One of the reasons that I extended my stay in Ecuador to about six weeks instead of nine days was to really travel. Sure, I spent five or six months driving Walden around the states, and even to Canada, where I was questioned and searched for an hour. I did manage to find free places to sleep in public lands or while I was stuck in the desert, but it was not that big a deal. Everyone spoke English, even the Canadians, I guess. I could generally just pull over and park on the street as I did three times in Fort Collins alone (1, 2, and another day that wasn’t well documented, perhaps because of the vodka infused with celery and peanuts). I had some fantastic experiences, but it was not like the kind of travel that friends of mine have done, where they just showed up in a country and made their way. In other words, my trip was a long way from living like a hobo, not that I needed to do that. I do want to know what it would be like to spend an extended period in one place in a foreign land, in a way that I might be able to afford. Thus far, my trip in Ecuador has been spent in a beautiful three bedroom apartment overlooking the city, or in El Monte, a fairly luxurious eco-tourism resort that I highly recommend.
What if I didn’t have the benefit of a family member with a beautiful apartment? What would I do then? Could I make it?
Six weeks in Ecuador was supposed to be at least as cheap as living in Walden. My biggest fear in visiting Ecuador for six weeks is that I would just essentially couch surf at my cousin’s place (n.b., “couch surfing” may not accurately capture what my time here is like; I have my own bedroom, and twice a week the empleada comes and washes my clothes).
While at El Monte, I mentioned to Tom, one of the owners, that I would like to stay in Mindo for a couple of weeks. Tom, a native of coastal Mississippi, has another southern friend coming into Mindo in early March and was pretty excited about the “redneck connection.” He had been looking for places for his friend traveling with a family, and had located a place a bit too small for a family. The cabin’s owner was asking $100 a month. I was interested. On my way out of town, I checked it out.
It’s right next door to a place that rents tubes to float down the river. When I arrived, Jaime was waiting. It was somewhat bigger than I had expected, having two rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom downstairs and two rooms upstairs. It was also a bit more, uh, rústico than I had anticipated. There also was no furniture, except a bed.
Nevertheless, it ostensibly has hot water in the shower, once las luces were turned on. (The power was off when I had the tour.) At least that’s what I thought Jaime said. He makes no pretension of speaking English, and he responded to at least one of my attempts to communicate that made what I was hablar ing was not español. It is a pretty cool little place, though. Here are some more views of the upstairs.
And a view out the front of the place from upstairs.
With the help of pointing to days on the calendar with my phone I think that I managed to agree to rent the place for two weeks for fifty bucks. I will need to go a day or so later than I had planned, as my trip to Cuenca will overlap my planned beginning. I may also need to leave early, as it appears that my 5 day/4 night cruise in the Galapagos (which is on the order of thirty to forty times more expensive than two weeks in Quito) will start a bit before my two weeks is up. I intend to ask my cousin to call Jaime to let him know I’ll be arriving a bit late and to see whether the power will be turned on when I arrive.
And after I left I had some other questions, like, was there a way to lock the place up?
Time will tell, I suppose.
A few more pics are posted on Picasa.