ECUADOR: 22.01. - 20.02.2008

Route: Huaquillas, Pasaje, Cuenca, Riobamba, Ambato, Quito,

Cycled kilometres: 982 km of        Ascent: 18235m
 
Preface: Anyhow we did not have with Ecuador completely so a lot of luck, because either we were eaten up by mosquitoes, or were washed by the rain almost from the street. We have not seen, in any case, from Ecuador a lot, because we are mostly cycling somewhere in the clouds. At least, a short look at the second-highest mountain of Ecuador the Cotopaxi we could catch, however, as us will wanted to mount him by a nice blizzard and Martin's aching head thwarted. Particularly we have liked Cuenca, the second largest town of Ecuador with her nice Old Town centre very well. Even if Ecuador is relatively small heard the mountainous country, nevertheless, for cycling it is one of the more strenuous countries of our trip. Though the increases are not as long completely as in Peru, for it, nevertheless, the more precipitously. Nevertheless, at last many meters height have put back in no country thus in so few kilometers like here. Even if it has not so worked this time with Ecuador completely as expects, nevertheless, we are still young enough to visit over again around the varied country. Then, nevertheless, beyond the rainy season!
 
243. Weekly report 22.01. - 27/01/08

Route: Huaquillas, Pasaje, Cuenca
 
Welcome to Ecuador We want to spend our first night in Ecuador in a nature reserve near the border. On our first side way we hit all at once in the middle of the bushes on two Rastafari guys. The thing seems to us in Spanish and there we no desire have to come with possible drug smugglers to contact go rather back around another side way to try. The night just breaks when we build up our tent. With the night the time of the mosquitoes also begins and thus we are welcomed by some thousand the bloodsucker. Now everybody will probably imagine that I exaggerate something with the thousands of mosquitoes, however, the mosquitoes have immediately pounced on me and there I in arms and legs sprayingt was they have stung me through the T-shirt in the back. After the tent was built up after few minutes and was put away I escape in the sure tent, however, my whole back has been already stung substantially! Presumably hundred stings! The next morning then the right welcoming committee. We make just our coffee break in a bus stop as a few villagers come and immediately welcome us with slap and kiss! One of the women wants to go even possibly late on the work, only to offer to us in her house a breakfast what declines we, nevertheless, with thanks! What greeting in Ecuador!
 
Banana plantations: Bananas are the big deal here in Ecuador and thus these are no miracles that we cycle here on the west coast by a gigantic banana plantation after the others.
 
Mysterious sign: Here in Ecuador there is this mysterious sign. While Nadine supposes that the sign the auto-drivers, truck drivers and coach drivers in addition asks the eyes at least half-open to hold, I suppose that it is a tip to the fact that here somewhere an outlet is with the bicycle traveller her accumulators can charge. In the next police check post we ask two policemen for the meaning of the sign. While the first one admits openly that he has no notion, the second one believes that it should warn the drivers about the fact that there are immediately two artificial ground waves. In principle no bad idea, however, the sign for the ground waves is a yellow rhomb with two unequivocal big waves. We remain in the ball and try to find the meaning of the sign. Proposals please in the visitors' book.
 
Emigration: Only between 1995 and 2001 380,000 Ecuatorianian have emigrated illegally in the USA and to Spain! We hit on an owner of a small chicken farm which both sons work illegally in the USA and younger has left only 2 months ago. For the unlawful trip in the USA it goes first by the airplane to Honduras and then further about the country road over Guatemala to Mexico. Though the Americans build at the moment a wall around the unlawful immigrants to stop, however, the smugglers have dug long ago a tunnel by them her paying clientele channel. Nevertheless, the trip in the USA is not only physically strenuous, during 8 days it goes because on foot by the desert, but also rather costly. For a total of 14,000, - $US one can be brought in the USA. To understand hardly that the Ecuadorians are so eager unlawful cheap wage jobs in the USA to make where they have in Ecuador, nevertheless, also $US as a currency and with a start capital of 28,000$US (with 2 sons) quite a tolerable business can be opened absolutely also here. The government has recognised the problem, and thus there are nationally everywhere posters like this which the Ecuadorians should keep from emigrating illegally: "Yes one is able - Ecuador needs you - Saying to the coyote (human smuggler)",
 
Small beetle: Already in the eve I have saved one of these "small" beetles as him on Moving recumbent wildly with the legs has thrashed about and in vain has tried to turn round again. Apparently the gigantic beetles have problems with the landing, because the next day we see several beetles helplessly again lying on the back. How these gigantic beetles are able to fly, nevertheless, generally, nevertheless, is to us a riddle!
 
