Tag Archives: ecuador

Ecuador – day eight

Highlights: Shopping for art

Travel: Flights from Quito, Ecuador, to Los Angeles

Pictures taken: ?

Favorite photo of the day: TBA

Happy Valentine’s Day. Store displays, flower vendors, and even the TV lineup are persistent reminders of me being single now.

I got up and showered. Then i packed and by 9 i was out the door and walking toward the market that Victoria had pointed out to me the previous night. It was too early for most of the vendors though. I then had “breakfast” at KFC. I don’t think i have eaten at one in the last 10 years. They had good fries and i wish i could order buckets of their original formula chicken skin.

Vendors had been setting up in the nearby park so i walked through looking for original art and masks. Most were sstill setting up so i moseyed back to the artisan market and still less than half of the shops were open. It was a lot of the same stuff: t-shirts, alpaca stuff, jewelry, weavings, leather goods… nothing caught my eye. Across the intersection i went into a shop and found a decent quality and designed mask of a wolf head. The price tag was $28. I also saw some religious paintings that i liked too. I picked one that was priced $75. I inspected them both well and started to bargain. I had another $28 mask added and ended up paying $115. They removed the painting from the frame and wrapped the masks while i got out some money form an ATM.

Animal masks

The Virgin's milk.

Then i carried those back to the park and found three small original paintings that i liked. He wanted $45 each. He asked what my offer was and i said $100 for all three. He didn’t think that long and said OK. Damn. I should have said $80! He bagged them up and i headed back to the hotel. I repacked and checked out of Los Alpes.

If i’m ever staying in Quito again i’ll stay there. The only bad thing i can say about it is that they allow smoking in some areas of the hotel.

For $10 i got a taxi to the airport. I was smart to keep the copy of my old passport and a copy of the police report with my new passport (along with the new immigration paperwork). Twice they were looked at and read. I was treated with a little more kindness after they read my story.

An uneventful flight from Quito to Guayaquil that then bounced to San Jose. I had a connection and had to change planes. I figured i had 45 minutes or so to board so i went to the bathroom and got a meal from Burger King. Then i went to my gate but hardly anyone was there. I checked the arrival and departure board and i was at the right gate. But it said my flight had already departed. Oops! I was quickly re-ticketed and immediately boarded a flight to Guatemala. I arrived at LAX at about the same time if i had not missed that connection – just before midnight.

I went through the US customs and walked over to the domestic terminal. It was cold out. I got my ticket for my Alaska Airlines flights – the first boarded at 5:50 AM. I tried to go through security but was turned away after being told that they boot anyone at 2 AM that is in the secure area. I found a bench and tried to sleep. It wass too cold. All i had was short sleeved shirts. I lay there with goosebumps and near shivering.

Valentine’s Day has never meant much to me. It does now. I will forever be more greatful for someone to hold me, love me, and keep me warm! It is awful to think back on how relatively indifferent i was toward Valentine’s Day.

Trees

Ecuador – day eight

Highlights: Completing paperwork to leave the country, standing on “the Equator”

Travel: Just some driving in cars and taxis around the Quito area.

Number of photos taken:?

Favorite photo of the day:
Soldier stencil

I woke a little before seven.  I showered and grabbed all of my documentation – police report, new passport, copy of old passport, addresses, and five dollars plus money for taxis.

At 8:07 i was the 5th in line for the particular immigration service that i needed.  Within 20 minutes i was done.  The problem yesterday was that on entry to the country i was entered as “MCFARLAND, RYAND SHAWN.”  My birthdate was listed as 03/02/1974.

I left immigration and had two glazed donuts, orange juice and water.  I have time to hit the equator now!

I snagged a taxi at a stoplight and for $2 he gave me a ride back to the hotel.  I asked about the cost of taking me to the monument on the equator.  He radioed in and for just $25 he would take me there, wait up to an hour, and take me back.  Deal.  I grabbed my camera and dropped off my documents.

It was perhaps a 20 minute drive to the area of the monument.  A $2 admission to the “city” which consisted of shops and restaurants packed between the entrance and the monument.

Two hemispheres

000

I went straight to the monument and took some photos.  Then i paid $3 to go up to the observation platform.  I wanted to take the stairs up but you have to ride the elevator up and then walk down the stairs through the museum.

mitad_del_mundo

Equator

After GPS technology proved that this monument was about 800 feet off of the actual center of the earth another monument was erected but it is quite a bit further.  I went back to the taxi and Charlie took me back to the hotel.

