Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hola mis chico arco iris!

After my first bike ride on a broken bike in the first rain here in Ecuador, I decided to move my ass out of Baños to Cuenca. Cuenca is an old colonial city that has its beauty, but is still nothing compared to European cities. It is new because it is in a Latin American atmosphere, but ¨even¨ Utrecht may have more architectural beauty than this UNESCO world heritage site called Cuenca. Americans love it though because they have nothing like it in the States.
So after one full day I moved on to Vilcabamba, a very laid back, mellow and also relaxed village in the lower Andes (2000 m), where I slept in a lovely hostel with pool and great view from the restaurant. Sunshine, great hikes, relaxing near the pool and lots of bar fun at night kept me there for 5 days.

After Vilcabamba I left my Platoon; me, a British NGO manager and a German doctor. We called ourselves a platoon when fighting all the dogs along a hike and the staff of a hostel called us chicos malos (bad boys) after we barricaded the door of the German with benches, chairs, plants and a ladder. This was of course the idea of the Brit, after a few beers.
I thus travelled alone to Guayaquil. The commercial capital of Ecuador. It is a bit like Manhattan in Latin-America style and with a nice boulevard along the large river. Was fun to wander around for two days.
Then I moved to the coast, to Montañita, where I didn't surf because the waves were a scary 2-3 m high and I didn't yet feel like dying. Montañita was nice though and the full moon party was fun, but without cocaine. I haven't seen any cocaine since I've been in Ecuador. It is around and cheap, but it's underground.
There is a surfer in this picture!
After Montañita I moved on north along the coast to the small fishing village called Puerto Lopez. There I did a whale watching and ¨poor man's Galapagos¨ tour to Isla de la Plata. Galapagos is $1400 for 6 days :( We went on small boat with large engines and found some humpback whales that came up to breath. We followed them for a while and I even saw one amazing jump out of the water at 20 m of the boat. Too fast for a picture (here is one, not from me)... Amazing animals!!! The Island was very dry, but fun because of some cool seabirds like the blue footed boobies and albatrosses. On the way back we snorkeled with 1 m long tortoises and some colorful fish.

My previous two days were very long bus travel trips. Bus drivers here are totally mad. They lake to race each other on mountain roads with many blind turns. If people complain, they go even more crazy :) I love the racing! I saw one nice street fight from the bus. The bus stops driving and parks for a good view of the fight... I love the bus drivers here.

The bus ride from the Andes to the jungle was amazing. I'm now in a town, Tena, surrounded by tropical rain forest. I love all the trees and the green. The weather is good and it is only 26 C. Mosquitos are everywhere at night, but at daytime it is fine. I just arrived here and haven't seen much of the jungle yet. That's what I plan to do in the upcoming days. A jungle camping tour, canopy tower view and rafting in the jungle. It is hard to organize a tour because I'm alone and there aren't many travellers here. I may have just have to go to some basecamp in the jungle and do daytours from there...


pimp-a-lot bear said...

seeing all these pictures, reading your travel report, I'm amazed by the diversity of Ecuador. I must admit I'm pretty jealous of you spotting that jump of a whale, that must be awesome to see!

cybrbeast said...

Sounds like a great adventure you are having over there.
Great pictures!
Have fun in the jungle, and watch out for the nasty insects, don't forget to photograph them :)

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