The Door

BANOS, Ecuador

Mario is percolating on a more eventful journey up Tungurahua in September.

His solo mission is to reach the door to the city of gods that he believes lives inside the 16,000-foot active volcano.

Mario, the volunteer leader of the Tea Room organic garden, said he has recently seen two lights circle and enter the mouth. He believes them to be UFOs.

Kyle, a volunteer from Trinidad, and I discussed what would happen when the 46-year-old maestro opens this supposed door.

“They should make him a god,” Kyle said.

“Well, he already is a sage,” I replied.

Unquote” Greene

Hammocks are the greatest piece of furniture ever invented. As I spent a blissful afternoon horizontal, I came across a profundity from Graham Greene’s book “The Power and the Glory.”

“Hate was just a failure of imagination.”

Think about your lack of imagination the next time something seems unbearable … or otherworldly.

My 5: Quebrada Bascun

The Bascun canyon supplies the Tea Room with natural spring water and distracting hikes when we don’t want to work.

Two warriors.

Mario fills a drinking jug of the natural stuff.

A burnt orange mineral  pooling in the river.

This is the natural hot sulfur spring that flows from the volcano. On our last trip to take a dip, it wasn’t just the four of us in the bath.

A bunch of darting and dipping bats joined us. About a half dozen circled us like prey, Pessa warned.

Kyle replaced Pessa on the end and expressed trepidations of his own.

“You can feel the breeze as they pass,” he said. “Holy shit!”

The nocturnal friends, thankfully, didn’t get entangled in my beard.



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