It seems that everywhere i go there is construction taking place.  At Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, and Middle of the Earth… All were having some work done to restore the buildings that made my photos less than ideal.

I went for a walk and found the area with all the bars and clubs.  I drank a few mojitos on an open patio.  I watched the school kids push each other into fountain water, walk by with flowers, and i even helped a few English students with a scavenger hunt.

Pilsener beer crates

I had told Victoria that i would be at the hotel in the afternoon and evening so i headed back there.  I got on a computer and got a few days from the journal typed up.  I watched some TV and at about 6 Victoria called.  She ended up picking me up at about 9:30.  Her boyfriend and cousin were along too.  We went up to the Virgen deEl Panecillo for night views of the city but we were in the fog or clouds.  We had dinner at quite a swanky place.  The total bill was around $45 but i got the largest meal.

Swanky meal and new friends

Then we went for a night drive around old town to see the sights lit up.  By about 12:30 they dropped me off and i went to bed.

Cathedral

Church

Ecuador – day seven

Highlights: Emergency passport, Virgin statue

Travel: Taxi rides.

Pictures taken:?

Favorite photo of the day:

(Please excuse these sentences – I was writing some things in the present and others in the past so things are a bit messed up!)

I woke very early; before 5.  I tried to sleep more but after an hour i got up, showered and packed.  I got online and ate breakfast downstairs.  Breakfast was bread, tea and juice.  I checked out and paid for my laundry – about $36 total.

I looked into trying to do a tour on Friday but there were not any i was interested in – i’ll have to be my own tour guide tomorrow.

I took a cab toward the Independence Plaza and the cab driver talked me into driving up to Virgen de El Panecillo for views of the whole city.  It was worth the $20.  Afterward i had him drop me off at Independence Plaza.  I walked around there for a while with my bag on my back.  Then i took a $3 taxi back to the area my other two places have been and checked into Los Alpes Hostel.

virgen_de_el_panecillojpg

Virgen de El Panecillo

It’s amazing.

The rooms are spacious and nicely furnished with eclectic art.  The communal living spaces are incredible.  And to top it off they have more than one computer available for use!

The price is almost twice that of my last place but the neighborhood is quieter, there is a police station just around the block, and the accommodations are A+.  I caught a cab to go back to the embassy but forgot to bring my debit card and the embassy address with me.  I also forgot to bring the hotel address.  But i brought the journal that i was writing in so i had the addresses of the other places that i stayed and it is just a few minute walk between them.    I just have to hope that i don’t need moneyat the immigration center.  Drat – i probably need my police report anyway.

I’m #710 and have 9 people in front of me.  Time stamped at 1:46.

My distinctive goatee got me knowing smiles from the security teams.

I got my passport without a hitch and they gave me a slip of paper with the address i needed to go to.  I took a taxi back to the hotel, went to the bathroom, picked up my ATM card, copy of the police report, address for the hotel, and my camera.  A $2 cab ride got me to the immigration station.

M158 was up when i was handed my M194 que slip at 3:34.

On the ride here my driver bought a single cigarette from someone at a stop light.  People sell fruit, phone chargers, hand towels… just about any thing.   A lot of fruit, veggies, and lottery tickets along with gum and water.

There also are performers at some intersections… jugglers, dancers, etc.  And in some places people in wheel chairs either ask for change or sell gum.  There is an entire community of people selling things and making money at intersections.

After over two hours of waiting my number came up. The first station could not find me in their system though so i was told to wait for the next desk.  I waited for another 10 minutes and then they couldn’t find me in the computer either.  Since i didn’t bring my copy of my old passport they were trying to find me just using my name.  I asked to use a computer because i could get to my old passport number in just two minutes but they wouldn’t let me.  There was an internet place right next door but it was after 5 PM so immigration was closing and they would not let me back in.  I would have to go back the next day and hope that my passport number (of my old passport) would do better.

Ecuador – day five

Highlights: Arrival in Quito

Pictures taken: ?

Travel: Bus from Montañita to Guayaquil and flight to Quito, Ecuador

Favorite photo of the day: TBA

I woke at about 9:30.  I threw on some clothes and went down to the hotel lobby and bought two bottles of water for fifty cents each.  I knocked on Levy’s door but he didn’t answer.  Guess he isn’t getting one of them!

I took a shower, packed my bag and watched some TV.  By about 10:30 i knocked on Levy’s door again.  He was up so we went and bought our bus tickets.  $5.50 from Montañita to Guayaquil.  We then went to breakfast (at a different place than the last few days).  I had French toast, fruit, banana juice, and tea.

