From Coastline to Cloudforest

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Descanso Hotel

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, January 30, 2011

The alarm went of at 06:00, I was already awake however the lady had been kept awake by the local nightclub...... yes that is right, the local nightclub, which as it was saturday night was whipping the crowd into a frenzy until about 2am, at midnight even I was woken as a powercut had led to an awful lot of booing. The old adage if you cant beat them join them should have been utilised but we are now paranoid of missing any flights, buses etc which could spoil our plan.

By 06:30 we were roaming the fairly deserted streets with our backpacks looking either for fellow backpackers to share a jeep or another cheaper way to the airport. I tried to get on one of the buses used to get people to and from the posh boats, thinking they had dropped off the passengers I was quickly manhandled back of the bus, to see the long socked, jumpers around the neck crew approaching for there day on Santa Cruz. When the guy told us to get a taxi, we explained we couldnt afford it, then he told us where the bus station was. Only a dollar away by taxi, we had soon bought our bus tickets for $1.50 and at 7am a bus arrived which we jumped on to take us to the channel that separate Baltra and Santa Cruz. We did the ferry crossing again for $0.50 each and jumped on the free bus on the other side, all worked a dream. The airport was a carnage as the big boat groups seem to have somebody check them all in so there were heaps of bags everywhere and a bit of a scrum to get to a desk, none the less we were here on time.

We even managed a bit of wifi to publish yet another blog, (I think the end of daily blogging is about one of the few good things about getting close to the end of our trip, we both truly hate it but my stubborness to admit defeat has meant we have kept it up).
When we got on the plane we found our seats the row behind the emergency exit seats, which oddly meant my seat had nothing in front but a gap in front of the door. We took off and another amazing looking dinner was served up by Aerogal, last time a cheese and ham sandwich. I got the table out of the arm of my chair (bear in mind I didn't have a seat in front). Despite the fact that Lady E did have a seat and therefore a table in front she started trying to force the arm of her chair open, getting annoyed she then accused me of stealing her table and tried to fold it back over in her direction obviously finding that the hinge wouldn’t go that way before the bloke next to her, who was in hysterics, simply undid the table in front of her. This was an ice breaker and we were instantly into conversation with a similar aged bloke to us from Argentina. He was a nice guy who we were drawn to when he spat his pudding back into the bowl and said "that is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. You try it, it’s horrible", rising to the challenge we both tried it and oddly found it very nice a kind of passionfruit mousse. He got off the plane when it landed at Guayaquil as did most other passengers, which we found a little odd because on the way here hardly anybody got on or off at Guayaquil and the vast majority were from Quito. Anyway it meant the next bit of the flight was very empty.

At Quito we quickly collected the bags much to my amusement, during Erica’s winge in the morning about her bag coming out of the bus wet it turned out it had been fish juice and her bag reaked of fish. We headed outside and fought through the 'celebrity’ cruises bus queue and got a taxi to the bus station. We then headed for Mindo a place known as one of the best twitching spots not only in Ecuador but possibly the world. That is right we are officially twitchers and looking forward to a bit of birding (that is a technical term) for a few days before we head to Colombia to get Erica some ‘stuff’ to carry home thus paying for the whole trip.

Mindo is lovely and is in the middle of a cloud forest, meaning quite obviously that it is in the middle of a forest that is up in the clouds, it took us about 2 hours to get here from Quito but it seems like a world away. It is just the kind of place we love, cheap, rural, simple and, ahem..... full of birds. After a quick trawl of the accommodation circuit, for possibly the first time since a huge overspend in China, I let the lady loose and she picked. I wanted to stay in a place with no walls just bunk beds under a roof which at $5 a night was a steal, although we knew it would rain most of the time, being a cloud forest and all. The lady chose a marvellous wood panelled building with hot showers (something I couldn’t care less about) an en suite, and lovely large room. The really special thing though is that the owners are absolute masters with Hummingbirds. Their garden is only filled with species of plants that attract and retain Hummingbirds, and they have a couple of feeders.  All in all this turned the back garden into a wonderland of hundreds of Hummingbirds. They were just everywhere.   Erica edit:   My mum’s favourite bird, she would have loved it.

The price tag was forgettable but it wasn’t in our league a serious overspend, although letting the Lady loose I’m surprised we are not in a 5* hotel. We headed back out into town sinking a few beers which were more enjoyable as they were half the price of the Galapagos, before heading for a bite to eat at Restaurant El Chef, which offered up a very large steak (on a stone to cook it) with chips and salad for the same price as a hamburger in the Galapagos. Erica broke some serious rules and threw a bit of fat to a stray dog which then entered the restaurant and started jumping up at the table talk of us getting a dog when we get home must be abolished after that action.  We wandered back to the hotel (note I’m not using the world hostel or hostal, the lady from the hotel was waiting for us looking at her watch as if we had kept her up, we got in at 7pm). It may have been about 20:00 by the time I was asleep which isn’t as bad as it sounds considering we lost an hour with time change from the Galapagos and we had a meeting with a bird guide at 6am tomorrow morning.

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farknash on

"truly hate it"?! c'mon - push on through, baby. nearly there - feel that burn!


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