. The rural people tether their horses, cows and dogs right next to the road, and their little houses look as though they are about to fall down the edge of the cliffs! They all seem to be dressed in traditional clothes and walk along the roads with their hoes over their shoulders, or herding cattle along the road – another hazard! The men typically wear black pants – often just below the knee – with white shirts (must be difficult to keep clean when working on the farms!) with their black hats and hair in a plait down their backs.
We passed through Loja and eventually arrived at a little town called Vilcabamba. Our GPS doesn't work in Ecuador, so we are always happy to arrive in the place that we are aiming for!!! We read on various travellers’ blogs that there was a good hosteria just outside the town, so we are there now. Ecuador doesn’t really cater for campers, but we have parked our vehicle right at the entrance to the place – connected up our electricity – got our washing done (a huge bag) – and we are now relaxing on their stoep with hot chocolate, beers and wi-fi!!! The bathrooms and toilets are quite a way away but we are just pleased to have them at all!! The toilets in South America are quite a challenge! You take your own toilet paper in/don’t sit on the seat/ and never put the paper in the toilet bowl…
. Some people say that the easiest thing is to stand on the seat facing towards the wall, but think that this is possibly for the younger, and more agile!!! I have become a master of origami… I fold the paper just right, and then refold and refold!!! Andy says that this is too much information, but I know that Gill and Pippa will laugh!!!! We look forward to a good supper tonight, as there are quite a few people staying here and the food looks quite good…. The usual – lots of rice and beans!!! We then set off tomorrow on the dirt road as soon as the washing is ready – the lady says about 8:30 or 9:00 and then go to Zumba River where we bush camp. It is 6/7 hours from here to Zumba and then 1½ hours from there to the border at La Balsa. Will be sad to leave Ecuador, as we have certainly had an unforgettable time here.
It is almost farewell to Ecuador. We travelled through the most beautiful, high mountainous countryside for most of the day. It was quite tiring driving because the road was twisty and turny the whole way, road signs are scarce, and the Ecuadorian drivers are somewhat unpredictable. (In Guayaquil there were times in the taxi where I just wanted to close my eyes and scream!!!)They are such a polite, helpful and friendly nation, but behind the wheel of a car they are quite frightening. They seem to overtake on blind corners, and the busses, trucks and cars just hurtle on at top speed. They wait behind you for a little while and then overtake always at the most dangerous and unlikely place. The road is also in a state of disrepair and there are patches where the whole one side of the road has been dug up. There is not much warning! Loved the villages that we passed through. In every town, right on the road, there are little eating places with a whole pig on a spit thing. They seem to cook it with something like a blowtorch