I’m writing from the rooftop terrace of my hotel in Baños, a teeny, tiny town in the Andes, looking out to the lighted towers of the local cathedral. It’s been a rough few days of travel, what with an attempted mugging in Quito (horrible city) and two incidents of theft today (one of money and another of my favorite hoodie, jacket, thermal, expensive trekking pants, and hairdryer right out of my bag on the bus). Sometimes, South America is really difficult. Almost every other traveler I’ve met has a similar story–Ecuadorians seem to be going out of their way to mar the reputation of their lovely country.
I was sitting in my hotel room a few hours ago, crabby and headachy, when it hit me that I’m finally out of Quito, where it’s too dangerous to run after dark and where there are too many polluting trucks and horribly obnoxious men to run during the day (the curse of being a blonde in Latin America). I’d prefer to run without getting my ass pinched or a face full of black exhaust, thankyouverymuch.
So I gave myself a “snap out of it” talking-to, put down the meringues, laced up my running shoes, and headed out into the dark for my first South American run. The town is tiny and I wanted to avoid the main tourist drag, so I ran in circles on back streets, past a field where a serious soccer game was going on, past a few machismos–my iPod blocked their “hola hermosa, muy guapa” calls–and through a pack of street dogs. Since it was my first run in two weeks and to avoid irritating my gluteus medius, I kept it to a simple 5K.
And oh my god–Best. Run. Ever. It’s been an hour since I got back, and I’m still reveling in the blissed-out, post-run glow, which is the exact opposite of how I was feeling earlier. The second I hit the pavement, I could feel my muscles rejoicing at being USED, and I couldn’t keep the ridiculous grin off of my face. Pretty sure all of the locals had a laugh at the crazy happy gringa jogging in the dark, but I haven’t been this cheerful in weeks!
SO happy to be back on my feet! And as promised–though admittedly belated–here are some photos of the trip so far.
Hiking just outside of Flagstaff
Hotel pools in Vegas
So this guy laid on the beach in Colombia, and no fewer than THREE different women oiled up his butt for him! It was impossible not to stare.
Sunset in Playa Blanca, Colombia
Dancer in Cartagena
Perros calientes = hot dogs 🙂
Northern Ecuador is gorgeous, even as seen through a bus window
Quito in a rare moment of sunshine
Another from-the-bus photo, just south of Quito. Now if only people would stop stealing my things, I could really enjoy Ecuador’s beauty!