Trip Start Feb 10, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We were a bit nervous for our border crossing into Ecuador, Lonely Planet calls it ´South America´s worst border´ and seems to suggest that its pretty much guranteed that you will have your Passport taken and have to bribe numerous officials to get it back! On the Ecuadorian side of the border we were told to leave our bags in the bus that would take us to Cuenca then get a taxi to Immigration to get our stamps and wait for the bus to come and pick us up,
We were beginning to wonder if this border was going to live up to its dodgy reputaion! Luckily our Passports were stamped and returned without any exchanging of money and the bus turned up with our bags in tact, few!!
On a first day in Cuenca we walked around this really pretty city, it reminded me of Sucre in Bolivia, very colonial and rather charming. The main plaza is dominated by a huge cathedral with two bright blue domes on top very picturesque.
Cuenca is one of the main places in Ecuador to buy Panama, or should i say montchristi, hats. So we had a browse round the market and some shops on the lookout for a hat for us to wear round town. In the process we met a mute Panama hat master who was selling really really nice hats though at $200 they were a bit out of our price range.
We went to the market for lunch, it was amazing thier were loads of stalls each with their own roasted whole pig, so we ordered a plate each. It was honestly the best pork ive tasted and it came with fried mashed potato balls, rice and salad. TASTY! We followed lunch with a visit to a juice stall and that was amazing too, I had a coconut juice and Ellie had a blackberry juice and it came to less than $5 for both of us!
That evening was a bit rainy so we decided to go to the cinema, after a bit of confusion as to if there were any films in English we settled for Case 39, it was rubbish Renee Zellweger should not do Thrillers!
The day after we tried to go to a museum that was highly reccommended in Lonely Planet as a must do in Cuenca but in typical S. American fashion it was closed! That evening was the festival of Corpus Christi, it was hilarious the lack of health and safety would have sent any English event organiser into a breakdown. There were fireworks shooting into the crown, into tress and into the church. The guys in charge of lighting the fireworks we usung their cigarettes, there were chinese lantens but instead of using candles to power them they were using rags soaked in petrol, it was all very amusing!
I reallly enjoyed Cuenca, first impressions of Ecuador a very positive.
Morning in Cuenca before our bus to Guayaquil.
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