essays | places
a fuller year
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.
passages 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.
passages 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.
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 is done well, and you know you might get lost on your way to the club, you're partying professionally.
Quito / Ecuador · 2012 Blues
Pelileo / Ecuador · 2012 Angel
Puerto Lopez / Ecuador · 2012 mini monkey
Puerto Lopez / Ecuador · 2012 the wave of a humpback whale
Tungurahua / Ecuador · 2012 kill me there
places / stories
La Costa / Guns & Funs
Cabo Pasado / Ecuador · 2012 an unlikely house to abandon
I've always been 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 just then. And I missed them more, after what happened next.
Cabo Pasado / Ecuador · 2012 pocket home
I already told you that story:
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
tags | short story, travel experiences, memorable moments, gunpoint, robbery
La Sierra / A Year, a Life
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 pre-festivity
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 Chimborazo & Carihuairazo
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 snack bar
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 fixing the past with plastic
The indigenous life, the old life, the wise life, the nature life, the life life.
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 shady
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 backgammon
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."
La Casa del Arbol, Baños / Ecuador · 2012 swing with a view for the daring
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 new shoes
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 bye bye blues
Cotopaxi / Ecuador · 2012 straight up
Cotopaxi / Ecuador · 2012 open air freezer
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.
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 food by the bucket
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 minga
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 Día de los Muertos, día de los borrachos
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 mega cake
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.
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 the view we had then
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 all those lights, all those nights
Salasaka / Ecuador · 2012 green river
Tungurahua / Ecuador · 2012 many mountains away
Chimborazo / Ecuador · 2012 the closer you get to the sun, the colder it gets
La Selva / Organic Oneness
Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012 tree entourage
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, they all move into the same direction, not just in union, but in oneness.
Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012 big leaf, small frog
Cuyabeno, Amazon / Ecuador · 2012 mean fella, one of them
when you set out to see Everest, but Everest doesn’t care