Caballos de Paso: Here in South America there are horses especially on it are bred especially nicely to run: "Caballos de Paso". In Cuenca we visit a competition on then the Caballos de Paso mutually line up. It is to be seen quite imposing like the splendid horses her forefeet in the air fling during parading them past the jurors!
 

244. Weekly report 28.01. - 03/02/08 

Route: Cuenca, Riobamba

 
Met for the third time Sometimes we have met the first one Jessica and Francois from France in the brine Manijau on Sumatra in Indonesia as them just from her favorite restaurant back to the Hostel situated in the lake ran. At that time the both were just in her hot learning phase for her teaching post check. A good one year later us trip all at once again in the both than us Francois by chance at the supermarket in Motueka in New Zealand hit. While we there stocked up our travel cash as an apple picker have Jessica worked and to earn Fracois in another Orchard in the stack house and packed apples around himself enough money to be able to work in South America as a teacher of French. We come back in Cueca just from the market as us before a marvellous old building in also a five-star hotel lies once more on Francois hit which comes just from jogging. I am confused only quite as myself Francois with in asks, because I think he lives at the five-star hotel, however like turns out some flatlet flats also lie in the complex of buildings. As we have found out now the both here a small employment as a teacher of French got and here a few months are already. Quite wittily as small our big wide world is, nevertheless, sometimes.
 
Flight ticket: Because we have to go from South America anyhow by ship or airplane to Central America (there are no bridges over the Panama Canal and the areas on both sides of the canal are dangerous smuggler's routes) we have planned over Cuba to fly to Guatemala. Castro still lives Cheerful, and thus the last chance communist Cuba is to be experienced maybe. Already on the Internet we have enquired after the flight price, however, there we have got up to now better and better prices with the local travel agencies we go to Cuenca in the office of the Taca airline and have however surprised that her cheapest price 300$US about the offer of the airline lies on the Internet. Also a travel agency has only the more expensive flights and then at last thus we book everything, nevertheless, on the Internet. Now we will fly on the 23rd of March from Bogota (Colombia) to Cuba.
 
Child employment: Say: "Yes to the life, Yes to the school education and no to the child employment!" The campaigns seem to fwork, because in completely Cuenca we have seen no child shoeshine boys or other working children. (As we had to ascertain later, however, unfortunately, the message of course has not penetrated yet till the capital of Quito!)
 
Nice Ecuador: Nevertheless, in Ecuador the rainy season has caught up us then, finally and thus we cycle the next days, actually, constantly in the rain and in the clouds. Mostly the sight amounts less than 50 m. Though every now and then the clouds burst short, so that we can see a few mountains, however, a few seconds later it moves there again and catches in to rain. There comes that it goes in Ecuador always precipitously uphill or downhill and thus we hardly create more than 60 km per day!
 
Carnival: In Ecuador there are some very special customs to the carnival. Thus the Ecuadorians have to splash an incredibly fun to themselves mutually with water. Everything is used in addition, by the easy depth charge about the super airbrush up to the full water bucket! To stay they drenched victim see this mostly, nevertheless, astonishingly loose. An other tradition is to be buckled it white powder or flour in the face and in the hair or spray themselves with spray foam! We come just to a carnival move in a small village to the nevertheless passing groups are merely the secondary untertainment. Virtually the whole village provides itself with water, to white powder and spray foam a splendid battle and only because we in the 4th row stand we get away unshorn. We have drizzle with about 10░C, nevertheless, this a girl does not hold the boys of it from himself after the other to snap, to lay it in a puddle and then to shovel the rainwater on them with the feet! However, to us the whole is too violent a number and thus we contort rather again before we in the centre of the interest and therefore in the puddle
 
Water battle: On carnival Sunday we come by Riobamba, however, instead of the expected carnival move there are only vast amounts of the water splashes namely of the category Water bucket. A total of three times we get a load of water. With the third one sometimes Nadine stands already beside the water splash and the whole family and says he should not pour his bucket water on them, nevertheless, to this completely made no difference. Now from both previous water attacks already richly irritated I hunt the water splash straight through the court to up on the roof. This generates of course a small crowd. Even a driver holds it in also no goat on the yearly water battle has and a coming policeman discusses violently with one of the women, she means it, nevertheless, would be only water. I throw to the pack a few more "Idiotas" to the head before we to us again on the wide way make. It was during the soaked us with the water became luckily rather sunny, however, we would also have become with cold and windy 10░C on more than 3000 m with water soaked and there we always in the free one live would be the danger that we would have got, besides, a well-arranged cold been very big which is why we so vehemently on the water splashes have reacted.
 
Mysterious sign Resolution: Though we have not got an official explanation about the meaning of the sign, however, "exact observations" let us, finally come, to the end, that driver here before the low house power supply lines (no high-tension pipelines!) should be warned which cross here the street.
 

