The earthquake shook me awake in the early morning.
The bed was trembling as though we were sleeping on a vibrating model, and it was just fed a quarter.
Half-asleep, I rubbed my eyes to shake the daze. Where am I? ….. OK, I know this for sure. … I’m at a hostel in Ecuador on the Pacific ocean. … What is going on? … No idea. … Um, a car hit the hostel? …. Hmm, something clogging the pipes?
After coming to my senses, I realized it wasn’t just the bed that was shaking. It was pictures on the walls. The tables, TV and fridge were all moving. As were the walls, floor and roof.
Now, there was no doubt. It was an earthquake. It ended without consequence after what seemed like a few minutes. We went back to sleep — although I can’t explain that act.
Later that morning, the German woman who runs the bed and breakfast next door confirmed that it was an earthquake. A 6.9 magnitude shake about 250 miles in the middle of Ecuador and more than 100 miles beneath the surface. It struck at about 7 a.m., and because it was so deep, no damages or injuries were reported.
While we slept, the German woman had fright.
“I experienced a few hurricanes in the Caribbean,” the German woman said. “You have a few days notice with them. This was different. It was scary. I had no idea what was going on.”
My 5: Slow Life
EL SALTO, Ecuador
This austere town is little more than a crossroads between more popular beach locations on the Pacific coast.
In the unrelenting heat on the Equator, nothing of interest transpired. Everything was slow, deliberate.
Men hid from the sun in front of a hardware store. A boy tried to sell pirated DVDs to uninterested travelers. Women chatted behind a counter of an open-air meat market. A family packed into the back of a pickup. A lean-to shack had few things to sell and no one to sell them.
Here are My 5 favorite photos as we waited for our next bus:
Pessa says that it’s the unruly hair on the top of my head and not the stuff on my face that startles her most.
She isn’t afraid to point it out, either.
When I matted down one side of the beard and ruffled up the other side, she called me “mullet face.”
When I shook my hair out after a swim, she blurted out “shave your head, you mangy mutt.” After another swim, she referred to me as a “wet dog.”
When I bought a $5-buck pair of knock-off Ray Ban sunglasses, she said I resembled Joaquin Phoenix.
Those unflattering comments can be expected from a girlfriend of nearly two years. Another not-so-flattering comment came from an Irishman I had only known for a few hours.
After a few glasses of wine during a tour of vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, Irishman said I look like Harry from “Harry and the Hendersons.”
I was a bit startled, but I couldn’t really present a legitimate retort.