Friday, November 18, 2005

12 July 1989 Trip to Salinas

Eduardo picks us up for the trip to Salinas. It takes about 2 1/2 hours and we pass through a town called Progresso (an ironic name) which really grosses Tom out. OK -- it is pretty grimy, but I guess I've passed the point of being grossed out. I'm getting grossed out hearing people getting grossed out -- especially when we have 2 Ecuadorians in the van. (nb, later I find out Eduardo is from Chile). Anyway, Salinas was fine. I slept a lot because I had a cold. The next day we went to Playas (why -- I'll never know.) I would have liked to have stayed there -- it's less developed -- no high-rises, no Miami atmosphere, but i said that I'd go wherever the group wanted to go and they wanted to go to Salinas and I said fine with me. So I'm not sure why we went to Playas the next day.

We gave Eduardo a thank you gift for driving us around in such good spirits. We've really put him through the mill (he was the driver the first day when I got sick -- he bought me a bottle of agua mineral so that I'd have something to throw up -- how sweet)! He's from Chile. He has also lived in Buenos Aires. He's here because the economic situation in Ecuador is better than that in Chile -- can you believe that?! I thought things were bad here with 30% unemployment among those who want to work! Eduardo has some sort of business -- house painting or house plastering. When he drops us off at lunch, he goes to check out his workers. We gave him a $40 tip - almost the monthly minimum wage here -- plus he's earned some money from the school for driving us around.

Eduardo has a 4 year old daughter (Irene, I think). If he could live anywhere, he said he'd live in Buenos Aires. The owner of the van -- Filoberto is also from Chile. He works with Al for Brookdale, and Al says that he is super. He drove us to Ingapirca and Cuenca. When we were renegotiating the cost of the van for our trip to Salinas, he said that he'd rent the van to us for a dollar -- meaning that he'd take whatever we thought was fair. He said it should be less than what we would pay him for a trip to Riobamba, because Riobamba is in the mountains, and there would be more wear and tear on the van.


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