The hangover multiplied the annoyance that Baños was generating in me. A town corrupted by the excessive affluence of tourists, and the terrible carnival. It wasn’t the proper moment to be there. So, still laughing, I fled away. To Latacunga!
In Latacunga I found accomodation and talked for hours with Viola [ps], the owner of the hotel. Soon Simon [au] and Nicky [uk] appeared. I went to have dinner with them.
Archive for category: Ecuador
Just after getting off a bus, I jumped on another one. That one going to Baños.
Some minutes at the terminal, till I found a properly-priced bus to Ambato: someone wanted to charge me the triple -though that meant $2.50 more-.
Alausí… it’s about a train. I got there in a night which was much more appealing than the nights Cuenca got me used to. But some strange responsability grew in me, and I went to sleep soon -in order to wake up early and take the train.
The next day (22nd) was disappointing: there was a lot of fog, the train was quite expensive and wasn’t getting to Riobamba (due to temporary problems in the route), and I had to wait five hours for my turn in the train. So I just turned my back on that touristic attraction and went to Riobamba.
The previous Wednesday I was told that those were days of inactivity, because they were getting ready for the famous carnival, that began on Friday. I returned on Friday, and Cuenca was still dead. Most places closed at 22h, and there was almost no people on the streets or the main square. So much of a carnival…
It seems that those days almost everyone went away of some cities. Cuenca was pretty, pretty in its death.
I planned the next movement: Alausí.
I, a worker of Turistel, was working in Gualaceo gathering information about hostels…
The eternal predilection for the lie.
I went strolling through the town, and got myself into another canine confrontation. I solved it better than the last one, using the tripod as a club. There were only two very excited dogs and it wasn’t even necessary hitting them: it was just about appeareance more than being a real threat.
I ended up going to the ‘orquidiario’. I stayed there for some time, until they closed. It seems that the visitor has to pay $3 for entering, but I missed that point, and just went through. Fair enough, it was not worth it… at least if I had been more time there, or if I had had an orchid as a souvenir…
Gualaceo is pretty and has many interesting spots around… but it isn’t more than a small town, and it didn’t imply much fun spending the night there. At least I had one of the best dishes of ‘Chaulafán’ ever.
Some mispriced Pilseners and a ‘TVE International’ session called it a day.
Again, I arrived there in the dark. No fear, as everything was planned. Though I ended up impovising, and went with Victor [de] and Susan [sk] to a different hostel (not the one I had in mind). Then we had dinner and went to drink to an expensive German-like pub. We had some weird conversations with some Ecuadorians on the street. Alcohol-driven ones.
The hostel was pretty good, mainly because it was new and the owners were highly motivated and worried about the client’s satisfaction. It’s predictable that that motivation would decrease with time, as the quality of that business.
On the following day (18th) I strolled for a while through the city, and did little more than Ecclesia.
And I crossed to a country without economic identity.
Some people, through their stories, gave the Ecuadorians the reputation of being petty thieves. Andrea, an Ecuadorian I met in Mendoza, reprinted that tales in my memory. I found that she stole some things in the hostel… and I suspect that among them, it was my battery charger. Suspicion reafirmed by a lot of details. But it wasn’t a time for keeping my negativeness, nor considering ridiculous prejudges, but a time for experiencing.
Loja seemed to me like the richest city in Ecuador: not because I knew other city in Ecuador… but because it was far more modern, clean and developed than the Peruvian cities I got used to, while -supposedly- Ecuador is poorer than Perú (less GDP per cápita, less HDI -but more equality, as the Gini index is 10 points lower). I was really surprised.
The days I stayed in Loja were very relaxed: fighting against the eternal bites, and overfeeding myself.