I never appreciate having unlimited access to a car more than when I’m in Ecuador. My husband’s family does not have one, which makes getting around tricky business. I remember my very first bus ride in Ecuador three and a half years ago. We chose to ride at the magical hour when all the children are released from school and have to get home (there are no school buses in Ecuador, at least that I know of.) The bus we alighted on was packed sardine-style with at least 100 uniformed children ages 5 to 18. I was just nearing the end of my first trimester, and I wasn’t completely over my all-day sickness, so standing up in a cramped, weltering-hot bus for 20 minutes was not the most fun, but I survived. We’ve been on many bus rides since then, but it’s a whole different thing taking the kids along. The day we arrived in Ecuador, we went shopping by ourselves, but today for some reason, we had the gumption to tote along our two little toddlers.
Our older girl, almost three, loved it. Every other second she was exclaiming, “Mami, look there’s a dog. There’s another dog. There’s another dog. Mami, uno, dos, tres dogs!” Our younger girl was fairly tolerant for most of the ride, but I think we caught some air one too many times, because her complacency didn’t last.
Because nothing says “welcome to mass public transit” quite like a lap full of warm vomit, my younger daughter did me the honor of getting sick all over me about 5 minutes before we arrived at our destination (arguably not as bad as the last time we were in Ecuador and my older daughter threw up all over me at the beginning of a two-hour bus ride to the temple—oh memories!). I spent the first minutes of our shopping trip trying to decide if people were staring at me because I was the only white girl in the mall, or because I was covered in throw-up. Either way, I just tried to smile through it.
Compared to the bus ride, shopping was a breeze. I filled my basket with all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables (I bought half a dozen artichokes!) and then we took a taxi home. Taxis, while costing 5–10 times the bus fare, are a convenient way to get home, but I do feel like I take my life hands whenever we climb into one of those yellow cabs. At least no car sickness on the way home.
Yes, we truly are blessed.
And just to include a photo, here’s a picture of one of the little things they have here that get me through the tough times. Like wafer cookies in the states, but much, much better.