Road Warriors: What a Month It's Been

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We wanted to spend at least 3 weeks in Peru and were enjoying Ecuador so much we realized time was closing in on us. So to get to Peru, we ended up travelling a lot over 4 days – long bus rides snaking through the southern sierras of the Ecuadorian Andes and into the desert of northern Peru.  Fascinating sights of deforested mountains, hardworking people with few amenities in their lives, and stunning vistas.  Most of the women in the south of Ecuador continue to wear their traditional clothing – an embroidered blouse, a pleated skirt, a shawl and a hat. How is it in this day and age that a group of people can maintain their traditions? Fascinating.

These long bus trips are getting to me. I am at risk of dehydration due to my long held aversion to public bathrooms especially ones that are not clean.  If I don't drink anything, I don't need to use them. In fact a number of my hang-ups have been tested lately. The scudgey hotel in Loja triggered me more. I pulled out my aromatherapy kit and treated the bed and bathroom.  Not wanting my skin to have any contact with the bed, I crawled into my silk sleeping bag liner, that has not been out of my pack to date, ensuring that it separated me from the bed which now smelled overwhelmingly of lavender. Add to that my eye patch, ear plugs and some homeopathic sleep remedy (Calms Fort) and I could successfully pretend I was not really there. Contrary to this, almost no accommodation will bother Jim.   

Which leads us to another area of tension.  I like to spend a little extra money once in awhile for some of the, what I consider to be, delights of life - food, accommodation, clothing, jewellry. Jim doesn't share this practice.  In fact he delights in saving money on most things except perhaps photography equipment.  I remember a time camping on a Nova Scotia beach being eaten alive by mosquitoes and sand fleas.  As we were falling asleep to the sound of the waves, he said to me, 'it doesn't get any better than this'.  I imagined staying at a spa resort with a big comfortable bed, curtains waving in the breeze and a cocktail beside me and thought, 'who is this man I have married?!'

Our Spanish seems to be getting worse.  Nothing is sticking and we feel more and more inept the longer we are here in South America.  Neither of us were good at learning French in school and at least Jim has been honest with himself about the language barrier.  I, on the hand, have had some romantic idea that I could get by and I could learn Spanish but I actually don't know if I could even if I tried. I am all about the potential, forgetting about the reality.

So as we begin to experience a bit of travel fatigue, we bump up against some of our differences and our own stuff. What's the saying...'everywhere I go there I am'?  And as we find our rhythm and adjust to the changes and challenges, we become once again more resourceful and build our resilience.  And, hey, we are back to enjoying the travel.

I am done whinging so will return to reporting our travels...

Two nights in Cuenca was probably not long enough, however, we did go to one of the most interesting museums we've seen, wandered through a colourful flower market and ate the best meal EVER at Tiesto's (an extraordinary experience of ambiance, service and delicious food).

We arrived in Loja late afternoon on Sunday after a 5-hour bus ride, preparing to stay one night before heading on a 9 hour cross-border bus to Piura, Peru.  Little did we know that Loja virtually shuts down on Sunday and is a bit of a dive. We found a cute little place that was serving 'cuy' – which is the delicacy of guinea pig.  I decided to try it so ordered a half of one.  There was maybe 1.5 ounces of meat on that sucker!  Anyway, it was tasty and worth trying. I think part of the treat is the skin but it seemed very thick and tough so I didn't eat it.

Now in Piura, which we don't like at all so have holed up in our clean room :) and spent the day napping, reading, writing, doing yoga (me) and processing photos (Jim). Tomorrow we are flying straight to Cusco where we will hang out to acclimatize for a few days before heading to Machu Pichu.  The full moon is on Sunday Sept. 30 and we are hoping to be up there for that.  Time to get to the best of Peru!
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Shawna on

Hey Donna! Lots of this entry reminded me of myself... I routinely dehydrate myself when working at Ironmans because I refuse to use the porta pottys! And Peter also has a love of seeing how much money he can save, whereas for me, food and beds are worth it! :)
When you're back (or if you need a new book along your trip) you should pick up "Turn Right at Macchu Pichu" by Mark Adams. He's a writer for magazines who decides to try to find and follow the original trail Hiram Bingham took to find Macchu Picchu and all the other Incan places along the way... a good read, and you're living it!

Lots of love, shawna

Katharine on

So appreciate your candor, sharing the personal and relational challenges of travelling. Thought of you several times as I sat in circle - a deep dive into the practice - with Christina and Ann. Several times they mentioned their work in Halifax at Capital Health. Enjoy Machu's a place Sig and I would love to go. Love to you...

Sue Walker on

Thanks for sharing the trials and tribulations, every day you open your eyes is a new experience, a lifetime of memories. ENJOY we are always thinking about you guys Sue xoxo safe travels, we can't wait to read more!

Yvonne on

Finding your travelogue fascinating ......and Alice says your photographs should appear in National Geographic as they're so amazing. The Miller family are now envious that you're about to take on the challenge of Machu Pichu and wish we could be embarking on this climb with you. Go for it! Sending you lots of love xxxxx

Trish on

I don't think you were whinging at all! When a friend of mine and I were traveling one of our favourite expressions was "it's only fun it you share." And that's what you were doing - sharing! I love it. And I also now know for sure that Ian and Jim would travel well together! Another thing I loved being reminded of was Everywhere I go, there I am. Thanks for all of your words. Keep enjoying...

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