Well folks, after another night bus, at 7 am I finally returned to my hometown of Quito after my 2 weeks down the sierra and a whirlwhind 24 hour trip to Guayaquil. I successfully read up on peru/bolivia and practiced travelling light, got to know more of my country of residence, and had some excellent encounters. In list form:
Grand total, 2 weeks door to door from my apartment: $211.60 (mas o menos)
Cities visited: Banos, Riobamba, Cuenca, San Juan, Loja, Vilcabamba, Guayaquil
Buses taken: lost track after 20
Rumi WIlco EcoLodge - A lovely spot just outside of Vilcabamba where I broke my solitude to hike/cook/debate with a couple of excellent American gals (named what else but Rebecca and Katie!)
Honorable mention: The free stay squished in with excellent company at the compadre's apartment in Guayaquil!
Loja - a lovely town with nice parks, easy buses, and pretty churches, but it has the worst and most overpriced hostals I've seen in Ecuador. The first night I had to put up with an ugly dark cement room with flourescent lights and no shower curtain, on top of which I was awakened by people banging on my door thinking it was a bathroom, and a furry rodent scurrying hither and thither at 4 am!!! After putting up with lots of excuses (my favorite was the rodent wasnt a mouse but a hamster belonging to a kid) I eventually got half my money back, and moved on to another more expensive place with nice staff but equally unattractive rooms. (but no hamsters.)
1) The postcard view of vilcabamba and the surrounding from the ridge hike at rumiwilco, tied with the view of the night sky at night from rumi wilco.
2) View of Loja from the easily acessible Parque Argelia
3) View of Guayaquil from the restored lighthouse at the top of Cerro Santa Ana
Worst view: The nonexistant view of Banos, since the pouring rain and lingering clouds prevented me from doing the hike up the hill behind the city.
1) The meals we cooked at Rumi Wilco and the compadre's apartment.
2) Fried humitas in Loja
3) Yogurt Persa which gives the Youca chain a run for its money in the pan de yuca department
4) The first mango of the season!
5) The excellent fruit salad at the chain of vegeterian restaurants in Cuenca.
honorable mention: the beet candy I ate in San Juan!
Best random encounters
3) Running into Raul (eyepatch) on the Malecon in Guayaquil!
2) Missing the bus station in Ambato TWICE (two consecutive bus drivers forgot to "avisarme")
1) Meeting Jesus from "Que Tan Lejos" on the street in Cuenca!!! (Shout out for this excellent Ecuadorian movie coming soon.)
I have lovely pictures of my trip that have a slight possibility of getting posted before I myself come back to the US. BUT, thanks to an insanely fast internet connection at the Plaza today I was able to upload tons more pictures! Which means I am completely caught up on pictures except imbabura and my most recent travels! I'm very pleasantly surprised and impressed with myself and I hope you are too. Siga no mas, walk with me down memory lane as:
Natalia and I travel to the coast and to cuenca
We bid John farewell with a chiva
and send Adela off and celebrate my birthday!