32. Travel Story

Travel story 32: Goodbye…Hello,
 
2006, Sunday, January 22, 23:00h.
 
We just finished a small barbeque, that my friends made for my last evening in Mera. I should be content now, but unfortunately I’m not.
A bit more than 2 hours ago I heard for the first time that there is a strike from bus drivers tomorrow and the day after. Even worse, the strike will already start tonight at 0:00h and they will block all the main roads in the country. But on Tuesday at 9:30am I fly from Quito to London and the day after to Amsterdam…
I called the bus companies, but there are no more busses to Quito. I asked some taxi drivers, but they don’t dare to try to go to Quito now. They’re afraid that they will get stack in a blockade or are not able to come back tomorrow.
What to do now?
I can try to get to Ambato tonight, but if all the roads are really blocked tomorrow, I can’t get out of Ambato? Which isn’t a nice city.
Maybe I can take a taxi to Shell tomorrow and fly from there?
All right, tonight there is nothing anymore that I can do. Lets worry about that tomorrow.
 
Tonight is already strange enough. I should be happy that the brothers are not allowed to enter the land of my friends anymore. Tomorrow my friends will even try to burn there little house. Still I don’t feel happy. After those 2 months it feels a bit strange that that fight is suddenly over. It wasn’t even my fight. I didn’t have as much to lose as my friends. I should be happy, at least for my friends. But I feel sad.
Sad that I leave tomorrow. Sad to leave my friends, sad to leave this little village I felt at home the last months. Sad that I don’t know when and even if I can come back this year L But hey, I’m sure I will come back some day! Or maybe I can better not make that promise? On the other hand, maybe I don’t even make it to Quito on time. I lose my 1000US$ flight ticket and have no more money to fly back…
 
I also left a special goodbye note for a good friend and it seems that she is already reading it. This wasn’t suppose to happen yet, but it is a strange night and everything can happen.
 
The worst thing about this strike is that they announced it already for 14 days! 14 Days and I didn’t know about it!? Not a smart thing for a future tour-guide. I think I was to much with my mind on the land.
It seems that the bus-companies want to raise the ticket prices and that they want to pay less taxes to enter the terminals. The Ecuadorian government isn’t happy with that, because they’re afraid. They’re afraid that with the ticket prices all transport and with transport, all other prices will raise.
Anyway, whatever they decide, for me it will already be more expensive to get to Quito tomorrow.
 
The next day, Monday.
I arrive at 8am at the airport of Shell, where it takes me about an hour to find out that there are only flights to Quito on Wednesday and Friday. If I do want to fly on an other day I have to hire a plane and the cheapest flight will cost 650US$! I can try to find more people, but up till now, there are only 2 more persons and they don’t want to pay more than 50US$ a person.
What to do now? I can wait for more people, but I don’t know if this will work? I also don’t want to wait to long. If I do want to try to pass the blockades, I prefer to try this by daylight.
I decide to try to take a taxi and see how far I come.
 
To make a long journey into a short story, I will only tell about the “highlights”:
After a couple of hours, some dirt-roads and a payment of 100US$ I arrived at 14:30pm finally in Ambato. From there I could take a pickup to the next blockade. I walked past the blockade and took an other pickup on the other side. This way I had to use 6 pickups, small trucks and even a motor cycle, to get at 18:00h at the hostel in Quito. With one pickup we had 14 people in the back and the motor cycle was tricky as well, with 2 heavy backpacks. But I made it before dark!
It is Monday evening now and I even feel happy, or maybe it is more relieved.
 
Thursday February the second.
 
Yes, a big jump. But don’t worry, I do tell you more about my trip back home. It is even something I feel I have to tell you ;-)
 
I had a slow start with a delay of 2 and a half hour on my flight to Miami. But I just made it to get my connection to London. Also, waiting in the VIP-room where I could eat and drink as much as I could for only 11US$, wasn’t a bad deal ;-)
In London I found out that my bag didn’t make he quick connection. It would arrive a few hours later.
My friend however was perfect on time J I would stay at her place tonight so I can explore London during the day and in the evening we could talk some about some Inti Wara Yassi gossip, since that’s the place where I met her.
 
It was cold, but dry in London. I found it a nice city to walk around and the Metro system is cheap and great to travel the bigger distances! I spend the whole day visiting some highlight like Buckingham Palace an the Tower Bridge.
I like London and thanks to my friend I had a great time, not soon to forget!
 
The day after my sister, her friend and my new born niece Danara, picked me up at the airport of Amsterdam, nice J
We went to eat dinner at my parents house and it felt as if I had only been away for  few weeks, only now I had a niece and my parents had redecorated the living-room.
 
Being back in Holland feels a bit strange as well. Walking around in the cities, or even in the centre of my own village I feel confident, but I also feel a bit like a tourist. Walking in Amsterdam, I almost felt like walking in London. What does that mean? Is that because I felt so comfortable in London, or because I slowly lose my roots with Holland?
 
All right, enough about me (for) now. Lets finish the story about the Merazonians and the Daltons. The final report I wrote about in my last story, appeared to be very clear. Unlike everyone expected, the report actually writes that my friends have the right to live on the land and the Brothers are not allowed to enter their land!
The Daltons can still fight this decision, but they won’t have a strong case anymore.
 
Yesterday I heard that the day before, my friends were finally allowed to burn the little house of the (Dalton) Brothers. The Ecuadorian police had to be there as well as a witness and they assured my friends that they had to be there with at least 15 men! I think they just all wanted to have a free lunch. But that’s how things go and there isn’t much you can do against.
 
Now that little house is down, the Merazonians can finally put all their energy and money into their project again. This whole “brother thing” took a lot of time and money from the Merazonians and they still have a long way to go before they can receive animals.
They first have to finish off the toilets and showers and also still some small things on the house and kitchen. They have to find solutions for their water-supply, how to get the water from the river up and where to go with the waste-water?
And as if this is not enough yet, they also have to start soon with building a quarantine and/or an aviary, so they can receive animals from the refuge Amazoonico. 
All this needs to be done in the next few months, while they don’t have a lot of volunteers and not much money left anymore…
 
It seems the Merazonians are facing a new challenge. But they came this far and they showed so much dedication, I have confidence that the Merazonians will overcome these challenges as well.
 
I do hope I can help them again, I do hope that they get more help soon…
 
To be continued.

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