Colonial buildings, tattoos and 2nd thoughts!

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of Ecuador  , Azuay,
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our flight left San cristobal at around 11 ish and we landed in Guayaquil around lunch time. Not wanting to venture further into Guayaquil than the food court at the bus station - tai has a new found addiction to fast food - we decided to grab some food and then get the next bus out and head to Cuenca.
The journey took a few hours and we arrived at around 7ish in the evening. We'd been recommended a hostel and after the standard nervous cab ride we arrived there safe and sound.
As soon as we arrived we fell in love with Cuenca - the cobbled streets and colonial buildings stole our hearts. The hostel we stayed in was equally beautiful in an old building with a central courtyard which was the restaurant and bar and was lit dimly by candle light. We dumped our bags and decided to go and grab a beer somewhere - we thought we'd start at the hostel - they'd run out of beer - wine then? Nope they'd run out of that too so we headed off to explore our nearby surroundings!
We just happened to be a street away from where the majority of bars and restaurants are so we headed there and found ourselves in a Turkish style restaurant where we had a couple of beers and ate falafel.
Tired from our day of travelling we retired back to the hostel and soon fell straight to sleep. The following day we awoke early and decided to get our bearings around the town and as we always seem to do at a new place we spent the day ambling around with no real direction, taking in our surroundings. Cuenca was just as beautiful in the day as it was in the evening. We passed lots of cathedrals, churches, even the shop buildings were cool. That night the hostel was holding a ska night and had 3 bands playing so we spent the night there and even ran into dd guy from our hostel in montanita. The bands were really good and the place was packed. The first band came on- I think the guy thought he was a proper rock star as he was jumping over his equipment and pretending to fight with the bassist - at one point he jumped up on a big plant pot and it broke along with some equipment he knocked over as he fell to the floor. A cringe worthy 10 minutes of silence followed as they tried to fix things. The next band were much better and after 5 minutes the area in front of the stage was packed and seemed to be turning into some kind of mosh pit- people were jumping, elbowing and pushing, tables and drinks were being knocked over- it was amazing. The rest of the night was much like this and then as soon as the band stopped the place emptied. It was a very random but awesome night.
The next day we decided to get cultural and so headed to the museum of modern art where they had a huge exhibition on by an ecuadorian artist i don't know much about art at all but I liked a lot of his stuff as it was all very colourful. The building was a beautiful white washed building with blue shutters, windows and doors and had lovely gardens in the middle. After we left we headed to a huge church by the main sq - it was called the church of immaculate conception and had amazing stained glass windows. We wandered around inside for a while and as we left a lady walked past carrying a big wooden board in her head which contained a big sloppy mess of ice cream and a couple of ice cream cones stuck in up side down.
We then headed over to the other side of town where we caught a bus to a little place called turi which was up on a hill and had an awesome view over the city, unfortunately the only way back down was the same bus which had to continue to the end of the line before it turned around and could pick us up again. So with an hour or so to kill we stopped in at a little gallery and had a look round, the guy had a work shop there and we saw him making some of the pottery, originally we thought they were one of a kinds until we saw hundreds and hundreds of pots, bowls and vases lined up in the workshop!
This didn't exactly fill much of the time and so we had to spend a little while longer loitering on the street waiting for a bus back to town.
We made a quick stop in a traditional hat museum which was as boring as it sounds and then headed off for lunch getting to a Mexican restaurant just in time as a massive thunderstorm started, it lasted ages and we needed a change of scenery so we headed to a micro brewery near our hostel. Maybe tai used the rain as an excuse as this place made their own ale!
That evening we went to the cinema and then back to the micro brewery until tai got poorly again and we had to go back to the hostel where he proceeded to be sick :-(
Then next day we decided to head to a tattoo convention at a nearby university. After a little awkwardness tai soon got into the swing of things and was talking to various tattoo artists about yet another tattoo. That night we headed out for a late dinner at a restaurant on the main square and discussed the plans for the following day. We got up early the next day and headed back to the convention, unfortunately the guy that we'd spoken to on the Saturday wasn't there and so tai got a design done by a different guy. 2 hours and a lot of pain later tai had a new tattoo on his ribs and just as we were leaving we bumped into the 1st guy. As I wasn't happy with mine I decided to get a couple of things added to it and so arranged to meet the tattooist later.
When we met him we went to his aunties hair salon and got it done there. That evening tai decided he really wasn't happy with his tattoo and so after much discussion we decided to email the 2nd guy and see if he could help us the following day. Luck was in our side as he was staying in Cuenca another day and so we found ourselves the following day at his aunties house this time with tai being tattooed on a kitchen table. After a nerve racking hours or so tai was thankfully much happier with the result. We went to the cinema that night again - this time we watched an awful film - flypaper!
The next morning we awoke early to leave for our next and last stop in Ecuador.
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Dave on

You're the only person I know that has described a visit to a hat museum as boring.

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