Searching for Sun in Ecuador

Trip Start Jul 30, 2007
Trip End Sep 17, 2007

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Monday, August 20, 2007

"I don't know...I don't know...I dont know where I'm a goin go when the volcano blows!"
A classic Jimmy Buffett song that is currently floating in my head. Actaully, home in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a pretty good safe haven. Although, there is an ancient cordera several miles up the road that seismologists say...

More important on my mind now is that elusive search for the sun in Ecuador. I almost became giddy when I could discern nearly two thirds of the snow ridge massive frame of Volcano Cotopaxi on a surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon. It helped me validate that there is indeed volcanoes in the distance, the clouds just keep them well hidden. I suppose it's like spotting Mount Rainer from the Seattle area.. Maybe in two, no three months, the clouds will part for a view, you say to yourself as a new Seattle resident.

I'm back in Quito, though seemingly eons away from the town of Latacunga, which is actually less than two hours by bus, finishing up Galapagos trip planning and waiting for the next sunny forecast to head back and do the Quilatoa Loop. The sun made a late afternoon burst here as I kicked back at my hostel terrace plunking the community guitar. Giddy again!

Travelers sometimes mumble about certain places that they say too many gringos gravitate to, although I never see THEM in the numerous towns in South America that you definitely can be the lone gringo. Latacunga is one of those towns. So is Arica, Chile, Porto Alegre, Cuiaba and Florinopolis, Brazil, San Jose and Heredia, Costa Rica, to name a few. Of course, there are good reasons. Yes, you can see the locals without disturbances from other tourists. However, the towns are also kind of boring too. If you're a tourist visitng America, would you flock to Toledo, Ohio or Indianapolis? Maybe being the only tourist touring Toledo's dilapidated broken window former Jeep factory (without getting mugged).

I frankly like the interaction with both fellow travelers and locals alike.

The best moment for me in Latacunga chillin among the locals was watching them play an enjoyable if not awkward form of volleyball, with Cotopoxi barely visible from the market plaza. By awkward I mean there was quite a bit of semi catching then thowing the ball in the air. They would be no match for the professional showoff volleyball players on the beach of Ipanema, Brazil, who use only their feet to play.

Hooked up with four fun-lovin Brits Monday night, enjoying good stories with pizza and beer. Next, a classic South American comedy with an alleged British pub. A British pub that had no beer taps, no Guinness, no English beers and no hard cider. Other than that.... a British pub in name only. That's still not as good as last year St. Patricks Day in Bahia, Brazil where the Dublin Bar was closed for St. Pattys Day!.
Our night finished with Cuba Libres and laughter under a patio umbrella in the pouring rain.

Last night I treated the four British musketeers to my newly acquired dollar DVD of Wild Hogs with yours truly starring and then we went to hear one of our gang, Alex, play piano in his rented tux at the Marriot Hotel lounge, a gig he did for free. No dress-up clothes for the rest of us backpackers. Our tuxes were in the cleaners.

Here's a curious observation. Now, Ecuador does produce coffee yet it is very difficult to get a freshly brewed cup of coffee since the country apparently exports the good stuff. They are big importers of Nescafe, however! Yuck... Costa Rica, believe or not, has a similar ironic situation with its coffee exporting. Then, New Zealand does that with its kiwi fruit and once, a restaurant in Idaho ran out of....yup.... potatoes.

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surtrek on

great blog. seems wonderful story about travel.

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