fiery womb would breathe enough ash into the sky to cover it wholly. Then, when night fell, lava gushed from it in fountains and trickled down the voluptuous slopes, the vivid scarlet glowing determinedly against the darkness until it cooled and blackened and bled into the night.

DSC03452.JPG

We'd go to Baños every other weekend, but to the hot bats we only went once. Too many. Too intense.
_____

Baños / Ecuador · 2012   hot bats

When that pregaming was done well, and you know you might get lost on your way to the club, you're partying professionally.
_____

Quito / Ecuador · 2012   Blues

DSC03771.JPG
Man riding in the back of a pick up truck in Ecuador


Pelileo / Ecuador · 2012    Angel



 

Monkey in the Amazon rainforest in Cuyabeno, Ecuador


Puerto Lopez / Ecuador · 2012    mini monkey



 

Humpback whale in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador


Puerto Lopez / Ecuador · 2012    waving humpback whale



 


Tungurahua / Ecuador · 2012    kill me there

 

 

 

 

 

__________

places / stories

_____
La Costa / Guns & Funs

Abandoned house by the sea in Ecuador


Cabo Pasado / Ecuador · 2012    an unlikely house to abandon



 

I was always a coast person. But living in the Andes changed my perspective on many things. The coast was still what the coast was, but the mountains had become something else entirely. And I missed them. And I missed them more, after what happened next.

Tent pitched by the sea in Ecuador


Cabo Pasado / Ecuador · 2012    pocket home



 

I already told you that story:

reads | shortest stories

Gunpoint

They asked for water. When I turned back around, three shotgun muzzles were pointed at us. I would have cursed the map right then, but there was no time, and my tongue was in my stomach. read more

_____
La Sierra / A Year, a Life

DSC02817.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    pre-festivity



 

DSC02668 (2).jpg


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    Chimborazo & Carihuairazo



 

DSC03143.jpg


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    snack bar



 

DSC04366.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    fixing the past with plastic



 

The indigenous life, the old life, the wise life, the nature life, the life life. 

DSC04031.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    shady



 

DSC04030.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    backgammon



 

P1030741 (2).jpg


Adriana, Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    There is mischief in every nook and cranny of Adriana’s face and the mind behind it, and with the power of wit and innocence, she has brought her art to perfection. Her catch phrase: "Sabes que?" to which people reply "que?" which the brilliant prankster answers with "nada."



 

P1030266 (2).jpg


La Casa del Arbol, Baños / Ecuador · 2012    swing with a view for the daring



 

DSC04277.JPG
DSC04278.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    new shoes



 


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    bye bye blues



 

P1020843 - Copy (2).jpg
P1020941.JPG


Cotopaxi / Ecuador · 2012    straight up



 


Cotopaxi / Ecuador · 2012    open air freezer



 

P1050850.jpg


Tungurahua / Ecuador · 2012    yesterday lava, today snow



 

The community was strong and self-governed. There was no police in Salasaka. None needed. The few crimes that were commited despite the severe castigations, were severely castigated. Solidarity was strong. Solidarity built houses and cooked communal meals. You need something done? Minga. Done.

DSC04763.jpg
DSC04765.jpg


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    food by the bucket



 


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    minga



 

P1020264 (2).jpg
P1020526 (2).jpg


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    Día de los Muertos, día de los borrachos



 


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    mega cake



 

P1030798.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    pregnant piñata


 

The people, the life, the place, the work – it was a beautiful puzzle coming together and I was there to give it all my attention.

P1020724.jpg
P1020760.JPG


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    the view we had then



 


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    all those lights, all those nights



 

P1030931 (2).jpg
P1010298.jpg


Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012    green river



 


Tungurahua / Ecuador · 2012    many mountains away



 

P1050881.JPG


Chimborazo / Ecuador · 2012    the closer you get to the sun, the colder it gets



 

_____
La Selva / Organic Oneness

DSC05286.JPG


Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012    tree entourage



 

DSC05392.jpg


Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012    beer boat



 

Nothing exists alone in the Amazon. The whole thing is one voluptuous organism, every being a cell, a node, a necessity for the larger cause. Predator and prey, tree and river, threy all move into the same direction, not just in union, but in oneness.

DSC05439.JPG
DSC05349.JPG


Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012    big leaf, small frog


Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012    mean fella, one of them

 

_____

related

photos | people

Story Time

we all have one

Our narratives have been full of forks, twists and turns, shortcuts and detours, but here we are to intersect with each other in the now. see more

reads | travel

How to Find Free Volunteering Opportunities around the World

avoiding costly and ethically precarious voluntourism agencies

...rev the search engine, skip over the voluntourism industry and dig all the way down to the grassrootss... read more

photos | landscapes

Americas

wilderness heart

The glaciers looked like petrified tsunamis, and the psychedelic lagoons like glitches, and that altitude canyon like an abyss in the sky. see more

photos | urban

South America

brick beauty & street art, color & glass

From Medellin to La Paz to Rio, the hills bled bricks. The street art wasn’t born there, [...] urbane installations mixed with flamboyant Pacha Mama spirituality that formed a fairly tame and countenanced link between dyed colonialist old towns and glassy capitalist new towns. see more

 

_______

elsewhere

__

in South America