Breakfast

Continue reading Ecuador – day five

Ecuador – day four

Highlights: Dancing barefoot by fire, in sand, and in the rain

Pictures taken: ?

Travel: None

Favorite photo of the day:
Kids play in Montanita

To bed early means i’m up early too.  But it is overcast.  So i go back to bed.  At 9:00 i look and it is still overcast.  I turn on the TV.  Since i don’t have TV at home it is kind of a treat to watch it sometimes.

After a while i get up, shower, and dress.  I grab Levy and we meet with Angela and Angelica for breakfast.  We went to the same place as yesterday -Funky Monkey.  The service was much faster even though the same woman was serving.  I had the same meal for $3.

Continue reading Ecuador – day four

Ecuador – day three

Highlights: sun, sand, and surf

Pictures taken: ?

Travel: none

Favorite picture of the day:
Pelicans

We slept in and then checked out of Las Palmeras.  The owner has great English speaking skills but the rooms are designed for maximum occupancy.  Our room had two bunk beds and a narrow passage to squeeze through to get to the restroom.  So we moved to Tabuba which had a great view of the beach.  We bought a couple of beers and sat and watched the waves and people for a while.

Levy and i leave Las Palmeras

Tabuba balcony

Continue reading Ecuador – day three

Ecuador – day two

Highlights: sun, sand, and surf

Pictures taken: ?

Travel: none

Favorite picture of the day:
Levy and i at sun set

We slept until almost noon.  I showered under the world´s worst shower head with water temperatures varying from scalding to near-freezing.

Levy's bunks and the bathroom door

My bunks

It was nice and sunny out so i put sunblock on my nose, forehead, ears and shoulders.  SPF 35.

We walked the heart of town – booths lining the dirt street selling necklaces, stones, hats, earrings, and all sorts of hippy stuff.

Continue reading Ecuador – day two

Ecuador – day 1

Highlights: Second birthday in South America & having passport, phone and laptop stolen.

Pictures taken: 36

Travel: Flight from Lima, Peru to Guayaquil, Ecuador and taxi from there to Montañita.

Favorite picture of the day:
Hard at work

Happy birthday to me!  35.  And i’m waking up in an airport.  If all goes well i should be watching the last rays of sun disappear below the horizon of the pacific with a cold beer in hand.

Continue reading Ecuador – day 1

Preliminary plans for Peru and Ecuador

I booked my tickets.  I’m definitely going now.  Here’s the plan…

  • Leave Petersburg on January 24th.  Head to Seattle via Juneau.  Seth just happens to be heading to Seattle on the same flight so i’m going to spend two nights there.  I’ll shop for some very typical eco-tourist clothing because i’m planning on going ultra-light on the trip.  So pants with zip-off shorts, hand washing clothes in hotel sinks… that kind of a gig.  One small carry-on backpack.
  • 26th of January fly to Los Angeles.  I’ll have the whole day there so hopefully Kevin can get the day off.  My flight out is just a little after midnight.
  • 27th fly to Lima,Peru with a flight change in San Jose, Costa Rica.  (I never count just being in an airport as being to the country or city – but i wish i could.)
  • The late afternoon and evening check out Lima really quickly.  I’ll definitely hit the Church of San Francisco with the catacombs with human bones.  If i sleep at all it will be in the airport.
  • January 28th i’ll fly to Cusco, Peru early in the morning.  I’ll rest up and get acclimated to the 10,000 foot elevation for at least a day.  Then i’ll tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas and then spend two days at Machu Picchu.
  • On February 2nd i’ll celebrate Groundhog’s Day by flying back to Lima and then on to the beaches in northern Peru.  I’ll probably meet up with Levy (who i travelled with in Cambodia and Vietnam) around this time.  We’ll work our way north along the beach and have a good solid week of serendipity crossing the border into Ecuador.  I hope to learn to surf.
  • I’ll fly or bus inland to Quito, Ecuador a few days before the 14th when I’ll begin the flights home… Quito, San Jose, San Salvador, Los Angeles, Seattle, Juneau, and finally Petersburg on the 15th.
  • Back to work on the 16th.  Undoubtedly thinking about hitting a different continent next time (this will be my second time to South america and last year was my second to Asia).  If only the US dollar was stronger in Europe!

I have lots to do.  Brushing up on Spanish, buying a new camera and figuring out how to archive photos, working on my base tan, and fine tuning a gear list… and fun stuff like figuring out what i really want to see while there.  I have ordered a few guide books and will hit the Trip Advisor forums heavily for the next three weeks.

I’ll celebrate my second birthday in South America!