Well, here we are back in the capitol. Our five days at the beach in Canoa were a wonderful, relaxing way to wind down our adventure in Ecuador. Every day was pretty much the same. Breakfast at the hostal. They made fantastic crepes!!!!! They poured the crepe batter in an 8" frying pan and made a nice round crepe. The meal consisted of two crepes. They laid the crepe flat and filled half of it with fruit (one with bananas & the other with strawberries), then folded the other half over like a taco, sprinkled it with cinnamon, and covered it with warm lemon curd. Plus they made the best coffee I had in Ecuador. I couldn't wait for 8:00 AM to roll around, what a great way to start the day. After breakfast we would take a long walk on the beach, returning with our pockets full of shells that we decorated our room with. There was miles of isolated shoreline to the south. Afternoons consisted of getting pounded by the surf, cerveza, another swim just before sunset, a post swim cerveza then dinner. Seafood for dinner, helados, and the end of another day.
At the hostal we met
another nice family, they live on a farm just south of Quito. A husband & wife with a two year old daughter and the wife's 80+ year old mother. The Grandmother was all stooped over from years of farming in the Andes but managed to get around pretty good. She was a crack up, telling us how the waves kept knocking here down, she had a twinkle in her eye as she laughingly told her stories. The guy, is doing research on climate change at the equator and was just full of interesting information. The effects of global warming are greatly accelerated here at the equator. He said, at the present rate all the glaciers in Ecuador will be gone in 30 years.
There were quite a few Frigate Birds flying around the beach in Canoa, and lot's of Pelicans. It's always a treat to see long strings of them cruise the waves. There are also big colonies of big sand crabs at the high tide line. It's a trip watching dozens of them scampering around, doing their thing. We also met a guy from Eagle. He's been there 15 years, and knows Seymour, Eagle Rod, & everyone else
I know in Eagle. He says, he heard from some people in Eagle that Seymour is in India. There were also two young women at the hostal from Haines. Counting the owner of the place there were six of us Alaskans there at the same time. We all thought that was cool.
On Monday the 7th, we got up at 5:30 A.M., and were out on the main drag at 6:20 trying to catch a bus to Pedernales, up the coast. While waiting for a bus, along came a flatbed truck set up for transport. It had 6 rows of benches, a canvas roof and open sides. It was a buck & a half cheaper than the bus and a half hour ahead of it so, up we climbed. How nice it was to be in a place at 6:30 in the morning dressed in a t-shirt & shorts, blasting along the road in an open truck and not be cold. The 2 1/2 hour drive up the coast was nice. We crossed lots of rivers and a few small towns. The truck dropped us off at the bus terminal and there was a bus to Quito leaving in
four minutes. Our luck with connecting buses
has been really amazing. It's never been more than 10 minutes that I can recall. Often we just barely make it in time. I love that kind of luck. The 6 hour drive to Quito was about half in the tropical lowlands and half climbing back into the Andes. Whenever a person gets away from the Pan American Hwy in Ecuador the travel is so much nicer. Most of the land along the Pan Am has been cleared off. Today, we drove through many miles of beautiful forests with lots of cascades, beautiful rivers and a whole new bloom of flowers in the Northern Highlands.
We arrived in Quito about 3:00 PM and caught a cab to the Guest House, where Douglas was expecting us and moved back into our previous room. We had an early dinner at El Meson, where we had eaten many times before and the waitress was very happy to see us. We were greeted with a big smile and a wave when she saw us come in. She even remembered that I always like to have a cerveza right away before I order. So, that was nice.
There is a corner market next to the Guesthouse where we always buy our groceries for making breakfast at the hostal. The owner there also remembered us and wanted to know all about our travels in Ecuador.
The next morning we were up early and off to Otavalo. Otavalo, has the largest crafts market in Ecuador and Otavalenos are known for their weaving and fine textiles. And textiles there were, it was fairly overwhelming. We bought a few very nice woven items to take back with us. The biggest challenge of the day though involved looking for a hat for Donna. Ever since arriving in the Northern Highlands Donna has coveted a felt hat of the style worn by the indigenous women of the area. The problem in finding one stems from the fact that the women are much smaller in size than Donna, and so is their hat size. The hats come in black, brown, and green, which is the least common by a long ways. Of course, she wanted a green one. Well, we looked at many, many hats & never found a green one that fit her, so we called it a day. There are probably
at least a dozen buses a day between Quito & Otavalo, oddly we ended up on the same bus we came from Quito on for the return trip. On the bus we also watched a Thailand kung-fu movie for the second time that day.
Our final day in Quito was a beauty. Probably the nicest of all the days we have spent here. Our mission for the day, a green felt hat. We went to the Mariscal area, know for it's touristy flavor and the many stores catering to gringo's. There are two main streets that parallel each other. We started at one end and made a loop around the two streets. With one block to go before the end we found a nice hat shop with one green hat. You guessed it; it was a perfect fit. The quality was significantly higher than most of the hats we had seen and was a little more expensive but Donna was thrilled. I even talked them in to throwing in a plume.
Our final surprise in Ecuador came at the airport coffee shop this morning. We were drinking coffee and up walked a fellow with a buenos dias to us. It turned out to be the couple we had spent Christmas day with in Chugchilan. They are on their way back to Poland to get married. Her family is coming from Australia. It's a nice story. They met while traveling a year and a half ago. Have traveled together since then, and now wedding bells. We caught up on each others travels, had a good visit, and we all expressed the hope that we would meet again in our travels. THE END
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