On A Road Between Capitals


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April 12th 2011
Published: April 12th 2011
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Hola Amigos.

We landed back in Quito after saying goodbye to the "Enchanted Isles", and although the wildlife was less tame in the city, the temperature was welcomed after the relentless heat of the Galapagos!
We headed south, through the mountains of central Ecuador stopping in a few towns and villages and an amazing National Park en-route. We have had an amazing time in Ecuador and have enjoyed many memorable moments that have left us pondering over a variety of topics?

SMALL CHANGE!
This is one of the most treasured possessions of any traveller in Ecuador! No matter what you purchase, the chances of the vendor having change for any bill is tremendously unlikely! Even buying small items like a bread bun or a banana which costs only a few pennies you would still have a fleetingly small chance of getting change from a one dollar bill!
All small change must be hoarded and must not be given to anyone!
On one occasion, a museum couldn´t give us change so they charged us student rate! It worked out good for us!

GOGGLES!
The Ecuadorian rainforest game of 'las gafas' or 'the goggles'! Oh how Dave (a.k.a. Norbert) will
Looking down onto BañosLooking down onto BañosLooking down onto Baños

After an early morning hike in the mountains.
miss it!?
"O.K., so I,ve been goggled in some strange places, meaning that I had to do a push-up. In the future I will try to have my 'block' on..." The oddest of games as there is never a winner, and you can,t ever finish the game either? Ever!
Anyone curious yet? Anyone wanna play???

BUSES.
The bus drivers are crazy! They drive like maniacs! This is of course a generalisation, but it seems to be 90 percent true! We have observed that most bus drivers are young and that Ecuador has a very high amount of bus accidents - so we assume that's why there are few older drivers??? And no matter how full the bus is, there's always room for one more person! Or two or twenty! Or fifty! Then if you do have a seat to sit on, someone may be sitting on you as they stand and try to obtain some form of sane balance during the curvy ride.
...And the music on the buses (all buses) play the same tunes over and over on a maddening loop! We don´t even know what the song is called, and we´re afraid to ask, in fear of
Toffee making in BañosToffee making in BañosToffee making in Baños

Made from sugarcane.
them selling us the C.D.! They can be quite persuasive!
The tune is, however, in all fairness, interspersed with cheesy R-rated movies and 1980´s shoot em ups.
However, one thing still remains mysterious to us about bus travel!? We read an article the other week about a young American boy who is challenging Einsteins theory of relativity... Here is a question for him. Howcome a bus travelling supersonically through Ecuador and Peru takes 5 hours to cover a meagre distance of only 200kms? Answer that one smartypants!

FRUITS AND MARKETS.
Olfactory overload at the fish markets! Theresa fights with nausea each time we walk through the meat and fish department......nasty stench!
Lucuma, tacso, pacae, babako, guanabana, tuna (cactus pears) and many others are some of the wierd and wonderful fruits we've been eating! It seems amazing that everytime we hit a local market we are baffled as to what fruit they´re selling!? Yeah, umm , er, do we need to cook these? Could we have some of those things please? Do we really get that many passion fruit for a dollar?!

BUSINESSES.
There once was a man who opened a toffee store. His business was doing very well
In case Tungurahua erupts!In case Tungurahua erupts!In case Tungurahua erupts!

In Baños. It erupted in December of 2010! Three months before our visit.
when one day another man got the idea to set up another toffee store.
"This is a great opportunity for me", he thought, "there are lots of people in his store buying toffee from him, so if I set up next door and sell the same things, I should do O.K"
He set up a business!
One day a third potential entrepreneur thought a similar business opportunity was to be had! He set up next door to the second guy - thinking that if these two business are doing well selling toffees in this location, I should be able to earn a decent living here too..
One day there was a fourth guy..... One day there was a fiftieth guy...
In Baños, Ecuador there are about a hundred toffee stores next door to each other on the same street!

T.V.
We have been enjoying a few shows over here on the odd occasion that we watch a T.V. Friends is a great show to watch with Spanish sub-titles, as is The Big Bang Theory. Some familiar movies that have been dubbed into spanish are fun too as we know the story and can generally follow it.. Bugs Bunny however,
Vulcan ChimborazoVulcan ChimborazoVulcan Chimborazo

Ecuador's highest peak, a mighty volcano, towers over Riobamba
when dubbed, just doesn´t work... (With the aforementioned rabbit munching on a carrot) Errr, que tal amigo?

