Ecuador today, Peru tomorrow

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August 15th 2011
Published: August 25th 2011
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August 15th
Our only day in Cuenca. Nothing really exciting to do, just wandering around, but it is a gorgeous town. It is neat, clean, pretty buildings, no sky scrapers, a nice river and fairly safe. We started off at a Panama Hat factory which was one of the original makers of the hat, used by Ecuadorians before being exported to Panama for use during the building of the Panama Canal where they became famous. It was a really interesting tour and the hats can take from less than a day to make up to a year depending on how small the weave is. The longest part of the tour was spent in the hat shop at the end where everyone tried on the hundreds of hats available and many people bought one. For lunch a group of us walked to the local market where we had the most delicious pork and potatoes ever. There is a section of the market with stand after stand selling pork sliced straight off the pig sitting in front of them. It looked slightly disturbing and any vegetarian would be appalled, but it was some of the best pork I have ever had. My cook group is in charge of lunch again for tomorrow so we had the brilliant idea of taking 2 kilos of that pork for sandwiches along with veggies and fruit. It will be good. For dinner we did a little restaurant hopping (only 2 restaurants) with appetizers at both, and both were really good.

August 16th
Another drive day, and into Peru! We were up early and onto the truck. At the Ecuadorian border it took ages for all of us to get stamped out of the country, and then when we entered Peru it was super quick. We had lunch right before crossing, and as I promised, it was delicious. Two more hours driving after we were in Peru and we were on the beach! The entire coast of Peru is basically one giant beach and supposedly where we are (Punta Sal) is the best beach along the entire thing. We are at another hostel, but are camping on the beach for our two nights here. After setting up the tents we had just enough time to enjoy the sunset before it was dark. We had a tournament of Banana Grams (similar to scrabble) and I almost won but I made a silly spelling error in one of my words... Oh well, next time. Tomorrow the agenda is to relax, relax, and then relax some more!

August 17th
The only planned event today was breakfast at 8 am, so it was a nice early start to a free, relaxing day on the beach. I took a walk down the beach later in the day (after sufficient sun bathing of course) and caught up to an older man from New Zealand who was on another overland truck staying at the same hostel as us. It turns out he had hosted a girl from Alaska a few years ago and he invited me to stay at his house if I am ever in New Zealand. So looks like I have another trip to plan! The rest of the day was very relaxing with all the laying in the sun, reading, and hanging out. Dinner was a big grill in a pit on the beach which was both fun and very tasty. Neither I nor the girl sharing a tent with me wanted to have to take down our tent at 6 am in the morning when we have to leave to we took it down before dinner and I spent the night in my sleeping bag in the hammock on the porch. Also, it was HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY TO ERYN! I love you and wish I could have been there!


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