245. Weekly report 04.02. - 10/02/08

Route: Ambato, Quito

 
Carnival parade I: According to guide Ambato should be the only town of Ecuador in no water battles gives, and this time luckily the guide is right! For it Ambato has two famous carnival moves and we are to be seen just in the town around the night rose Monday move. Already in the afternoon the situation tapers to a point in the town more and more, and the locals provide themselves instead of the water battles extensive battles with flour and spray foam. Merely a few boys land in a well during the storekeepers before her stores already chairs and benches for the move are based. When we then at nightfall in the street in that the move takes place come all seat and standing places are already booked. Nevertheless, together with the other "without place" we try first before the press rostrum a little place too certainly we become chased away again. At last we find by chance a place on a concrete wall behind the chair rows from where we have a perfect look at the street. Then, nevertheless, the move itself is rather unspectacular. Only two military marches chapels play live music. while otherwise the music from the canned food comes. There are disguised dance groups also just one handful. Nevertheless, first sometimes in South America we see big decorated carriages on their various "beauty queens" pose, or freeze there them in spite of cold temperatures only meagerly are dressed. Then a group of auto motor sport friends which drives past in theirs tuned, deep-laid and with music arrangements zapped up cars is entertaining. Some of The boys have so manipulated her exhaust arrangements that partly metre-long embroidery flames shoot, while one of the Boliden has start difficulties and must be pushed.
 
Carnival parade II: The spectators are astonishingly quiet. Merely if one of the beauty queens candies in the amount throws some mood arises, however, hardly she is by her carriage again past silence enters again. We imagine just that the Ecuadorians should follow sometimes an example of the carnival move in Wirbelau (small village in Hessen) where during the carnival move in the whole village the bear dances when with a spray attack one of the policemen and a soldier completely become c. The amount rejoices!. During the move spraying is apparently forbidden by foam, however, now by the end of the move the ban is more and more often ignored. Then the last carriage is hardly past the spray cans are pulled out everywhere and a big street battle breaks out, while the storekeepers collect her chairs again. Though Nadine believes that we come out unshorn here if we a few minutes wait to everybody her foam have sprayed, however, in spray cans there rules absolutely no lack and thus we will also come several times foamed in, finally, again in our Hostel.
 
Ambato to Quito: Then from Ambato to Quito it is substantially more level than further in the south, and also the weather means it well with us, so that we can catch even a look at the volcano Cotopaxi. Nevertheless, we land in the middle of the carnival return journey traffic and thus we are able to cycle past a traffic jam after other. Absolutely several Thousand policemen are in use an application and try to pass on in particular in the places the traffic with moderate success quickly. After Cross to a last mountain range, finally, we roll to Quito, the capital situated on 2850 m of Ecuador, purely and after rounds increase between Old Town and Neustadt, finally, we also find a favorable Hostel.
 

246. Weekly report 11.02. - 20/02/08

Route: Quito, Cotopaxi, Quito, ─quador, Tulcan

 
Cotopaxi part I: We had with Yves, Gael and Virgini, the French we had hit with Lucho in Trujillo, arranges together the volcano Cotopaxi to mount. We already came earlier than planned in Quito and had to wait a few days during conditions optimum in the Cotopaxi ruled. As Yves, Gael and Virgini at last came lent Nadine and I to us still fast the necessary equipment (climbing iron, pimple and climbing belts) and the incredibly nice loaner wanted neither a security nor an identity card of us as a security!!! The next day then it went by bus and pickup truck to him some 100 km to the south of Quito situated volcano. When we, finally, from the pickup truck got out we were already on a height of 4500 m and now it still went 300 m farther high to the Refugio. Yves and Gael (Virgini had remained in Quito) asked in the Refugio whether we, although we would camp, even though might eat in the hut, however, the hut landlord did not want this. Water we should also get instead of from the kitchen of a next brook situated on top. After the tents were built up we high went to the entrance to the glacier, however, here the water was extremely dirty. Because a water pipe of the glacier up to the hut led Nadine got later some water from the water barrels in the WC. When I want to get water, nevertheless, about 1 hour later over again I discover some foam vesicles on the water and find out that the water tastes like soap. Now we have no other water and thus we cook just our noodles with soap water; if the lovers of the French kitchen knew. As Nadine a next hour later then over again on the toilet goes a thick foam crown on the water already swims, and we has the impression that the hut landlord wants to prevent that we take water (as me to water has got I was seen because by a guide). Already on the way from the parking bay to the Refugio and also on the way to the glacier was clear for Nadine and me that Gael, actually, no desire has to go with us together never mind of waiting still, because both paints he is to be appreciated without look for someone else he just ran away. Thus we say both French with the dinner that better the next morning we go alone, because we would not like to detain them.   
 
