Deadlines

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
1
11
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Trip End Jan 20, 2008


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ah, yes, deadlines. I though I'd put those behind me when I resigned. But no. Transfer deadline day, yesterday, and I travelled to Baņos. Very exciting. Two days in Riobamba, a trip up the volcano Chimborazo (Ecuador's highest peak) - well, at least 4000m up it, until it wasn't possible to walk much further. And then a trip to a market. People selling shoes, clothes, those trilbys favoured by the indigenous women and lots of animals. Sheep that growled at you when you walked by. They're fierce, are Ecuadorian sheep. A working market, rather than one aimed at dopy tourists like me - no woolen coats with llama pictures embroidered in. So I didn't buy anything. And felt voyeuristic. Walking around a market like that, observing people going about their day-to-day business, whilst having no intention of purchasing a pig or a couple of chickens for my backyard, seemed wrong, somehow.
And then back to Riobamba, where I tried to buy a ticket for the train. Down "The Devil's Nose" - a steep slope. I wonder if they call the train "The Devil's Snot". I don't think they do. Sadly, however, the train was cancelled on Friday. Next one Sunday. And I didn't want to hang around that long. So I left for Baņos. A very picturesque town, surrounded, on all sides, by great green mountains. One of which is a volcano. An active volcano. It's been threatening to blow for a few years now. Woo, look at me. Living dangerously...
The bus journey here started off fairly dull - scenery nothing like as impressive as previous rides. Then, close to the town, it started to get much better. Then the bus stopped. Mud slides, I believe - a problems in these parts. So it sat for a couple of hours, as people started getting off and walking. I didn't - large backpack. And it was raining. A few false starts - the engine turned on, revving, and then switching off again. One brief burst forward, pulling out, overtaking the vehicles still stopped, ignoring the "No rebase" signs, weaving frantically along the edge of a cliff. Then stopping again. Prompting weird daydreams. Such as the fact that I have a video of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" film, taped from Channel 4 in around 1987 or 1988. Introduced by two people - a man and a woman (think Alex Cox duplicated, without the intellect, humour or fun). Who were they? And then the fact that after that, on the tape, are the goals from the Wanderers Sherpa Van Trophy win - Julian Darby, Jeff Chandler, Dean Crombie (best goal ever scored at Wembley: fact!) and Stuart Storer. I think.
Finally, we got through. A long time. But here I am. I have a four hour Spanish class this afternoon - I'll spend a few days here, practicing, maybe some trips to the waterfalls. Rafting, canyoning. Sounds fun. Then Quito, and Peru. For a month.
Photos. I can put some more up. That'll be good.
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