On the road to Columbia via Otavalo!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
1
134
332
Trip End Jan 19, 2007


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, June 17, 2006

Meet next day minus two of our trip as one is in hospital with very bad stomach bug so we head off northwards hoping they will join us tomorrow.

Drive northwards and stop at the equator line which is pretty non descript but have a photo anyway and then onto Otavalo which is a market town in the countryside. Wander into town where there is a smaller market on Friday as big one is tomorrow. Have lunch in a grat local place for about US$2 and see the local squares and churches. Lots of the people here are wearing local dress - women in embroidered blouses, gold beaded necklaces or coral and men in hats with long plaits and short white trousers. Other women have green pork pie hats with peacock feathers on them. Is lovely to see instead of the usual jeans and t-shirts! All go out for dinner that night to try the local speciality of fritatada - fried meat of some description (dont ask what)

Today up early to see markets which are not just in the main square where the handicraft market is. It literally sprawls everywhere and has everything from livestock to food to very tacky ornaments! See pig being cooked whole which is very appetising in the morning! Manage to buy more things that we dont need and hopefully others will be pleased to receive. Is pretty cheap here and the people are very friendly and good humoured when you bargain with them which is nice.

After a late breakfast in the main square people watching we head back to the hotel and fortunately the 2 people who were still in Quito meet up with us although Joel is still not well.

We all get on the truck (called Gertie - of course) and head north again. Countryside is very hilly and green and beautuiful and then we head further into hilly desert. After a few hours we reach a massive traffic jam where cars are just overtaking and pushing in blatantly. This is the very organised border crossing into Columbia. We decide to do a sweepstake for how long it will take to get out of Ecuador and into Columbia and guesses range from 11/2 hours to 10 days! The traffic jam is horrificly long but we eventually leave Ecuador and get stamped out and cross a bridge into Columbia. As Dave and I are security we wait by the truck while everyone is going through migration and AJ is sorting the truck paperwork (need special insurance etc). We are all a bit nervous it has to be said. This security guy comes to talk to us called Pablo Pedro with his holster full of bullets and a gun (we are pleased we have on our bullet proof vests - this is a joke mums before you get worried) He has a good chat with us (in Spanish too!) and is very friendly welcoming us to Columbia. I am still apprehensive expecting something dodgy but the group come back having been let in (only minor difficult was for Irish person who had to get a visa in Quito as 3 IRA guys were arrested for training terrorist groups here a few years ago). We queue to be stamped into Columbia and when I get to the front the woman asks if I speak Spanish which I answer a bit hoping that I wont say something that will stop me getting in. She says she has a question for me. I am nervous. She speaks very slowly and asks me the last question I was ever expecting on arriving at the Columbian border....... " what products do you use on your skin?" Very funny. I was still let in despite any helpful answer! We then change some money with a man holding wads of notes and get back to the truck. All in all the whole lot of the border crossing takes just over an hour (minus the traffic jams) so Ben wins (am sure it was a fix). As we drive into Columbia we are stared at by the locals - firstly for such a big truck and then for all us Gringos!
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: