What I Learned On (Two) Six-Hour Bus Ride(s)

Last Thursday morning we left our hotel at 8 in the morning so that we could make the six-hour trek to the Amazon. I was a little nervous about the twisty roads and the drive up to 12,000 feet above sea level, so I took a Dramamine (or two) to prepare for the trip. We made it to the Amazon around 2 Thursday afternoon, and about 24 hours later, we made the trip back to Quito.

So yes. We spent approximately 12 out of 36 hours on a bus.

That is, as my mother-in-law would say, “a lots.”

The good news is that I loved my fellow travelers, so it really was fun to hang out and visit and marvel over the gorgeous scenery together.

And as an added bonus, I learned some things.

I would be delighted to share some of those lessons at this juncture.

1. Opening the windows on an un-air conditioned bus is an excellent way to get some cool air moving around, especially in the mountains of Ecuador.

2. However, if you travel through Quito during rush hour, the smell of diesel fuel coming through said windows is somewhat overwhelming.

3. Also: if you should happen to be traveling with a manure truck either in front of or behind the bus, the combination of manure and diesel fumes will cause profound olfactory overload.

4. In the event that olfactory overload is combined with twisty roads and the sudden onset of car sickness, Melanie has some cat-like reflexes in terms of grabbing a plastic bag in the nick of time.

5. When one of my very best friends (see #4) gets car sick in Ecuador, I tend to say “I am so sorry” over and over again.

6. Kelly and I share a fascination with South American snack food products.

7. Kelly initially developed a strong loyalty to the Doritos Mega Queso, but we were both intrigued by another brand of chips which, interestingly enough, were simply called “Nachos.”

8. I found the Nachos to be way too heavy on the corn flavor and way too light on the cheese flavor. In fact, Amanda and I christened them “menos queso.” I was not a fan.

9. Ruffles in South America taste just like Ruffles in North America.

10. There is a certain comfort that goes along with Ruffles tasting like you expect them to taste. Especially when you’re a little homesick. And mildly car sick.

11. There is a South American snack called “Gudiz” that may be the most interesting food I have ever tried.

(picture via Chris)

12. As best I could tell, Gudiz are pretty much Cheetos combined with Fruit Loops.

13. Seriously. You take a bite, and you’re like, “OH, it’s Cheetos” and then two seconds later you’re thinking, “WAIT. DO I TASTE STRAWBERRY?”

14. I never could figure out if Gudiz are a legitimate cereal or a snack food. Maybe they’re a snereal.

15. While Amanda, Kelly and I were discussing the merits of the various and sundry potato and/or corn chip options, I heard Shaun and Ann – who were sitting right behind us with Ann’s husband – discussing the book of Colossians.

16. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more shallow.

17. But still. Did you see the part about Gudiz tasting like Cheetos AND Fruit Loops?

18. Ann looks at everything in God’s creation with contagious wonder. Around hour three of our bus trip, I realized that I could listen to her talk about, oh, TREES for pretty much the rest of my life.

19. Given a fairly wide open expanse of time, I apparently like to talk about writing A LOT. NOT THAT PEOPLE ASKED OR ANYTHING. I just start to offer all manner of unsolicited thoughts and feelings. Because THAT’S NOT ANNOYING.

20. The Ecuadorian countryside seems to bring out a strong desire (in me, at least) to listen to Watermark’s A Grateful People album. Because I listened to it over and over. And over. And over.

And then I listened to it some more.

All righty. I’d better get back to the business of settling back into my normal routine.


(I am unfamiliar with this concept.)

(Have a great day, everybody!)

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the blogs from the Compassion team. So glad you all made it back safely and in one piece. You know, the canoe didn’t overturn, no run-ins with snakes or monkeys.
    What a difference you guys made in the lives of the people of Ecuador. I know you all were blessed as well.

  2. This post is a great example of why i love reading your bog so much!! It’s funny, sincere, and I just can’t get enough of it. Thanks for writing!!

  3. Kimberly/OKC says:

    So glad you’re back! Thanks for making me cry every morning…in a good way.

  4. I’m so happy that you’re home all safe & sound :) Thanks for sharing your adventures with us…I was both riveted and delighted!

  5. What? No “Sabor de Soledad???”

  6. So glad you are home safe and all in one piece, except for that huge piece of our collective hearts that you forever left behind with those children.

    Thank you Sophie!

  7. Oh goodness, I didn’t realize y’all were going up in the mountains too. I wouls have had a whole ‘nother email of instruction and tips! When I went to Ecuador that’s where we went – Carchi. Near Columbia. I NEVER EVER get car, boat or plane sick but BUS SICK in the middle of the Ecuadorian mountains? yes, mam’m, I do. Then a team member complained of the chilliness of the open bus window and I may or may not have snarled ” better than vomit”. Then my friend sang “and they we will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…”.

