I don´t want the last thing I see to be 2 Fast 2 Furious..."
As we were standing rather awkwardly on the Pan American, we reconsidered our decision to flag down the bus to transfer town Quevedo. We´d been told several times that a bus traveling the same route - (described by Lonely Planet as "one of the roughest, least-traveled and perhaps most spectacular bus routes") - had wrecked only the night before. This deteriorating little construction snaked through the highland Andes and plunged into more tropical vegetation heading westward - I was trying desperately to reach the Coast before kelsey fully destroyed me. Given that the wreck only involved one fatality and a single hospitalization, I decided these odds were much more favorable than spending more time with a hell-bent freezing cold sister. We jogged over to the sketchy looking contraption and embarked on our potentially fatal bus ride.
As we wiggled into our seats, we were pleased to see that the bus company had provided entertainment...no doubt to distract its customers from thoughts of a very grisly death. Most ironically, the film choices were "The Fast and the Furious" (a violence and wreck-ridden car racing flick) followed closely by "2 Fast 2 Furious" (the equally terrible sequel). As I was deciding that Vin Diesel is indeed a better actor when dubbed, Kelsey furiously rubbed her good-luck jade ring, averted her eyes from the horrifying cliffs at the edge of the road, and said: "if I die, I don´t want the last thing I see to be 2 Fast 2 Furious." We laughed too loud at how horrifyinginly (in)appropriate the films were for our particular situation. As the bus hurtled over potholes, through streams and around hairpin mountain turns, we made sure to white-knuckle clutch anything we could.
The ride truly was spectacular - shrubby mountain flora seemed to transform instantly into the lush and tropical; thunderous rivers poured from the depths of the forests; staggering cliffs melted into hazy little valleys. It was a truly intoxicating diversity of sights. Even more fortunately, the extraordinarily bumpy ride had in some way disabled the VCR...instead, hypnotic Ecuadorian techno-salsa cumbia music boomed through the air, simultaneously assaulting and assuaging our death-bus anxieties. After four hours of fun, we arrived in Quevedo feeling quite shaken and stirred but very much alive. With an air of triumph and defiance, we transferred to a safer, albeit much less exciting, Ecuadorian death trap and headed toward the coast.