It's been a whirlwind week. And we made it home - barely. New York fuckin' City. Thanks to Marie, I made it home... But let's go back to the beginning and those fucking banditos (we'll get to barely gettin' home later on - after I lay down and pass out). Nearly a week ago we were on our way to Otavalo. Marie'd wanted to go to that town about an hour and a half north of Quito as they purportedly had one of the biggest open air markets in the country - every Saturday mostly selling local arts and crafts. And Marie having the big heart that she does wanted to check it out and buy all of her friends and family gifts before we went home. Shit, she even ended up buying my family gifts - like I said: big heart. So we're on the bus and we have a couple of our small bags above us on the rack, and the bus begins to fill up as the Got damned buses there stop for every straggler on the side of the road all the way throughout the trip. You can catch a bus anywhere along the road ANYWHERE in Ecuador. And we're not paying attention for about the first quarter of the ride, when suddenly, at one of the stops where some of the people who had been standing in the aisles cleared out Marie had a 'feeling' and stood up to check our bags. Hers was fine but mine had slid (or been pulled) down the overhead rack to a few seats behind us. She took them down and handed me mine, but I didn't think anything about it as it was heavy and figured that it had just slid. Needless to say, I was wrong. And I really wasn't paying attention as I'd had to pee for about the last three hours as the buses NEVER stop for piss breaks, and the bathrooms either aren't open on the bus or they don't exist (I swear Ecuadorians have the biggest bladders in the WORLD - they NEVER have to pee! NEVER! I was on buses there for up to 12 hrs at a time and never saw anyone but Marie pee.) So I was thinking about other things at the time and I didn't notice that anything was missing until we got off the bus in the pouring rain in the dark a mile or so outside of Otavalo. Marie and I'd been fighting a bit about something or other that bus rides usually provoke between us when a German kid sitting across the aisle got up to ask the bus driver's assistant when we were going to get to Otavalo. The bus driver pulled over and promtply dropped the three of us off in a downpour in the dark of the night and said that we'd just passed Otavalo and Marie cussed him out under her breath as we got off and the assistant took our bags out from under the bus. I was pissed too, but pretty much fucking resigned to fate at that point and was just glad to have a chance to pee. My body was all crinkled up, my bladder was burning, and I was burned out from the ride and from Marie and me arguing, and my friend dyin' the week before, and walkin' in the rain in the dark seemed par for the fuckin' course at that point. And so when I went to reach into my pack for my flashlight to light our way I wasn't too shocked when I found that it was gone, along with a few other things. So we walked halfway to town, about a mile in the downpour, soaked to the bone, until we found a taxi at a stop light and the German kid hopped a bus. We found a place, peed, dropped our stuff off and continued to argue all the way throughout dinner. It was an auspicious way to start winding down our trip... Fucking banditos.