I`m a tourist again.
Saturday afternoon, in the midst of my battling head and heart, reluctant to leave Vilcabamba but packing my bags, ´real life´ came in to distract me once or twice. I`d been staying in the apartment that Tina, the farm`s owner, and her friend Martha share for volunteers and for when they need it. A couple other people were hanging out as well, getting ready to leave. We were all sitting in the front room when we noticed a man sitting on the curb across the street. He appeared to be injured. He was Ecuadorian, a labourer, had no money, lived in the next little town over, and it turned out he`d fallen and sliced his hand on some glass. He was bleeding profusely and his thumb was almost falling off. I think he`d been to the hospital but since he had no money he couldn`t be treated and was just crying and bleeding all over the place.
We took him into the apartment to clean his hand a bit and gave him a temporary rag, then walked him to the hospital nearby. I asked the nurses to help and was quickly introduced to the convoluted health care system in Ecuador. They would, for free, treat and stitch his thumb back on, but they kept no supplies at the facility and it was up to us to run to the nearest Farmacia to buy them. So a the 2 girls and I waited there with him, I gave their other friend some money, and he ran off, coming back in about 5 minutes with a suture kit, needles, pain medication, etc, all for $5. We hung around while Jaime got fixed up, I bought him a sugary drink to help his blood-sugar level, and we walked him back into town, wishing him good luck and giving him advice on how to keep it clean. He said he had much respect for us all and walked away properly bandaged and grateful.
Sunday I felt sick knowing I was going to leave: I`d arranged a ride with one of Martha´s friends who was going into Loja at 1pm. I knew my friends at the farm might be showing up sometime that day so it was agony not knowing if I`d see them one last time before I left. I didn`t. The ride was nice though and, not wanting to linger or I`d never move on, I immediately took a bus to Cuenca. The guy who drove me, by the way, basically propositioned me when I said I`d consider living in the area for a while. He said he lived alone and if we lived together matrimonially for just a year I could get dual citizenship. This was with respect of course - he is a good man and a good friend of Martha`s so I trusted him - it`s just the way people are around here and I politely said I wasn`t sure what my plans were.
Anyway, here I am in Cuenca, a lovely little city with stunning rustic architecture and lots of art shops which is what I tend to look at now when I`m in bigger places. I went into the Museum of Contempory Art which didn`t actually have an exhibition cuz they were preparing one for February, but the building itself was worth looking at as they have the most beautiful gardens. This afternoon I`m gonna head down to the river, which I hear is also very beautiful. I`m not quite ready to soak in the stones yet. I need a bit of nature.