24.05.2015 - 26.05.2015
Bienvenido to Ecuador¡
After a 7h night-ride from Popayan, I arrived at the boarder in Ipiales, and after a short time a was on a cab to the next bus-terminal in Tulcan (Ecuador) in order to catch a bus to Quito where I had agreed to meet up with the kiwi guy, Sean if you read this you're definitely a good guy. First thing that stroke me, is that before the cab even started his 'engine' (yeah tuned from everywere with 2 televisions inside his car, so Pimp my ride exists too in Ecuador :p) the driver asked me to fasten my seat-belt. After almost 1 month in Colombia I was like what is a seat-belt? In Colombia it didn't exist¡ Anyway, a long drive, afirst glimpse of Ecuadorian food, which you can buy as soon as a seller jumps into the bus, and I was arrived at the Vibes Hostel in Quito, my room already bookes, thank you New Zealand. Quito is nice, but big, over 40 km long and 60 km large, so best is too stay somewhere near the bus lines, if you don't want too loose yourself. We stayed were all the tourists/backpackers are, in Mariscal. So after one afternoon we were already a huge group, walked aropund town, found some really nice local food, waaaay bettert than in Colombia but also more expensive. Yeah you get what you pay for right :-). My first two days in Quitop consisted in playing pool, chatting with backpackers, sharing stories and drinking few beers. The third day, I went together with the kiwi an a danish girl to the cloudforest in Mindo. On program was eating trucha, which is amazing, (it's actually a very normal 'truite'), some rafting and zip-lining. But can somebody explain me why in thaht 'jungle' the water has 10 degrees. We were 10 people on something the called a boat and we were all blue¡ I have a small thought for our guide which does it over ten times a day :p
Mindo was expensive though, and so the next day after some awesome ziplining we were on the bus back to Quito. Again, the bus was packed with fellow travellers and I decided the next day to climb the Cotopaxi vulcano with a crazy Swede. So we went up with a guide and a small group upo the Cotopaxi's glacier at 5000m. The hike was really foggy, one couldn't see a lot, but once at the glacier (the top is like at 5600), the fog just opened for us to take pictures and it was breathtaking :-) I'll never forget this moment¡ Against the high altitude I was drinking lot of water and chewing coca gum (which is I think 200% placebo effect), but I was alrioght and that's the main thing The first part of the decent was by foot and consisted of I don't know how many sefies whereas the last part was done by bikes provided by our tour operator. I told him only one thing: Give me a decent bike¡ He was like don't worry you can't go down that quickly¡ Well after few curves his bike was done and I had to wait 30 MINUTES for the bus to come down and provide me another bike. But still it was fun¡ After that I went early to bed, and the next day it was skyype day¡ Friends, family, and of course girlfriend :p (I have to, I'm too afraid of her)
And whaaat else was I doing? I was planning my trip to Galapagos¡ Galap WHAT? Yeah f***in Galapagos Island Back in Colombia, I had found a 'cheap' fligth and had instantly booked it. I mean everything here is overpriced, by that I mean everything, but it's not everyday that you can jump into a plane, and after 2 hours being on such a nice place
My plane was at 10 sunday morning and by the time I had landed, waited to get into the Island (where you have to pay 120 dollars :o), taken a bus then a ferry than again a bus, I arrived at 4pm in Puerto Ayor on the island Sanat Cruz. The island is right in the middle of the archipel and so has very good access to the other islands. I knew a guide from Galapagos who had offered me to join him the next day on his tour¡ So having that in minded I went for a small swim the first afternoon. What a beach Tortugay Bay is, almost white sand full of black iguanas chilling out in the sun. Was an amazing contrast :-) Unfortunately, in the Galapagos Islands, the beaches closes at 5pm, time where the animals start to hunt.
I am soo excited to tell you about my Galapagos-trip that I don't know where to start. So yes my backpack was too full back in Quito, so I couldn't take any food with me, which is by the way very strictly controlled what can be taken to the islands. 15-20 USD a night in a hostel, 1USD for wifi, 5USD for renting a mask, 2USD for a big bottle of water, 6USD for a beer .... so you can guess what such a trip does to a backpacker-budget :p So I went to the supermarket, 500g pasta for 2USD was ok but 8USD for a tomato sauce was a bit too much So everynight it's pàsta with soya sauce or rice with aji, which is a local spicy sauce. Why am I soo miselry? Well it's becaues on Galapagos, you pay for what you want to see¡ It' s very easy :-) However booking a trip here is a pain in the ass. Imagine, the isñand Santa Cruz has 20000 people, a third work in restauration, 300 are taximen, like 300 guides and the rest works for travel agencies. So you can imagine ina little town how many agencies you have and what the price differencies for one and same serivce (almost) are. So you spend at least 1-2 befiore a trip bargaining here and there which is very frustrating. They should try to uniformize it, but nevertheless. On monday I booked a snorkel-trip for tuesday. After having paid a lot I met up with the local guide I knew and so he took me into his group packed with old americans (which were soo nice and funny) and we went seeing a trutle research center. For the first time in my life I saw the giant-turtoises I have been dreaming about' Funny thing is that nobody knows how old they are or can get¡ A few years ago they started gps tracking on baby turtles born in the center and so they will have to wait until one of them dies to know how old they can get. It was said that you could count the ring on the shell, similar to counting ot for trees, but this varies from species to species¡ Lucky me, the turtoises are in the mating season, so imagine me standing with hiips of 80-year old watching turtoise of over 100 years reproducing themselves. Believe me, jealousy was palpable :p After that very interesting visit (http://www.darwinfoundation.org/es/) we went for a mountain bike ride through the highlands of the island and ended our ride in a moonlight fabric¡ Moonlight is actually sugar-cane alcool, called in South America Aguardientes. I'm sure a few of you know what I'm talking about . They extract the sugar-cane juice by using a donkey which drives a grinding machine by walking in a cercle. So there was one young guy in the group, maybe 18-19, and he wanted to play with the donkey. Guess what, BAD IDEA We all heard him screaming while the donkey was biting his fingers while walking. So imagine the guy almost crying and running after the donkey because his fingers are struck in the animal's mouth :pp Never mind, as long as the alcool is made :-) So I sat down with the older generation to drink. Funny stroy was that one guy came from a town in Wisconin called Luxembourg His grand mother had been luxembourgish In the afternoon we went to a cattle farm where giant-turtoises used to pass and so we saw looads of them which was simply amazing
Hoplaa I forgot I hacve to meet up with a korean guy, sooo coool SO I leave you and will continue my stories in a few days. I already have siooo much to tell SmPetit avant-gout, penguins, sharks and sea-lions. Hasta luego amigos