A year ago I was sort of wandering around in a daze and felt that my life was missing something that would have made it totally awesome. Instead of cutting off one of my arms and replacing with a robot arm that had lasers to enable me to fight crime or commit crime, the logical solution to increasing awesome was to hop on a plane and go to Ecuador for a month.
Of course, while being in a foreign country and never having actually left your country of birth before this trip, I totally did the tourist thing and packed my days full of stupid things that included sightseeing and horseback riding up a freaking’ volcano with a tour guide that talked about how horrible marriage was and the best thing I could ever do is live alone until I’m dead. No joke. That happened.
One of the things I decided I was going to do was a traditional “Shaman Cleansing” that I had booked through the resort I was staying at. Being the naive, silly Canadian that I am I figured it would be something like what the Native’s of my homeland do. Burn shit and then wafts it around you until you smell like burnt poplar while having a feather in your face. You know something simple and mildly entertaining. And, apparently, cleansing.
Ecuador, my friends, pretty much took my expectations and beliefs and punched them right in the face after giving my grandmother a reach around.
After getting up at a stupid early time in the morning we had to drive three hours to Otavalo to have this uplifting and magical experience. Our trip was sprinkled with sight-seeing, stray dogs, being educated by the marriage hater why poor mountain people are a disease on the land, and seeing some type of sacred mountain we managed to get to the town and submerge ourselves in an old world market that has been going on since the dawn of time that, by some miracle, catered to tourists.
After shopping and lunch we drove to a nearly abandoned parking lot where I was instructed that we had to wait in our vehicle until someone who worked with the Shaman would come greet us to make sure we weren’t spies or the police or something. It felt like an awkward, inappropriate stake out. Then some kid on a bike peddles up, bangs on our window and forces us to follow him in our van through various back streets until we came to Shanty Town USA (not in the USA). There were chickens, goats, and children running around wild in a mystical sort of fashion.
When I was greeted by the Shaman lady she looked to be about a hundred years old, midget sized with age and missing just about all her teeth. She also didn’t speak English and I only know how to rudely say no in Spanish so everything had to be translated by my tour guide.
Everything was going fine when the lady brought us into her little Shaman shack and showed us her beautifully creepy alter that was full of bleeding pictures of Jesus and what I assumed the smiling happy faces of her family because wouldn’t it just be weird if those were just the models that came with the picture frame? Things got weird when she started speaking in Spanish and trying to pull my clothes off of my body in a SURPRISE! I’m going to granny date rape you sort of way.
I tried to fend her off while looking at the tour guide for some help when he eventually said to me “you’ve got to take your clothes of for your Cleansing” and he kind of said it with a smile on his face as if he had waited his whole life to tell a naive, innocent Canadian girl that it was time to strip down for a toothless hundred year old lady.
Eventually Date Rape Granny drew certain across the hut for privacy so I could just show my titties to grandma and not the tour guide because he was an unhappily married boy. But he still had to sit on the other side of the curtain because he would have to translate for us. It was the most awkward peep show I never wanted to be in.
After my mental breakdown I shucked all my clothing until I was just standing in my underwear in this dirty like shack with pictures of bleeding Jesus staring into my soul in a leering, judgemental fashion while her picture frame model family smiled at me. The ritual began with the little old lady grabbing a bottle and spouting of some nonsense before she took a big gulp of liquid. The Tour Guide barely gave me enough warning when he told me I should probably close my eyes for what was going to happen next.
She spit the liquid all over my face. All. Over. My. Face.
Now, getting spit in the face is off putting I’ll admit. What makes it worse? FUCK YOU! It’s tequila that has been distilled to the point that it’s the purest form of alcohol it could ever hope to be. And it Just. Got. Spit. Into. Your. Face. What’s worse than it getting spit in your face? Having to rub it into your face until the burning is slightly less burny.
She didn’t stop with the spitting either. She continued it until my whole body was drenched four or five times until I was pretty sure I had accumulated a contact high by having it rubbing in my face or soaked through my skin. Oh by the way, her hands were roaming every during this just to make sure that my tits and everything else was soaked in liquor.
That feeling of potentially being date raped by a Shaman Grandma? Totally increased tenfold. I couldn’t even concentrate super hard on being cleansed as I was supposed to because I had to formulate a plan of how I was going to tell The Pilot I was date raped by a Ecuadorian Grandmother who didn’t even bother with roofies because she’s hardcore and just decided to start with spitting in my face.
I didn’t think it could get any worse than it was until shit got real.
Once I was completely covered in magic juice she started beating me with nettles. Fucking nettles. As in, I’m going to pull this thorny shit from a bush and beat the first fucking person that willingly comes into my shack. Just for fun. The nettles stung so much against my liquor stung skin that I almost wished she had just planned on date raping me instead.
Just to add insult to injury, she spit more magic juice on me too. Then almost as an afterthought she rubbed an uncracked egg and stones me on too. Just like “Hey, while I’ve got all this random shit sitting around I might as well just molest you with them. For fun, ya know?”
Finally I was allowed to put my clothes back on and I was told I wasn’t allowed to eat anything good and wasn’t allowed to have a shower until midnight. Then we had to drive the three hours back to the resort in a country that routinely boils your blood on an overcast day in a van that didn’t have air conditioning. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure the driver got drunk off the fumes I was emitting after my cleansing beat down.
It wasn’t until I got to the resort and tried to have a shower that I found out they had shut my water off in my room until at least midnight because they take this shit super seriously in Ecuador that it hit me.
I just paid that lady a hundred dollars to spit on me and then beat me up while Jesus cried blood and picture frame models watched. Next time, I might just ask for Shaman identification.