So Thursday is our final day in Ecuador: fastest 4 months of my life. I know we’ve been MIA for the last like 5 weeks, sorry to disappoint, we’ve been caught up in a chaotic whirlwind attempt to fill every second of every day with worthwhile last minute sites and experiences while simultaneously trying our darndest not to fail all of our final projects and exams. Speaking of school, here’s something that will probably come of no surprise to those of you who read/recall my post about our fieldtrip with the Plantas Medicinales class (medicinal plants) and the leathery-faced, chain smoking, lunatic teacher:
Two weeks ago this teacher planned a mandatory field trip to the Columbian border. For those of you that don’t know what that means, let me spell it out for you: F-A-R-C. That’s right, FARC territory. For those of you still in the dark, las fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia are famous worldwide for their knack at political kidnappings, terrorist actions, involvement in drug trafficking, etc. You may recall the front-page photos released of withered former Colombian Presidential Candidate Ingrid Betancour after her 7-year stay with the FARC. Rather unpleasant to say the least. What’s more, there are upwards of 20 known and well-documented FARC bases on the Ecuadorian side of the border, and in the last 5 years the kidnappings and deaths of a decent number of Americans have been recorded in that area. That being said, it seems a given that a bunch of American abroad students should at least attempt to avoid meandering through the area. Something about the way our professor joked about bringing our passports just incase we come across the FARC gave me a tip off we probably shouldn’t be going there, and after checking with the International Student Office and the US Embassy, of course, I was right. Not only were we prohibited from attending the field trip (not that I wanted to get stuck with this lunatic again anyway) but the US embassy assured us that if we took our chances and got kidnapped by the FARC they’d simply say ‘I toldja’ so and leave us to die. I know what you’re thinking, any teacher in their right mind, completely aware that they have international students in their class, would NEVER plan a trip to the middle of ****ing FARC territory. Right?......WRONG, BITCH THIS IS ECUADOR. I think you can see where this is going…
1. Lunatic teacher gets pissed at us because he has already fronted the $$$$ for the bus to take us to the middle of the jungle, and us 4 international students wouldn’t be going so he’s out 80$.
2. When we ask if we can do a make up assignment, he berates us and our program coordinator, essentially telling us we’re morons and don’t deserve to live and that we are automatically going to be docked 10% of our final grade for not going.
3. Dean of Undergraduate students spends nearly an hour on the phone attempting to explain why it is unacceptable to force American students into FARC territory and persuading Prof. Imadickwad to give us a fair make-up assignment. Dean does not neglect to mention that even Ecuadorian students should not be going to FARC territory and that this is a major liability for the university and if anything happens he’s in deep you know what.
4. Prof proceeds to give us the silent treatment in class except to explain the completely outrageous assignment he claims is comparable to what the other students will be doing.
5. We are sick of the b/s and, with excessive difficulty and unnecessary fines, proceed to drop the class completely.
6. (Meanwhile, the professor cancelled the bus b/c not enough students were going to pay for it, and he has the students drive to the jungle in their own cars)
7. Day of the trip; MASSIVE CAR ACCIDENT. One of the student cars got in a terrible accident and flipped over multiple times. Now: Professor has a neck brace and so does one other student, the third student has a severe back injury and is still in the hospital hooked up to some machine that is lifting her head to decompress her spinal chord. GREAT IDEA PROFESSOR MORON.
SO this is what happens when you take a Medicinal Plants class with a total mental case.
Aside from that occurrence we’ve been preparing for the next leg of our trip: Adventures of Nikki And Kelsey—the mysteries of Machu Picchu, why Evo Morales charges Americans $100 to enter Bolivia, and How Argentina got its Groove Back.
The upcoming entries may be short, but we’ll try to keep you up to date on the crazy happenings. As it were, this Thursday we are leaving on a massive whirlwind, intracontinental trip through South America. First stop: the Inca Trail!! (A 4 day hike from Cuzco, Peru to Machu Picchu, the worlds largest and oldest and sickest Inca ruin.)