Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hola whoever still reads this! Well after a few weeks on the coast of Ecuador i dropped Emily off at the airport, got chased by mangie street dogs on my run in the hot bustling city of Guayaquil & then decided to head to the Andes since there wasnt much swell on the map. Having Emily leave makes the trip different, again. One thing for sure is that I´m going to lose more veggies now. If there is one thing that Emily does not like, is letting food we bought go bad. Logical right? But she sticks to that like a drill seargent, even if it means stuffing me with 10 plaintains a day especially when they´re near rotten and now ´maduros´. Whatever it takes to eat this 70 cents worth of veggies. I am surely giong to sell out more often and lose a few cents worth of veggies here and there. Em has some addictions that I got to know during our few months traveling together. AVENA, heard of it? aka oatmeal. Needs this every morning like Sully needs coffee. It´s funny, unless she didn´t get her avena. Whats not as funny is the addiction to peanut butter. Which only comes on rare occasions if she crosses the line and samples peanut butter when I´m having a pb and banana sandwich. She has the "once it hits your lips its so good" Old School Will Farrel thing. One bite leads to spooning down the rest of the jar. Its like me with chocolate. So it was good having a travel mate and a newbie surfista to watch go thru the stoke, frustration & fear that goes with being in the ocean. It was fun sharing my knowledge of the ocean & the sport.
So after she left I dcided to start driving towards the south east. There is this small remote town in the Andes fairly close to Peru where they say people live to be over 100 yrs old. Vilcabamba!
Getting to Vilcabamba took longer than I thought. It's different navigating alone. Though I didn't get too lost, only lost about 20 mins once, but the roads were winding up high elevations and I definitely miscalculated that. Plus they're still working on some of those roads. The temps dropped down to the 40s from the 80s during this trek. Of course I have on boardies, T and flipflops. Passed through some really cool towns & breathtaking views all along the way. Saw a lot of indigenous people herding sheep or whatever. I arrived late so I ended up at a place that I didn't really like but I was over it to go searching. I did meet a mom and daughter from ecuador who now somehow live in Richmond, VA. Strange and they were nice to talk to and work on my spanish with. I left there the next morning and found something more up my alley. Some cabins that you have to hike up to and you listen to a river running. I spent the day hiking into this park. I made it to a waterfall and on my return I ran into a big group of local kids on a hike. So I spent the next hour walking with them, having a bunch of 10 yr olds push and shove (almost off the cliff) to talk to me. It was a good test for my spanish. Funny thing is they ended up talking a bunch about Michael Jackson and singing Thriller along the way. Good times for me in the mountains for sure.
Today I left Ecuador and headed for Peru. The drive was way longer than I anticipated passing through mountain pass after mountain pass. One painful lesson I learned is up in these parts, gas stations are closed on Sundays. And because gas is so cheap in Ecuador, I planned on filling up my tank & my spare, which I had just used for this purpose, before getting into Peru. Gas in Ecuador is 1.48 per gallon, about half the price of everywhere else. I made it to the border, decided to pass since this border was the easiest one I've done yet. I guess because it's a small one in the mountains, their aren't many people hassling. The down side, is there weren't money changers hassling me either. They are usually a rip off but it's good to get some local dollars...especially when you need gas. Sure enough I drove and drove with no ATm to be found. I then came upon a toll both and I have no loot, I was worried but got lucky they weren't charging for my direction. Then an hour later, still no atm, another toll booth but I got lucky again. So now I'm in peru, found a hotel and going to regroup at daylight. Definitely been missing my friends & family!