Figuring bus schedules in Ecuador can be twisted like a pretzel.
Riders on buses here sometimes have to stand in the aisles. Some buses don’t have windows you can open and men usually surrender their seats to women who are pregnant or holding babies.
Some local buses in Ecuador are modern with Mercedes diesel engines and flat screen televisions, but the ones going to small towns, like Nabon, are like the primitive ones we rode to public schools in New Mexico. While our bus was always painted yellow, those in Ecuador are painted blue or green,or yellow ,or a combination of all the colors.
Carol has our bus times written down and we only have to get to El Dragon Park by nine to catch the first nine thirty bus to Nabon. El Dragon Park is not big but its dragon is locked up, to protect him from us.
When the nine thirty doesn’t arrive on time, we start asking the person about the schedule who knows best – a lady that makes her living selling fruit cups to passengers on each bus that comes and goes from this spot.
” No bus at nine thirty, ” she tells Carol, ” Once y medio on Domingo. ”
We take a walk, and have a longer wait, and finally board for our hour and a half ride to Nabon hoping to see a local small town parade with authentic costumes, indigenous arts and crafts, and a church with a fantastic interior.
Nabon is reached by driving a steep and winding highway with panoramic views, up and down and around curves, up hills with the transmission groaning and exhaust sputtering out the tailpipe.
Arriving in Nabon, we take precautions and check bus times back to Cuenca to make sure we have a ride back when we need to return. The buses back to Cuenca,it turns out, after two p.m., are full. If we don’t catch the two p.m. bus back today we will have to stay overnight in Nabon. Carol has an early appointment tomorrow morning, that can’t be missed ,so our plans for the afternoon have to be scuttled.
We buy tickets for our soon to be ride back to Cuenca and have lunch in the bus station. When we board the two o clock bus we are relieved to have seats but disappointed to miss all the local charm we rode up to see.
” Nice parade, ” I say, as the bus pulls out of the little station with a view of the Andes, the most modern facility in sight.
Carol smiles and says, ” The costumes were beautiful. ”
Things in Ecuador don’t always go according to plan.
Turning lemons into lemonade is a good skill to have wherever you are.
Friends with a sense of humor are good to have.