...Our last day in Ecuador was spent on a bus. We twisted along a serpentine road, hurtled down elephantine hills and, if you will excuse the use of another faunal adjective, raced through a mammoth valley into Piura, Peru which is in the dessert! And there was no monetary change there either!?

In Chiclayo, Peru we ate at a restaurant formerly known as 'Super Bumm'! However, they have recently changed the name to 'El Boom'... Couldn't they have been more creative! For Example, 'Calipygian Caliente', or perhaps, 'Buttocks Bonito'!
Our time in Chiclayo also coincided with the Peruvian national election. It made for an interesting 'electric atmosphere' in the town! Prohibition had been introduced (no sale of alcohol) for the weekend, and the whole town was strewn with banners and posters of political propaganda... as opposed to a real goose, which is a proper gander.
When the voting was over, we headed on a luxury coach to The Peruvian capital of Lima.
The bus ride was amazing! With only twelve seats on the deck of a full size coach we could
The Ingapirca ruins.The Ingapirca ruins.The Ingapirca ruins.

Near the town of Cañar.
fully recline our seats! We had food served to us just like on a plane. We even played bingo on the bus! It was super smooth and quiet, with a clean and fully functioning bathroom (con papel higienico). Blankets and pillows too...
..."It is the strangest, saddest city thou can'st see, for Lima has the white veil, and there is a higher horror in this whiteness of her woe." A quote from Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, describing the ever-present fog (La Garua) that looms over the city of Lima between April and October. Taxi's clearly hadn't been invented in Melville's era, otherwise old Herm would have quoted the perpetual 'honking' of horns. "Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep, ad infinitum."

Hasta pronto
Dave - who still has a piece of sea-urchin in his finger from snorkelling.
y
Theresa - "why's there never enough toilet paper in the rooms."

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep.


Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


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Cajas National ParkCajas National Park
Cajas National Park

An amazing Park near Cuenca. Most of our hiking was at around 4000 metres above sea level, leaving us breathless...puff puff.
Waiting for...Waiting for...
Waiting for...

Dave is anticipating something funny to happen whilst Theresa is trying to negotiate the bog!
Something funny did happenSomething funny did happen
Something funny did happen

Theresa fell in the bog upto her hip. The mud was black and smelly - it was very funny!
Mask from SipanMask from Sipan
Mask from Sipan

An original mask from the tomb of the lord of Sipan (pre-Inca period), near Chiclayo.
Thousands of pots.Thousands of pots.
Thousands of pots.

El señor de Sipan was buried with many artifacts to help him in the afterlife.
Mud brick wallsMud brick walls
Mud brick walls

Part of the huge pyramids that once stood in the area near Chiclayo. Now eroded into small mountain-like formations.
Excavation siteExcavation site
Excavation site

There are dozens of sites that are still to be excavated near Chiclayo. The only financial sponsors for the archaeologists are the beer companies.
Beds on a bicycle.Beds on a bicycle.
Beds on a bicycle.

Just a quick moment to capture this image! How on Earth he managed to balance them on his bike is amazing!?
Fiesta in a grocery store.Fiesta in a grocery store.
Fiesta in a grocery store.

Apparently location isn't too important when celebrating birthdays, or in this case an anniversary! The music in the store was deafening!
Chaparri Nature Reserve Chaparri Nature Reserve
Chaparri Nature Reserve

A dry forested area that is one of the few places in the world where the endangered spectacled bear resides.
Spectacled bear.Spectacled bear.
Spectacled bear.

Playing in a tree.


12th April 2011

Nice :)
Love the info and pics and the time you take to share with us, you-national geographers...but when are yous coming home....(sigh)....miss you...
13th April 2011
Spectacled bear.

Spectacled Bear
I continue to really enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Re: the bear, I've seen them (or one) at the Brookfield Zoo in the Chicago area. That is great that you've seen one in the wild. I need to show this to my 10 year old daughter also. Thanks for sharing.

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