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December 5th 2007
Published: December 6th 2007
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Let´s see if I can remember what I´ve been up to for the past week or two...

After the trek, we bussed it to Bogota and stayed there for two days. The colonial section of the town was really enchanting. It´s just a maze of thin cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings that all seem to be on the edge of melting due to the sagging of walls and roofs. The central plaza is the most impressive one I´ve seen, it even had huge flocks of pigeons to stroll through. The weather was actually pretty glum while we were there, which probably contributed to us all moving on so quickly. We took a night bus south to the small town of San Augistin, which is surrounded by rolling green hills with a patchwork of small coffee plots and studded with several extinct volcanoes. It was a very friendly little town that felt a bit like something from the Old West. The Chantals met me there the next day and the three of us went on a four hour horse ride to see some of the old statues that populate the region. Our guide, Carlos, spent more time pitching a variety of local drugs to us rather than giving us useful information, but it was a good time. Several small rainstorms blew through. Everything was grand until Chantal´s horse took off into the wind, turned a sharp corner, and threw her off into the mud. I was heading towards Quito the next day, and this bad experience for her was enough to spur the two Chantals into coming to Quito with me.

The journey from San Augustin turned out to be a two day endurance mission on bus after bus after van after taxi and so on. Our 6 hour bus ride up a huge, rough mountain pass in Colombia was definitely the most interesting bus ride of my life. It was a gravel/dirt road with countless hairpin turns and steep grades. The rain came in torrents right as we started up the mountain, and several times the road was washed out by a waterfall cascading across, but the driver would just give it the gas and plow through. The roof of the bus leaked like crazy, and after thirty minutes, there was literally several inches of water on the floor of the bus rushing forward and back as the bus pitched. It´s not a good sign when all of the locals around you are constantly crossing themselves. But... we made it. I got patted down and searched several time by soldiers which was also interesting.

The drive through northern Ecuador was a beautiful landscape of tall, green moutains surrounding farmland. Arriving in Quito at night was quite impressive as the city is built up on many small moutains, and with all of the lights from the houses on at night it feels like being in the bottom of a giant stadium. We all love this city. It´s friendly and cheap and beautiful. And by chance we arrived right in the middle of the annual week long celebration in honor of the founding of the city. The whole town is in celebration mode. Hundreds of party buses are constantly driving around, all with live bands on the top and way too many people hanging out of the sides cheering and singing. Chantal knew a local guy here who took us to a house and then out to a nightclub last night, so it was nice to shown around by a local. We´re all heading to a soccer game later today. I should probably be a little bit nervous about this haha

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