Cuenca is rather boring on the weekend

Trip Start Jul 12, 2006
Trip End Aug 23, 2006

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

I left Riobamba on Saturday around 1pm, and caught a bus for Cuenca. It was a six-hour ride full of good times, including but not limited to: a fight (at least 2 on 1)spilling out from the bus next to us before we had even left--I have no idea what caused it but the one guy was dragged off the bus by his collar, then punched before the police intervened; so many people getting picked up en route that the entire aisle was full of standing people holding on for dear life as the bus barreled down the Panamerican Highway; and three consecutive Steven Seagal movies (Iīm pretty sure he smashed a much smaller car with a large truck, i.e. dump truck, armored vehicle, etc., at least once in each movie), all of which had nearly identical plots where Steven Seagal is betrayed by someone, whereupon he calls the betrayer on the phone and says, ``Iīm coming for you,īī and by the end of the movie, sure enough, he does.

We were about 2/3 through the last movie when we arrived in Cuenca (so I didnīt see Seagal actually come for the guy who betrayed him, but Iīm guessing he gets him in the end), so I caught a taxi into the downtown area. Cuenca is Ecuadorīs third-largest city, and touted in many places as its finest, so I was expecting quite a bit of activity, it being Saturday night. I was surprised then when I found the streets dead--I mean zero people walking around. It was a little creepy.

I was dropped off in front of a hostel I read about in my guidebook. The gates were closed but they let me in when I rang the bell, so I walked up the seven flights of stairs (the hostel is perched atop an office building) only to be told, ``No hay espacio.īī (``There isnīt any space.īī) I was obviously thrilled.

Upon walking back down I met two Americans, Heather and Sven, who were getting out of a taxi in front of the hostel. I informed them that there wasnīt room up there, so we decided to walk together for two blocks to another hostel in the guidebook. There was space there, and at $4.50/night, we couldnīt pass it up. We got dinner near the hostel (it was really good, and the first time Iīve eaten a meal where I wasnīt still hungry afterwards) and then said goodnight.

I woke up early this morning to go to Ingapirca, Ecuadorīs most important (and I think largest) Inca ruin. Itīs important to note that having such a label lends quite a bit of credibility to the site. Once again, I was expecting something large and spectacular.

It was somewhat spectacular, but nowhere near as large as I had thought it would be. I had walked through the whole site--slowly, taking pictures--and watched a male llama pursue a female llama for ten minutes, and I was still forty minutes early for the bus. That Ingapirca is so small, yet is Ecuadorīs most important Inca ruin shows how short a time and how small a space the Incas occupied in Ecuador before infighting (between two half-brothers, one in Quito, one in Cuzco) and Spanish invaders toppled the empire. Anyway, the main structure at Ingapirca is the Temple of the Sun, which is quite impressive. Iīm going to try to post some pictures this time--the connection seems fairly speedy.

Thatīs all I really have for now... Iīm planning on doing a day hike in Cajas National Park tomorrow, then heading south either to Vilcabamba or to Loja on Tuesday.
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ali on

maybe people there just stay home on Saturday? maybe never go out to restaurants
but this is very informative

Dan on

Ingapirca isn''t an Inca ruin :) it's a cañari ruin, Inca cities were located in Cuenca
and Quito and now there isnt anything left...

james on

Been here in Cuenca 1 month..............very boring

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