Going native

Trip Start Feb 16, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Planet Drum Base

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The cab ride from my hostel in Guayaquill mostely consisted of me complimenting the women of Guayaquill and my cabbie making geastures clearly indicating intercourse. Itīs always easy to talk to men about women. At the bus station, which is also a giant shopping structure I find myself imedetaly lost. There are a lot of shops, none really look like ticket booths and I have this giant pack on with all my gear in it. Its also about 80 degrees in the center and Iīve instantly burst into a torrential sweat. I walk up a down the levels, randomly asking folks where the bolteria is, thank you rossetta stone. I finally find the ticketing area and then have the nice task of finding the right bus carrier to Bahia. I know that if I choose correctly it will be a six hour ride in an air conditioned coach with pleantly of leg room and few stops. A wrong choice could mean a 10 hour ride halfway across the country, windows open, my pack strapped to the roof of the bus. I donīt really want to loose all my belongings before I even leave Guayaquill.

I chose correctly and was on a coach to Bahia, with a fronty row seat to boot. This was great for looking out on the beautiful Ecudorian countryide. The man sitting next to me was nice enough to point out what the various crops being grown were, I understood a handfull of what he was saying. I make to the Planet Drum headquarters without much incident and am pleasently met by a group of Sweedish girls who are also volunteering. We proceed to go partying that night, which consists of going up to Cerro Cerco, a bioreserve with other volunteers outside of the city, drink caņa (a fine ecuadorian sugar cane based liquor) and dance, mucho bilando. There will be many dances.  

The work im exposed to is clearing trails in a reforested area in the inner city of Bahia. The areas was once a bustling neighborhood, but got washed down the side of the mountain during the rains of el niņo. There are still the reminents of foundations of buildings. The site is about a ten min walk from the headquarters. To do what we did today requires one tool, the machette, the tool of the jungle. Quite a sureal sight it was with 15 gringos walking through the streets of Bahia, early thursday morning, all branishing machettes. The site had been planted 8 years ago and some of the trees are starting to look impressive. What we were doing today was clearing up the trails and some of the newer planting so that we can bring in some journalist through there who will be in town for the 10th aniversy of the ecocity. I really enjoy swinging a machette around, it really does feel like your going back in time. Most of the things in the jungle fall victim quickly to the blade of the machette. Sabina found a really cool skin of a boa which looked to be about 10ft long. She was kinda scared. Jamie said that it wouldnīt hurt anyone anyway, even if it was alive. Ryan kept on telling me that the best thing to do was not to think about what may be under your feet as your chopping through jungle, I take his advise and whack away. By the end of the morning the park looks much better. Hard work hasnīt felt that good in a while.  
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