Sunday, December 16, 2012


After a few Days in Cali, I hit the road towards the Ecuadorian border. Besides the beautiful landscapes and the annoying salesman coming on board to try and sell various things until the next stop, I remember one other thing about the bus ride to the border..The check points. I was the only non-Spanish speaking person or foreigner on the bus, so I was always singled out for scrutiny.

Another check point
I figured it was because they suspected me of drug trafficking or something, but I became convinced that it was more because they were bored, and i was a distraction from the normal routine. They would check my passport for a visa stamp, but hardly ever even looked at it. Instead they would flip through the many pages looking at all of the other stamps and visas from countries they had never heard of, and show each other like it was show-and-tell. I had left a bank note from Cambodia in the passport cover, and when they took it out to eyeball it, they were all amazed when i told them where it was from. they even started to show the other passengers, and eventually it just started getting passed around the bus. I was convinced I would never see it again, but i got it back.

After hours of great scenery, and amused drug police, we arrived at the border. I had an un-eventful walk across the border, and arrived in my 23rd country. It was getting late, so i took a mini bus to the near-by town of Tulcan to find a bed for the night. It was a hole-in-the-wall place in a seedy area, just the place i usually go for, and i was the only guest. When i was hungry they sent me to this street food place, where i was a little nervous walking to at night, until i arrived and saw that it wasn't so bad. I ate one of the best hamburgers I've ever had. I'm going to attempt to describe it.. It had two thin beef patties, a couple slices of ham, a couple pieces of bacon, some cheese, all on giant buns with a Dijon type mustard. Back home i would sometimes crush some chips and put that in a burger or sandwich, but here they have these chips that are made just for this reason. they come in bags as tiny slivers of chips, and they put these on my burger, and all burgers i had in that area. It was awesome. I almost forgot.. as a side, they gave me a little paper bowel with french fries and sausages, with tooth-picks to poke them out with. damn good stuff.

The next day, after a few more hours on the bus, I was in Quito, The second highest capitol in the world. I followed my Lonely Planet guide and found myself in the Old Town amongst some amazing mid-evil architecture. I payed for a night in the San Blas hostel, but it was so nice, and the area was so beautiful, and everything so cheap, that I ended up staying a week. I was completely alone, and didn't meet anyone that I will keep in contact, unlike Bogota, but i still loved it. One thing i wasn't prepared for though, coming to South America, was it being so cold. Up until now, I had been traveling in high altitudes, and it hasn't been the tropical warm weather i had been hoping for. That's what happens when one does practically no planning, but I'm OK with with that.


some of the great architecture
                                                                                                      Since I'm
racing to make it to Rio for Christmas and New Years to meet friends, I don't have enough time to spend in any one country. On top of that, I spent more time both here and in Bogota than i anticipated, so I need to make up for time. So with a longing to stay longer, or to go to the coast, or to catch a plane to the Galapagos, I alternatively catch a bus to the Peruvian border. It's an over-night bus, and midway through my coat gets put away, not to be used again until i am in the highlands of Cusco. it gradually gets warmer as we near the border. It's light out as we pass through the city of Guayaquil, and by then the heat is stifling. The ride was so long i decide to spend the night here, and continue on in the morning. Tomorrow I will cross into Peru.

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