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Archive for March, 2009:

Counterfeit Twenty

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Twenty Dollar BillSomewhere along the line I picked up a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. I didn’t know it was dubious until I tried to spend it at a restaurant in La Libertad. The waiter asked me if I had another bill, he said the one I gave him was bad. I protested, a little offended. It’s not like I counterfeited the bill and regardless of its authenticity, the restaurant could just pass it off to the next unsuspecting customer and so the bill would circulate like a hot potato.

The waiter took me to the cash register and showed me what it looked like under a black light. There were several creases that had worn away to white from wear, the white creases shining under the black light. I had noticed the bill was worn before I tried to spend it but I thought it was just because I had put it in my shoe for safe-keeping on one bus ride. I finally agreed the bill was fake and I borrowed money from my captain for the bill, figuring I’d spend the twenty at some less vigilent establishment, even if I have to wait till I get back to the States–they never check there.

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Marlin

Friday, March 13th, 2009

marlinAfter Quito I took a night bus to Guayaquil and then another to La Libertad. I didn’t bother checking out Guayaquil because I’ve grown tired of the big cities. If I have time before we leave, I might check out some of the smaller towns on the coast. Once in La Libertad I phoned my new captain to tell him I was getting in a taxi to the marina. He said he’d meet me at the gate in 10 minutes. At the gate I met Tom, face-to-face, for the first time. He hopped in the cab and the driver took us the rest of the way, through the marina, to Tom’s boat, Marlin.

Marlin was drydocked and had been for the last 6 months at Puerto Lucia while Tom had to go back to working as a chef in the Caymen Islands. I liked Tom immediately. He’s responsible, hard working, fun and easy-going. When I arrived, He had been working on installing a new auto-pilot and an electric windlass (that’s the thing that hauls the anchor up, thank God). After some small talk, he continued working on the boat and I slept, having gotten poor sleep on the bus ride.

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Ecuador

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

QuitoFrom Bogota, I took a bus to Cali (not -fornia). I arrived late at night and didn’t have an address for the hostel. I had a taxi driver take me to another hotel and I used their Internet to locate the hostel. It was like saying, “I’m not going to stay here, but can I use your Internet to locate another hotel?” I spent two and a half days in Cali. It was okay, I hung out at the hostel mostly, laying low and trying to save money, especially because I can’t get any more until I get my bank cards. The hostel was kind of empty anyways but there was one guy who rode his bike from the US to Costa Rica until he hurt his leg.

I left Cali at 9pm to go to Ipiales, the border town before Ecuador. I managed to sleep most of the ride except when I was woken by a police officer in Popayan who wanted to search my bag and check my passport. He did and I went back to sleep. We arrived at Ipiales early morning where Felipe, an Argentine I met on the bus, and I took a cab to the border. We checked out of Colombia and into Ecuador. Then took another cab to Tulcan, where we hopped on another bus to Quito. This leg took 5 hours and we passed the equator without much notice. My first time in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Good Riddance Miami

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Bogotá from Cerro de MontserratI booked a room at a hostel in Miami for Saturday night because my plane was scheduled to leave at 6:30am on Sunday. I never made it to the hostel, though. I asked Adam what he thought of going out in Miami on Saturday night and he said he was down. He asked Allison and so was she.  We pre-partied at Honey and Dan’s place (friends of Allison). More of her friends arrived and we taxied it to Mansion in South Beach. Adam, my friend Owen and I  had actually been there once before when we were last together in Florida. It was more crowded than I remembered it being last time, which was a couple Decembers ago. Things were going good until it was getting a little late and I went to the bar to get a water. After ordering, I reached for my wallet and it wasn’t in my back pocket. I knew immediately that I’d been pick-pocketed. I showed my ID to gain entrance, so I had it then. I also tipped the bathroom guy, so I had it in the bathroom too. The dance floor was packed and there were always people brushing by. It was an easy task for a thief. I met up with our friends and they were tired and wanted to go home. Dan had already been kicked out—for what I don’t know.

Things could have been worse. There was only about $60 in the wallet. At least I was in the States and I was in the company of people who could trust me with a loan. I asked Adam to loan me $300 until I got my new cards. Afterwards, I called my bank and cancelled the cards. I had them send the new ones to my Mom’s house and I’ll have her FedEx them to Ecuador. I considered staying in Florida, at the cost of a $150 flight, to wait for the cards to come. This wouldn’t have been a bad option either. Because of this, I’m now paranoid about my stuff. I also hate Miami. And I continue to hate clubs. I don’t know why I went. I can’t wait to get back to the dive bars and karaoke bars of San Francisco.

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