  8. So glad you are back safe and sound! Thanks for updating us while you were in South America and thanks for your daily wit, humor, laughs, sincerity etc.

  9. Sophie, you are an absolute treasure! Thank you for spreading your joy this morning! :)

  10. … and I’d love a fairly wide open expanse of time with you any day, Mz Boo Mama — and didn’t we all lap up your unsolicited thoughts? You have a gift. :) It’s happily true: your writing is phenomenal and hilarious — and you in person? Multiplied perfection.

    I think I need to go right now — and discover Watermark’s Grateful People Appropriate, don’t you think? :) (Have you seen the trees today??!!! :)

  11. Gosh, I just adore you, Sophie. I love this post. Well, and all the other ones, for that matter.

  12. I always knew I could thank you for being “my pretend friend from the Internet” but now I can thank you for my new favorite word: “snereal.” You’re a blast!

  13. A Grateful People is also one of my most favorites! I can sing EVERYBODY’S harmony on “Take Me There” at the top of my voice. And that makes me happy. I enjoyed so much reading about your trip. You’ll never be the same.

  14. I am so happy you’re home, safe and sound! I loved following what you all were doing! It was wonderful! Thank you, thank you for sharing!

  15. Oh, I feel for Melanie. All those smells combined for “profound olfactory overload” plus a bus ride through the mountains? It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

    I would have been discussing the food for sure. I bet I could listen to Ann talk about trees all day long, too.

  16. bahahahaha! Snereal.

  17. SO glad you are back safe and sound! Oh and about the car sickness??? I am so sorry…I am just so sorry…so sorry.

  18. A classic Boomama post…warm, witty and so much fun to read! Bless you!

    P.S. I don’t think you’re shallow…a cheesey fruit loop (or would it be a fruity cheeto) definitely merits a discussion! ha ha

  19. Do you find it heartwarming that I’m eating some Xtra Cheddar Goldfish right now as I read this? From now on they are Mega Queso Goldfish.

  20. So how many packages of Gudiz did you bring home?

    I just LOVED this entry. Just the right amount of serious and snarky. Welcome home.

  21. This made me laugh so hard. Mostly because #15 was so true. :-)

  22. Dear Santa,
    Please leave me some Gudiz. Lots and lots of Gudiz. I’ve been a very good girl this year.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. I can relate to the diesel smell. That’s how it smelled for us in Guatemala too. Strong with so many cars!!

    I loved your interesting little facts, by the way. :)

  24. thank you. i love the way you all went on the *same trip* yet saw it through your own lenses. THAT helps me see Jesus. And I litterally laughed out loud. I need that just as much as I need to see that trees are awesome.

  25. I love that Gudiz is pronounced Goodies. It’s like a little Frito-Lay play-on-words. And “snereal” is my new favorite Sniglet.

  26. This is exactly how I remember it, particularly the deep theological discussion contrasted with the merits of South American snack food. I’m ashamed to admit which had most of my attention.

  27. Katherine says:

    Welcome back! #11-#17 = priceless!

  28. Thanks for taking us down the river and back. I would so love to try the Fruit Loop Cheetos! Welcome home.

  29. A Grateful People is one of my favorite albums of all time.

  30. I think I would like to vacation with you.

  31. Glad you’re home safe and sound!

    #15 cracked me right up!

  32. Snereal. Ha. I LOVE it.
    Glad you all are back! What an amazing experience! :)

  33. Welcome back to Bama land where the tea flows cold & sweet and our cheetos are fruitless.

  34. You make me mega queso happy… Yeah that didn’t really make sense. But I am now going to follow you forever thanks to Compassion Bloggers introducing you to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  35. Oh #15 made me laugh so.hard. Thanks for writing!!

  36. Okay, don’t take this the wrong way, but I am sort of in love with you right now! LOL I’ve been following you throughout the trip and I’m fairly certain you and I would get along just fine and dandy. The climbing of the stairs and the returning to normal life? No thanks. The loving those kids until they’re little arms fall off? Yes, please!

  37. I haven’t been by in awhile since I’m missing a blog roll on my new blog design…and in general have been way busy. It looks like you have been busy as well! I am hoping to hop around and catch up on some of your posts about Ecuador. I imagine if I met Ann in person, I could listen to her talk about trees or what-have-you for the rest of my life as well. That woman has an amazing heart for the Lord…and a true gift with words.

    Very intrigued with the Gudiz…cannot even fathom what a cheeto/fruit loop would taste like. Interesting!

  38. You just about cracked me up!!