‘Oh, the people you’ll meet’
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 00:09
So…maybe it wasn’t the best idea to pick up the guy with the machete hanging off his belt, but we were in rural Ecuador; everyone had machetes. Plus if we had just cruised right past the guy, I would have missed out on one of my all-time favorite traveling experiences.
I was riding down the side of a volcano on the back of a motorcycle in a town called Banos. The two Australians I’d met were motorcycle enthusiasts.
We picked up Manuel, the machete-wielding farmer, about halfway down and gave him a ride to his two-room house. It had no doors or windows, but a beautiful tree shaded the entrance.
The old man invited us in and as he led the way, he stopped at the tree to pick leaves for tea.
Manuel was a friendly guy who was very proud of his children. He told us what they did and what he did and what happened to his house when the volcano erupted years before. His life story filled our afternoon.
When the tea was finished and the discussion was dwindling, Manuel went into the other room. He came back wearing a mask.
It was a mask I had seen all over Ecuador—a man with a high forehead and a pointy nose. It resembled Richard Nixon.
Then Manuel raised his hands in peace signs and said, “I am not a crook,” the only thing he said in English the entire time.
I lost it. It was definitely the best presidential impersonation I had ever seen. Manuel lifted his mask, revealing a huge grin.
People are my favorite part about traveling. You never know who you will meet. And I am always more open to meeting people when I’m on the road.
In Denver it’s easy to plug in my iPod and block out everyone else. I even use it as a defense against the people with clip boards who want me to sign up for everything.
But who knows what I’m missing out on. I really should pull out my ear buds and be open to the people around me. Maybe I’ll meet someone who does a great impression of Kennedy.