An Interesting Experience...
Trip Start Jul 14, 2010
93Trip End May 18, 2011
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Where I stayed
Couchsurfed with Victor
We arrived in Puyo in the morning and were met by two brothers of our couchsurfing host, who called him Victor, not Hugo, like the couchsurfing site said. That was confusion number one. We arrived at Victor´s house, which was undergoing construction on the second floor, so the house was definitely not in the best shape, but we let that slide. Once we met Victor, we learned that he was the oldest of several brothers and sisters, and his parents lived in New York, so he was basically running the household along with his oldest younger sister, who was only about a year younger than him.
We left our things in Victor´s room, then were met by two of Victor´s friends who had a car, and drove us around to see Puyo with Victor. As I recall, it wasn´t anything too special, but it did have some charm to it. We stopped at a store, where Victor´s friends bought a case of 12 large beers and some plastic cups, which they offered to us, filled with beer, in the back seat of the car. Apparently, it´s legal to have open containers of beer in your car, as long as the driver is not the one drinking. That was definitely weird to get used to.
Soon thereafter, we went to a restaurant to have some lunch. The restaurant was right on a river, with a reserve on the other side with tons of palm trees and the occassional macaw flying majestically over the canopy. That was absolutely beautiful, but I unfortunately didn´t have my camera with me, so I don´t have any pictures. We ate a typical dish from Puyo, which had plantain chips covered with tuna, lime juice, boiled corn, and other fresh vegetables. It tasted really good, and we ate it pretty much like nachos. There, we were met by another of Victor´s friends, and ordered two to four more large bottles of beer for the table. After lunch, we stayed near the parked car and listened to music with the door of the car open, and drank more beer. Logan has mentioned this before, but we have been constantly surprised at how much people can drink here in Latin America. A few large beers is nothing to them, while one regular sized bottle of beer for us will get us buzzed. We kept being offered cups of beer, so we kept drinking, all the time speaking Spanish with Victor and his friends and telling them that doing this sort of drinking on the streets in the States would be illegal, except for in Las Vegas and a few other cities. They told us that it was technically not allowed, and they did this a lot and cops would drive right by without having a problem with it. They said that as long as we weren´t causing a disturbance, the cops didn´t mind - and we did have a few cops drive by on motorcycles without bothering us. I guess all we could do was trust them on that!
A few hours later, still drinking, some cops did decide to come talk to us, asked for our IDs, and told us that we weren´t allowed to do what we were doing. When the cops saw that our IDs indicated we were from California, they repremanded us a bit, saying in Spanish ¨You know you can´t do this sort of thing in the United States, so why do you think you can do this here?¨ We respectfully agreed, turned off the radio, closed the car door, and took our beers to a nearby restaurant with outdoor seating to finish them, while discussing the rarity of the situation that had just occurred.
After finishing the beers, most of Victor´s friends (with the car) left, while Victor, Logan, Victor´s friend and I stayed around the area and of course ordered more beers, which we unsuccessfully tried to resist. At this point, we´d been drinking for about 8 hours. A bit later, we took a taxi to Victor´s cousin´s house so that Victor could take a shower and change into nicer clothes, as the plan was to go to a concert that night. Fortunately, his cousin fed all four of us some chicken soup with noodles, bananas, and blackberry juice, which we thanked her profusely for.
After dinner, Logan and I decided that we were too tired (and drunk) to go to the concert, so we went back to Victor´s house to sleep. We were woken up by Victor at some point in the middle of the night, telling us that we missed a great concert, and telling us we´d see him at 10 in the morning, then about an hour later, one of Victor´s younger brothers came in, turned on the light, realized we weren´t Victor, then turned the light off again and left. A few hours after this, at about 5 AM, somebody came in the house and started banging around pots and pans in the kitchen, which was right next to our room. After that, the same person went into the room next to ours, where Victor´s oldest sister was sleeping, and woke her up. We heard the voices of the sister, the person who came into the house, and the voice of another man. The voices started getting louder and more excited until we started hearing the sounds of the two men wrestling and fighting on the ground, while the sister was telling them to stop. The fight continued, while Logan and I were sitting up in our bed with adrenaline rushing through our veins, wondering what the hell we were supposed to do in this situation, thinking that one of them could easily have a gun. We stayed in the room, and heard glass breaking, as if one guy had thrown the other through the window. Eventually, the excitement died down, and the guy who had started the fight was yelling in pain, as the sister called the cops. They came pretty promptly, but nobody ever came into our room to see how we were or anything. Victor had given up his bed for us, so he wasn´t even there. After the cops left, everything was a lot more calm, except that the sister put on a scary movie for her younger brother, and it was playing really loudly! We tried to sleep for a few more hours, then got ready, left Victor a note with a gift of some chocolate, and got the hell out of Puyo.
All in all, an interesting experience, and something we´ve definitely learned from for couchsurfing. Two run ins with the cops, drinking, and a fight. Woo! Don´t worry though, we´re okay!
Actually, I forgot to mention another weird thing that happened when we got back to Victor´s house to sleep. Victor came in to the room and introduced us to one of his brothers, then out of nowhere asked me if he could see my camera. When I went into my backpack to get it, it wasn´t there. I was confused, and thought that maybe I had just left it somewhere else, but then Victor´s brother took a camera from the sill of the door and gave it to Victor. Victor asked me if that was my camera, to which I replied that it was. He gave it back to me, and his brother explained that some friends had come into the house, so he had gone through my things to hide the camera so it wouldn´t be stolen. Okay, appreciated, but still weird...Victor made his brother apologize, to which Logan and I accepted, with thinly veiled discomfort. We soon forgot the incident and fell asleep.