Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Times have gotten rougher.

I'm back from Ecuador, and surprisingly in one piece. There were several moments on this trip that made me believe that I perhaps would not make it home. The number one being the bus crash I got into on August 31. Apparently the bus driver fell asleep, hit a bad bump as he drifted off the road, was jolted awake and we started to fishtail. Eventually we started rolling off the road, the bus started to flip over, and I got thrown out of the window. Again, I am surprisingly home and in one piece. I have some pretty epic battle wounds, but they'll heal. I just hope that I can say the same about my back and ribs. It happened near the coast, so the fall off the road was not too far. But still, I know I am lucky to be alive.

The worst part of the entire ordeal was not actually getting into a crash. 2 days earlier there was another bus accident near the capital, Quito. For those not familiar with Ecuador's geography, the Andes mountains run right through the center of the country. As a result, Quito is over 10,000 feet above sea level. It's known as 2-mile-high-city. (To put that in perspective, Denver is 1-mile-high-city, so Quito is twice as high up.) Since this other bus crash happened near Quito, and fell over 300 feet off a mountain, it had fatal results. 38 people died. The bus driver had so many driving violations he should not have even been allowed to have a license, much less be employed by a bus company. The company is now shut down, thankfully.

In Ecuador, bus crashes are regular occurrences, not freak accidents. In fact, the same day our bus skidded off the road, 15 hours earlier another bus did the same just 2 hours away. Another accident happened just before we left, and not even a week ago, 9 more people died in an Ecuadorian bus crash from the same company we were on (Reina del Camino, a supposedly reputable company, although I beg to differ. They seem to be having "bad luck" lately. Within the last month they have had 2 bus crashes plus a hijacking. They probably should be investigated by Ecuador's transit department.) I think it is incredibly sad that this is every day life for Ecuadorians. Their lives are not seen as valuable. (On our bus tickets, it said that if we were to die or become paralyzed, our families would receive just $3,000 and they would only cover up to $500 of hospital bills. Imagine if Greyhound tried to pull that!!!) The bus drivers do not learn from the other accidents and still gamble with these people's lives. Either way, the bus drivers are paid the same and the faster they get to their destination, the sooner they can get on with their life for the day. Tourists, especially budget travelers like myself, are susceptible to these horrible chances as well. We can't afford to rent cars, hire private taxis, or fly from city to city. 2 years ago, 5 Brits died from another Reina del Camino crash. People are forced onto these buses because of economic reasons and every time they do, they could lose their life. Sad to say, but if we were in Colombia this would not have happened. Even in a country where you could get kidnapped and held for ransom, Colombia has much stricter bus regulations than Ecuador has.

Another pathetic item about this whole ordeal... The next day we had to go back to where we bought our tickets and they would not refund us! They would only issue us no tickets. SERIOUSLY?!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gone to Ecuador!

Be back in a few weeks!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's been a rough few weeks.

The last few weeks have been a bit hard for me to get on the computer. Although not close friends of mine, yet friends with Peter and even closer with Peter's best friend, the two bands (Early Graves and Funeral Pyre) that stayed with us less than a month back had a really bad van accident fairly recently.. And when I say really bad, I mean fatal.

My best wishes to the family and friends. My heart goes out to all of yours.

RIP Mahk Daniels.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nursing school.

Last night I finished my application, paid for it, and then sent all of my transcripts to Bay State College in Boston, MA. I already have a Bachelors Degree in History, but now I want to go back to school. I am applying to their Associates of Science in Nursing program. Their program is a brand-new program, and as a result, they still have spots left for the nursing program for this fall. I'd basically come back from Ecuador and then start nursing classes the next day.... If I get in! I hope! I really would LOVE to start the education for my new career. It's something I have talked about for 2 years, taken the pre-requisite classes for, but everywhere seems to have a long waiting list! I am hoping I get in to this program.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

vacation, so soon.. yet so far.

Peter and I embark on our trip across Ecuador in less than a month from now! I've been so busy booking things, working my butt off, finishing off this nursing school application, cleaning, cooking, visiting friends, having friends visit, etc. I wish I had more time to update my blog. I just have some photobooth photos to share.

Peter modeling his Ecuador jungle attire for me.

My hair is getting so long!

I can even wear it up now :)

The plan is to send Benjamin Franklin away in this box of beer..

One of my favorite people, Simone, came to visit recently as well. She's Brazilian but now lives in Australia. But she's visiting the states for the summer!

One of my favorite people, Simone, came to visit recently as well. She's Brazilian but now lives in Australia. But she's visiting the states for the summer!

I want to add stuff to my Etsy store, but I am leaving for my holiday so soon. I think I should wait until after I get back?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday's Menu: Pizza!

Pizza isn't something I get to enjoy all that often, as I'm severely lactose intolerant. My tummy does NOT like most cheeses. Daiya and Vegan Gourmet cheeses, however, are a go! So I decided to make some pizza of my own. I didn't make the dough myself, but I picked it up from the Stop'N'Shop I frequent. It's the closest grocery store to us, and the dough was pretty good!

I rolled out about half the dough, put some extra virgin olive oil in the casserole dish, and laid everything out. I first layered fresh baby spinach with some finely chopped garlic and olive oil. Then a little bit of red sauce, baby portobello mushroom slices, buffalo'ed Gardein chik'n tenders, fresh tomato, and then the "cheeses."

I first cooked it for about 15 minutes, and it looked done, but it wasn't. I didn't cook it long enough, but I quickly popped it back in the oven for a few more minutes and it was fine. AND DELICIOUS!

Notes: I can't decide if I love the Vegan Gourmet or Daiya cheese better. Both are good and come in a variety of flavors. I'd say Daiya definitely melts better, but both are tasty.
As for the Gardein products, I much prefer their frozen items. I haven't been too happy with the refrigerator stuff, but the frozen chicken/beef is AMAZING!! It holds up really well in stews too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

touring bands

Earlier this week, California bands The Funeral Pyre and Early Graves stayed with Pete and me in our little apartment by the sea. The living room floor, normally wood, was carpeted with sleeping bags. The dogs loved it. They had extra cuddle buddies. It was like they were having a sleepover party. They've been playing in MA and NH the last few days, and one of the shows was at Church in Boston, which I was thought was a pretty rad venue as well. Pete played with them in Haverhill at Anchors Up on Wednesday evening, but sadly, I did not get to attend as I had work.

The boys' sleepover party.

Church's bathroom. I thought they were cool.