Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 2: Almost at the border

Early in the morning at 03:00 in our Santa Domingo hotel, we were awoken by loud knocks on our door by someone demanding "Documento". There was no peep hole in the hotel door and Jordan was feeling a little apprehensive, so he stashed our cash and then answered the door. The National Police were there wanting to see identification (passports) which he showed them. During the exchange and in their rapid Spanish they were asking for something. Jordan recognized enough to believe that they were asking for some kind of propina (meaning a tip) but Jordan just played dumb and responded "no comprendo" (meaning I do not understand). And then they continued from door to door, waking up everyone in the hotel.

Jordan later mentioned that he had been on the verge of telling them that this type of intrusion wasn't appreciated but after was glad that he bit his tongue. They were performing a just function. Jordan had recently read something that Ecuador, being between the Peruvian and Columbian drug producing areas, had evidence of the presence of the Mexican Sinaloa drug personnel, so figured the National Police were doing a standard door-to-door check in this crossroads city (and of course, as an afterthought, seeing gringos, decided to also ask for propina).

At a fruit and veggie store the next morning in another town called Otavalo, Jordan found this large papaya...

At one point it was getting to be lunch time when we noticed a few trucks stopped outside a little kitchen next to a small waterfall. Truckers usually know the good spots. It was mostly meat on the menu so we asked for fried rice mixed with tomatoes and onions. For 2 large servings and 2 fresh juices, it was only $2.60. Food is so inexpensive in Ecuador.

We have discovered that guinea pigs originated in the Andes Mountains and are commonly used for food in South America. We don't ever intend on tasting it (even if we weren't vegetarian) as we can't help thinking of them as pets as in North America.

We went through 4 road checks where we were asked for driver's licence and/or motorcycle papers. At one stop, our check was interrupted when the cop looked way up the road and quickly handed back our papers and jumped in his vehicle and rushed off after someone who had done a U-turn to avoid the check. They not only look for proper papers and registration, but no doubt are looking for illegals.

As we climbed the Andes Mountains, from high above on the highway, we were looking down upon a sea of bamboo groves with their beautiful lime green wispy foliage whispering in the light breeze.

We crossed through Pifo today and travelled 358 km, passing well clear of Quito and through colonial Otavalo, spending the night 7 km from the Colombian border on the outskirts of Tulcán.


The Intrepid II Crew said...

Never a dull moment for you two - whether you are on Sea Turtle or exploring by land! Stay safe and well and we'll continue to enjoy your exploits from afar. Cheers, Kelly & Carol

Kyra and Rick said...

Woah, love it - you guys are doing your land tour. I loved Ecuador when I back-packed there in 2004 - love following your adventures... By the way, we are finally in Ensenada, Mexico! Hugs, the Nyon crew