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2002-11-14 - 7:53 p.m.

I m not usually much of a consumer. I spent almost the entire Sunday at some markets outside of Cuenca with my friend Marianne, and neglected to buy more than a bottle of water and a glass of freshly squeezed pineapple juice (my new love). But every once in a while, a consumer urge strikes, and I feel compelled to actually spend money on something.

I want a ring. I want a silver ring for the middle finger of my left hand, and I want it bad. I want something heavy enough to remind me of its presence in the subtlest of ways, and light enough to not annoy me. I havenīt worn a ring of any sort in at least a few years, and didnīt even realize I wanted one until I randomly tried one on at a gift shop at a local museum. It was a cheap little silver ring, but it felt so right on my finger. All of a sudden, I missed the ring I used to wear on that finger, missed it suddenly and completely, with an almost physical ache in my chest. That ring was a cheap little silver ring as well, that I bought in Athens during my senior year of college. It was my and Treyīs three-year anniversary, and he had accused me of not caring about our relationship. So I went to one of the trendy gift shops in town, and bought two matching silver rings ($10 each, a lot for me in those days). I wrapped them up and left them in his mailbox; when he unwrapped them, he started crying, or so he told me. I wore mine on the middle finger of my left hand, and he wore his on the pinkie finger of his right hand - when we held hands, they made a pleasant clinking sound together. We both continued to wear them long after we had broken up, although we were loathe to admit it to each other. Years later, after some fight, he threw his into the bushes across the street from his house. I kept mine a while longer, but finally mailed it to him in a big manila envelope, along with some other things. A birthday present, perhaps? Maybe. He never got it; the envelope opened up somewhere between Austin and Atlanta, and the ring was lost along the way.

But tomorrow, I will buy a new ring. I will buy a ring that will remind me of Ecuador, and how happy I am here, and how important it is to take a step away from your life and gain some perspective. That is what I will do.

* * * * *

More entries are coming tomorrow, with pictures, compliments of my brotherīs old digital camera (and if you want to read a real travel journal, please visit his site - heīs travelling around Africa right now). I spent a frustrating hour at Cuenc@Net yesterday, trying to figure out how to download my pictures. Suzie (Cuenc@Net employee and the only lesbian in Cuenca, as far as either of us can tell) offered to do it for me, and my pictures are all now downloaded and waiting for me. She promised to show me how to do it myself next time. But she owes me one - after asking me about my Lucksmiths shirt, I brought her about a dozen cds, which she loved and burned copies of for herself. Establishing my indie rock cred in Ecuador! Pretty damn cool.

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