Sunday, July 21, 2013

John & Judy ...Ecuador Journal #1

Check lists completed ... house sitters in place...'mimimal' packs loaded...And we are ready to 'fly the coop'. We took the Red eye' from San Francisco to Lima. Considering that we got four hours of sleep during the flight we are doing quite well! Our first sight of South America was a flaming sunrise from 35000 ft., "as the sun slowly rose in majesty over the Andes". We have a new favorite airline... LAN is a Chilean company that provides a high level of comfort and service. In this day and age of uncertain airline food, we were served real food, well prepared. Airports are never a good place to learn about a country...certainly true of Lima... Our guide book suggests that Lima is where you go to do business, but not a good place to experience Peru. Later in our trip we return to Peru and Lima is somewhat ini the middle of our travels...a good place to start and end. On this particular day, Lima weather was identical to the summer overcast found in San Francisco. Same cold dampness. So after a three hour layover, we are once more airborne...Headed more or less north.This time our destination is Quito Ecuador which is closer to our first real destination. The geology that I see from the air is impressive... We see vast fields of lava,apparently quite recent.
Arrival in Quito...first impressions...We are staying in the traditional part of town is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO ...Many of the buildings are built of gray volcanic stone and streets are narrow in the early neighborhood of the cathedral, We are staying in the Secret Garden Hostel... The place reminds me of my travels during early 20s when I explored Europe, sleeping in youth hostels. Most of the fellow guests are under 30 in age and off on great adventures. Each evening the visitors gather in the rooftop patio (with a grand view of the entire city) We sit and share stories of our daily adventures and share useful travel information...It is a time to relax, enjoy a beer, and watch the evening shadows come on... The hostel provides a fixed price meal each night... Good basic food... Delicious... And much easier than trekking off to another restaurant.
Saturday was our first real day and we joined a small group to ride out in a van to a livestock sale in a neighboring town. Here the descendants of the Mayan indigenous people come to buy and sell their animals. Here were pigs, chickens, goats, guinea pigs, cows... Them and the local people coming together to share the events of their lives, to see friends, and sell their animals...It is a grand confusion of noise and people. Close by is the greatest once a week special market for all products ...both for the needs of the locals and products to lure the tourists.
Now Sunday morning we are attempting to meet the 25 pound limit for out trip into the rainforest... Our other luggage can be stored here until we return Ina week. We hear rumors that there may be some sort of satellite internet. We will see,,,