Cotopaxi part II: Overnight not only a well-arranged blizzard developed well-arranged headaches also separate with me. We had lost our good Acclimatization of Peru during our time on the coast apparently again and the height difference of 2000 m on one day was to me obviously too much. Thanks to storm and headaches I spend the night then more awake than asleep and also Nadine no eye closes. When then at 01:00 o'clock the alarm clock rings is clear to us both that we will not climb up because of headaches and blizzard to the 5897-m-high summit. The French open one hour later, nevertheless, in spite of the weather. When we want to make then a cup of tea to ourselves in the morning we find out that the petrol bottle is completely empty! We had put out that we would take food during the French her cooker and saucepans should take. Nevertheless, though we had luckily already a specially pot for the sauce including that the French not enough petrol would not have expected we of course. As the French after the successful summit ascent back are we diminish ours of ice and snow to stiff-frozen tents in the middle of the storm. Then in the mountain hut I speak Gael on the missing petrol to what he, nevertheless, merely with "oh" commented and to me then the hot water which they have simply taken from the desolate breakfast tables on the hut, offers. I reject it disappointed. The pickup trucks around us in the valley to brings would appear earliest about 10:00 o'clock and thus we still wait for a while in the unheated hut, until we open, finally, in the blizzard to the descent to the parking bay. Because there are, however, no pickup trucks and it is too uncomfortable in the blizzard we rise a little bit further up to an empty house from in we before the weather protection look. After a pickup truck we had met on the way has moved, finally, we become from a Dutch travel group which is on the move in a coach and makes here a bicycle departure of the Cotopaxi, taken first of all. Then on half a distance to the park exit is lunch break and some of the nice Dutchmen deliver even half of her gigantic sandwiches to us. Then, finally, we are taken even for 5 US $ per nose by the bicycle company directly with back to Quito, after to us the bicycle loaner to everybody also over again has pressed a sandwich in the hand. The fact that the ascent of the Cotopaxi has not clapped is not so tragic, however, annoyingly it was already that we, during optimum weather conditions ruled, during 5 days have waited for the French only around at last to find out, that Gael in the mountain no two steps would run because of us more slowly. Also his indifference because of the missing petrol was not for us a more than good lesson to us in future any more with people we not very well know to a mountain tour to arrange.
 
Equator: Then from Quito it went further to the north and after just 3 years and 36,745 km on the south hemisphere (62,656 km all together) now we cross for the second time the equator by the bicycle (the last spot was in 2005 in Indonesia) and now thus we are again on the north hemisphere!
 
La Mitad del Mundo: Here in Ecuador the point becomes in the respective street the equator "middle of the earth" called also cruises. At that time apparently I have not paid attention in the geography lessons properly then I always thought that the centre of the earth lies in the interior of the earth and can be visited because of the extremely hot temperatures there except by Jule Verne and his team of nobody. It is witty in the connection that there are always two equator lines in Ecuador. Those was determined by a French research group and about 200 m lies too far in the south and then determined the new by means of modern GPS technology. But apparently the Ecuadorians with the distances do not take it completely sooooo exactly, because quite often we also have to a village which should come according to sign to 10 km still 25 km (uphill!) must cycle.
 
Tulcan: Also to the north of Quito up to the Colombian border have the mountains, as well as the weather little worried with us and thus it goes in rainy weather constantly uphill and downhill. We cycle just again by flowing out rain and are up to the underpants wet as us to us in the outskirts of Tulcan, the frontier town to Colombia briefly subordinate. Together with us two soldiers also position themselves under, and there to them boringly is they ask for our passports. We are soaking wet and have to make soft no desire also our passports and thus we understand very sudden no more Spanish. Because the soldiers will say now together we are joking around that we would not understand them although the "PPAASSAAPPOORRTTEE" several times us her society a little bit too irritatingly and thus we cycle again out in the rain. When we in the city centre come though the street is still drily, nevertheless, anyhow we seem to have brought the rain then now it catches again in to pour. Now completely frozen solid we are glad about the hot shower, however, even after increase to approaches she is tepid just. Shaking we creep away in the beds to thaw again. We go to a Chinese to eat and after 20 minutes wait then though the cook of the bank already comes back, however, there is not the midday menu now, nevertheless, any more. Then for the end it still goes on the Internet, however after we could still open no email in spite of broadband connection after 20 minutes, finally, we surrender! Almost we already thought that it simply does not seem to to have been our day as us on the way home to the Hostel, nevertheless, one more Internet cafe with a good connection discover!
 

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