A long day

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  , El Oro,
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We were up and out a bit earlier today, knowing that we had a long day ahead. We wanted to make it as close to the Ecuador-Peru border as we could but had seen signs showing varying distances to the border town. We therefore planned to just get as far as we could and would cover the rest of the distance tomorrow before crossing into our third country for this trip.  The road was fairly quiet and flat, so we were able to keep up a reasonable pace for the morning. As we cycled we were surrounded mainly by green fields, with the occasional banana plantation. At one point we saw a banana processing plant, with the trucks filled with bananas that were still on the stalk. We could see the workers removing the bananas from the stalks, sorting them and then packaging them into boxes, before loading them on to trucks.

After a couple of hours on our bikes, we stopped at a restaurant and tried to order some lunch, but the lady reminded us that it was only 10am and so they only had breakfast available. Kory went for the usual chicken and rice but I went for a different option. The lady offered me something that I had no idea what it was, so I decided to go for it and ordered one. Thankfully it wasn't anything to crazy,it was a cheese toastie, which made a nice change and seemed like a good compromise since I had walked in asking for lunch.

We continued on and the sun become more intense. We were managing to put down some serious kilometers and it felt good to be getting closer to our destination. Every hour we would stop, have some water and try to find some shade for a few minutes. Then every second hour we would try to stop for some food.

In the afternoon we came across a stall selling coconuts and Kory immediately pulled over. It was the first time that we had seen them on our trip and they are usually a refreshing treat.  When we realised that she actually kept them in the fridge, we were excited for a cold delicious snack! She chopped off the top for us, to use a straw to drink the cold milky drink. It tastes so good and must be filled with natural goodness. Then they cleaver it in half for you so you can eat the solid part of the coconut flesh. It was delicious.

As we ate our coconut we discussed our plans, we were making good time and decided to keep pushing on, as the conditions were favourable and we were in good spirits. When we made it to the second town before the border, it was 4pm, ad we only had 16km left to make it to the border town. We had another meal at the town, before trying to complete the final leg of the journey for the day.

As we trundled on, we had heavy legs and a slowing pace, the 16km turned into about 25km and we arrived in as the sun was setting. The last stint for the day was through abandoned shrub, there for nothing to see, with a mixture of desert and overgrown bush area. It was a bit of a wasteland, with lots of litter and the only traffic was buses and trucks driving to cross the border.

We had cycled our last 155km in Ecuador, all in one day and it had taken us almost 7 hours on our bikes. It was the most kilometers that we have cycled in one day so far on this trip and also on our India trip. We arrived in to Huaquillas tired but with a sense of achievement, we had made it further than we thought that we would for the day and had moved a long way on the map. We hoped that it would help with the border formalities for the next morning, as we knew that they can take up a lot of time.  We arrived in to a bustling town with lots of people selling imported goods across the border and countless men with briefcases who would shout out for you to complete your currency exchange with him.

We checked in to a hotel and after carrying our luggage and bikes up three flights of stairs, collapsed exhausted on the bed. I had opted for the room with air-conditioning as the alternative room was tiny, and didn't even have a window. After showering off the trials of the day, we walked around the town center to find something for dinner.  There was a christmas performance under way with children standing in a line being given presents from a man who looked like he could have been the mayor for the town.
With the christmas music playing and rows upon rows of christmas decorations and paraphernalia being sold in the street stalls the town had a friendly feel to it.  We found a street stall, who had lots of customers and quickly found ourselves with heaping plates of roasted chicken and chips, with tomato sauce. Maybe not the most nutritious muscle re-builder we could think of but it was tasty. Whilst we were sat amongst the locals eating our dinner the power went out for the whole town. When it was still out a few minutes later the performance was called to a
close for the night and the street vendors started to pack up. Once we had finished our meals, we headed back to our room and waited a further twenty minutes or so for the generators to kick into life, and deliver us cold AC again.
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Grandma on

The scenery looks and sounds beautiful. Oh, man you's do know how to put on the km., Sounds like looong hot days you's put in. The fresh coconut must be delicious. So nice to hear from you's again.

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