Message in a Barrel – Postcard # 1: Quito
I’d like to introduce you to a jovial Ecuadorian named Wilson. He lives in a gated condo complex in suburban Quito and has a son named Josue. As you can see, they both love the colour yellow. Wilson was the lucky recipient of postcard number one. Well, let’s make that lucky recipient of scrappy piece of lined paper, love note number one. I think Wilson has the nickname of Nacho and he was sending it to his “love”, but we delivered it to him instead. Woops, but who can blame us, my spanish is compiled mostly of words stolen from the menu of my favorite South Californian fast food chain, El Pollo Loco.
Wilson went to the Galapagos Islands two weeks prior to our meeting with a friend in the Ecuadorian military. He dropped the message in the barrel on April 7th, 2005. Ten days for delivery. By Ecuadorian mail standards, we pretty much beat FedEx.
Wilson was surprised to see us at his doorstep with the postcard. He figured one of his neighbours or somebody local would bring the message to him after they visited the barrel in the Galapagos. Now take this into consideration: The day previous to our delivery, the Ecuadorian President declared a nationwide state of emergency as a result of massive public demonstraions against his ill-advised actions at the top, namely, declaring a nationwide state of emergency. The borders were sealed, nobody was allowed in or out of the country. A curfew was imposed, then was ignored by everyone. General mayhem ensued. At the exact moment these pictures were taken, thousands of people were gathered in the centre of Quito angrily demanding the resignation of the president. The next day the President of Ecuador threw in the towel and put ‘some other guy’ in charge of the country. Military helicopter escape from the roof of the Brazilian embassy, police firing revolvers randomly into crowds, that sort of thing. All this and Wilson was surprised to see two backpack-laden gringos at his doorstep with a postcard.
Hey, at least we did something original.
El postal numero uno completo. Proxima, numero dos.
Check out www.messageinabarrel.com for more tales of traveling postcards.