Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 1: To Colombia by moto

We left Puerto Amistad at Bahía de Caráquez (Ecuador) on our motorcycle Ruby today with a northern destination of Armenia which is about half way up into Colombia. We decided to try a different route than when we headed to Quito Ecuador in August as the road was not very good for the first few kilometres. But what a mistake that was! The "road" we took this time was atrocious, if you could even call it a road.

It started out winding and good but then for about an hour we rode slowly over large rocks, through big ruts and over large humps, and past little pueblos that were on the banks of the river delta. We passed a man on a motorcycle whose passenger was holding, by their skinny legs, live turkeys in 1 hand and live chickens in the other hand as they lifted up their heads and gawked all around!

The houses were very destitute in this area and garbage was strewn in the ditches. And many residences had self-made topes (speed bumps). Why is a mystery as no one could travel fast on this road!

As we continued towards Flavio Alfaro, there were piles of oranges disposed in the ditches. I guess the locals just had too many and/or couldn't sell them - a shame to see such waste.

Meat for sale by this expressive gentleman on the street in Flavio - including a cow's head on the bottom shelf of his stand...

Other locals along our journey decided to use a length of the highway shoulder to dry their beans. What kind? Not sure. But with dirt yards, the highway makes a nice flat, hot area for drying. In some areas, the highway is built super close to some residences. One step out their door and they are literally on the highway - never in Canada!

There is so much bamboo in Ecuador. We've seen it used for decorative purposes, furniture, fences, structural components, and even the entire home. Some of the homes built by individuals for their own use are very sad looking with wide gaps between the bamboo pieces and no doors and/or windows other than perhaps a piece of cloth. Many of them are built on stilts high off the ground in case of flooding. In other areas, where trees were abundant, it seemed the custom to use wood planking for all parts of their structure. I noticed a house with a door (no stilts) but I can only imagine what would skulk in beneath the 4 to 6 inch gap between the bottom of the door and the floor.

We stayed overnight in Santa Domingo, at the base of the Andes and about two thirds the way to Quito, for a total of 191 km on our first day.

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