Quick, Quit, Quito...... Qrap
Trip Start May 30, 2005
129Trip End Sep 30, 2006
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I boarded another fancy bus that was only 1.5 hours late in arriving. The ride was good and I was glad to be on a bus that transfered us through the border area. Farah had sent me an email saying that sheīd had a nightmare time getting through the border area independently the day before.
In fact when I stepped off the bus to check out of Peru there was a gaggle of touts, one of them actually had the cheek to say "Passport please". I wonder what would have happened if Iīd actually given it to him.
The entry into Ecuador was pretty painful as well, Iīm not a big fan of queueing for 1.5 hours, much of it in the sun. With only one guy processing the entries, and several busses arriving at the same time, it was never going to be pretty.
At least everyone on the bus was friendly. I got talking to Pablo, a Uruguayan who now lived in Hawaii. He was also trying to get to Quito for a flight so we agreed that itīd be easier to get there together. When the bus arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuadorīs biggest city, we jumped in a taxi to take us to the other bus station. We only went round the corner, I should have known something was up when the taxi driver started rubbing his hands and giggling once weīd agreed the price.
Pablo and I didnīt want to arrive in Quito in the dark, so we bought tickets for a later bus and hung around the bus station getting some food. This is when heīd told me how long heīd been travelling. Heīd caught a 20 hour overnight bus from Cusco to Lima, then jumped straight onto the bus to Guayaquil, which took about 28 hours. He was just about to get onto another bus to Quito, which would take a measly 9 hours! Now thatīs what I call hardcore travelling. Three night buses in a row!
The bus to Quito was really quiet and we got talking to some local lads going home for the weekend. They were really great, but I just couldnīt keep up with the conversation, afterall everyone else had Spanish as their first language. Instead I just tuned into my music and had a fantastic sleep on the bus, thatīs something Iīm getting really good at.
We ended up getting a hostel in Quitoīs new town. Iīd arranged to meet Farah in the old town and so Iīd completely messed up our arrangement, sorry about that Farah! At least we managed to catch up with her and sort it out once the internet cafes opened at 9am.
All three of us were flying home from Quito the next day, so with very little time in town we got a taxi out and towards the equator. Itīs quite strange out there, it sort of feels like a theme park, but there is no ride other than the line that you can step over to take you between the northern and southern hemispheres.
There was a large monument here which the equator runs through and has decorative N,S,E, and O letters around (Donīt forget the letters are in Spanish!). Iīd avoid the museum in the monument if possible, it was pretty poor, but the view from the top of the monument was fantastic. We ended up having lots of fun with the line and taking loads of pictures there, itīs amazing how much fun you can have with just the simplest of things!
There were some other events taking place, such as dancing and some other crappy museums, but we decided to avoid it all and head back to Quito. Itīll be quite cool when I go to visit the equator when I get to Uganda, Iīll be able to see if the line is the same colour there too!
We thought about going up a hill near Quito, using the chairlift of course, but the price and size of the queue persuaded us otherwise. Instead we took a taxi down to the old town to have a look round there. We were all pretty tired, especially Pablo who hadnīt slept in a bed for 3 days! so we asked the taxi driver to just give us a tour of the old city. He did a great job, with us taking pictures for the taxi. He stopped at a big old church where we were able to get out and have a good look around. Maybe itīll not be such a bad thing for me to go home for a while and have a rest from this tourist mode. Iīm obviously getting a bit tired of it.
Weīd arranged to meet up with some other old friends in Quito. There was Connor that Farah and I met in Iquitos, and Richard (Plus holidaying brother) that weīd caught up with again in Mancorá. Sadly due to a mix up with directions and then a dodgy stomach Pablo wasnīt able to come out with us.
We had a really pleasant night in the trendy touristy part of the new town. It was here that Connor told us that one of the museums at the equator was excellent and contained loads of special experiments that you can carry out. Now thatīd have been fun, no imagination necessary. Ah well, next time....
Pablo left really early the next morning, and I didnīt see him before then. Farah didnīt need to leave until midday. So we just hung around taking it easy, there wasnīt any point in trying to do any more sightseeing, Iīd had enough time for that. She left around lunch time and we said goodbye to each other, itīd been great fun travelling with her. I had another couple of hours to kill, so I just sat in the sun at a cafe with my bags.
I sat there contemplating that Iīd really been away for a whole year. Within 24 hours Iīd be back in Scotland. The great thing about air travel is that you can travel huge distances very quickly, this is of course its disadvantage as well. It felt weird to think that the reality of the past year would end very very quickly once I left South America. I had been preparing myself for leaving South America, but actually doing it was another thing.
Before getting too melancholy I got myself out to the airport. I had my bag searched by a nice man who gave me a chance to practise my spanish vocabulary using the entire contents of my rucksack, "No tengo drogas". After that, I got on that plane......