Map of the Americas

Map of the Americas
We are using this map to find our way home. We will be marking where we are in big fat red marker like Indiana Jones. (map idea courtesy of Blake Golden)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

44 Hours

Quito, Ecuador Wednesday March 12th 10am

Up until the other day the most time I have ever spent continually traveling was 36 hours. We took a bus to Colorado, and we had rigged up the back of the bus where we could play the N64 James Bond Goldeneye the whole way there. (Side note, that is still the greatest videogame ever invented.) Now I must say it is 44 hours.

3:30 am Saturday: We rise early knowing that we are about to ride two hours out of Chacapoyas in a car. We are sharing the car with two more people. One traveler and one guy who decided it would be easier to spend the nite drinking and just leave at 4 am. This guy was smashed and thankfully sitting next to Merrill, who later in the trip smelt like this guys breath. I would have puked had I been Merrill.

5:30 am Saturday: We arrive in some tiny town and trade cars. Now we are seven in a station wagon and ride like that for about an hour to Baguas Grandes.

6:30 am Saturday: We take another car, this time we are only six to Jaén.

8:00 am Saturday: We take a car from Jaén to San Ignacio. In the process this girl sits next to me and just keeps staring at me. I´m pretty accustomed to this by now, but this girl was attractive and looked educated, so it caught me by surprise. I start talking to her, and apparently I´m the fist Gringo she has ever met. So I told her we are really scary people and made a bugglie wugglie face at her as well as shared my popcorn with her. I´m not sure if sharing popcorn is a sign of engagement or interest because within like two minutes of meeting her and sharing popcorn with her she immediately asks for my number so we can call each other. I tell her I don´t have a cell phone, so she decides email would be best. Whatev, I gave it. (Sidenote, don´t share your popcorn with someone unless you´re interested in them.)

11:00 am Saturday: We hop another car to the border town. Keep in mind none of these roads are paved so now our rears are a bit sore and stomachs are a bit enthused. On the way we get a flat tire. Merrill and I really aren´t that surprised seeing how there is more tread on a baby´s bottom. We are thankful that now we get to ride on the spare.

2:30 pm Saturday: We arrive at the border. And boy was it small. A simple bridge a few restaurants and a couple of huts for customs. We cross the bridge after signing out of Perú and see the migration officers in Ecuador drinking a beer.They say the next transport up the mountain leaves at 5pm, so we are not working until around 4:30ish. Sounds good, so we go back to Perú because they have a better restaurant and then back to Ecuador to have a beer with these guys. Later, around 4:30 I walk into the migration office beer in hand to get my passport stamped. Yes, that´s right, I entered Ecuador officially while drinking a beer. I´ll probably never get to do that again in my life.

5:00 pm Saturday: We take a two hour ¨chiva¨ ride up the mountain. This road is super rocky. We bounced the entire way up the mountain. At one point my fanny was 8 inches off the seat. Even my feet were off the floor, totally airborne.

10:45 pm Saturday: We leave Zumba for Loja, Ecuador. There were no problems on this busride and I slept most of the way. It was still bumpy as always, but I was dog tired.

6:30 am Sunday: We arrive in Loja and go to the coffee shop in the bus terminal. We look ridiculous and tired, but know we still have a ways to go. The coffee was stale and warm, but it was black and good for ya.

8:00 am Sunday: We leave for Quito. At last, we are on the final leg of the journey. It is supposed to take fourteen hours to get to Quito, so that´s all we have left! Two hours into the trip we get stuck. Bad stuck in some mud. The complete back tire is under the mud, so we think we are going nowhere.Thankfully a bulldozer was nearby and it literally cut a new wall in the side of the mountain to get in front of the bus. Then it yanked the bus out. Raw power. I felt like I needed to pay more for my ticket after seeing this bulldozer work.

10:00 am Sunday: We travel for like four hours without any problems and at some point we finally got on a paved road. First paved road we had traveled on in like five days. God Bless it! But it was too good and before we knew it we heard a loud bang from underneath and sure enough we had another flat. The second in two days. We stopped for like thirty minutes changing the tire and then headed on.

6:00 pm Sunday: We round the turn on this mountain and notice there is a ton of rocks in the road. Seeing how our bus was the first bus on the scene, the landslide must have happened like a minute or two before. These were not rocks actually. They were boulders, and we had no way to move them. Now we are thinking, yeah, we´re definitely stuck now. But no. Merrill and I got off the bus along with a bunch of other guys and starting moving these rocks. It took like twenty men using big steel rods as levers to move these boulders. All of us were passengers. It was great. I was also taking thick rocks and hurling them at the boulders like a Highlander in order to split the boulders we we could then move them. After about an hour of work in the rain we had a passage way and went on. The whole time Merrill and I are thinking this is great, but is it out of the ordinary? No way.

12:00 am Monday: We arrive in Quito at last. We hit the hostal and were starving, so we went for some late nite schwarma (kinda like a gyro) then hit the bed exhausted!

Since then we´ve been relaxing, catching up with old friends in Quito. Tomorrow we head to Colombia, so I´m oober oober excited!!!

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1 comment:

Abby Maddox said...

I am SO glad you included the picture of the bus in the mud. Sometimes, I read what you are writing and just sort of blow right over how primitive everything is. Pictures truly bring things into perspective.