Tena, start of the amazon

Latacunga to Tena

2018/05/15

Arriving in Tena I went walking with Diana. We walked over an eco-trail following the river that flows through town. A quick swim in the river and walking back to town.

Walking past the square and in the evening cooking together

Tena to Puerto Misahualli and boat tour

2018/05/16

With Diana and Max and 5 other tourists we did a boat tour, first to a rescue center where they give tours. Most of the animals that you see on the tour will never be released, but in general they release most of the animals back into nature. Around the rescue center there is a large area of land in which they are released, and a couple rangers walk around here to see if everything goes well.

Our guide told us about a lot of the different animals, from the ants that carry leaves to feed a fungus in their nest that on turn feeds them. Bullet ants that if they bite you hurt like a bullet and paralyses you partly. The most dangerous animal of the amazon, the pigs Belen and I saw in Bolivia. A cappuccino monkey that grew up drinking cappuccino. They monkey that are released and are near the rescue center, the wooly monkey (strongest monkey of amazon), spider monkey (largest monkey of the amazon), cappuccino monkey and the resus monkey.

There was also spiked walking tree, that can move up to 7cm every year by growing roots in a certain direction. I don’t think that 7cm makes that much of a difference for the survival of a tree however…

Then we crossed the river to a lake with caiman, the guide making noises as the caiman do, telling us this would attract the caiman, we thought it more likely that the meet he did throw in the lake did attracted them. We shot a dart with a blow pipe, surprisingly easy to hit the target.

Afterwards we went to a place to eat, I had my own food, so I went for a walk. Next to an indigenous town. Here they showed us how to make the chichi from yucca (in the past fermented with spit, now by adding a bit of sweet potato), some dance and then we played with the kids. I had kids standing on my shoulders and later as well on my head, just spinning them around. Running against Max while carrying two kids, building other types of towers with kids on our back our shoulders, a lot of fun, but my shirt that was already falling a part got a couple more holes.

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Latacunga relaxing

2018/05/14

Sorting some stuff with my insurance. Last year I changed my health insurance to be included in my travel insurance. When you are out of the Netherlands for more than a year the health insurance in the Netherlands is not valid anymore. But earlier this year I received a letter that since I life officially still in the Netherlands I need to have a health insurance in the Netherlands. After calling it turns out I will have to have a both and be double ensured, stupid system.

After I updated my blog and went looking for a swimming pool, but apparently on Monday the 2 pools in Latacunga are closed, still nice to see a bit more of the town and try some new food

I tried bolitas, this is made with green platano (the large green bananas), they are cooked, smashed and made in to a doe. Then they make bolls with inside chicharron (chunks of fried bacon), very tasty.

Mindo

2018/05/08

The 4 of us went to cascada de amor. Climbing up the waterfall, jumping in the waterfall and just swimming. Around 2pm we were back in town had lunch and coffee at the house.

We played cards and I practiced Acro yoga with Laura.

2018/05/09

I moved my stuff to the to be hostal and prepared a couple Asian dishes.

2018/05/10

Max and I went cycling for the day. In the afternoon the rain started and we where soaked and everything from or face to our cloth was completely covered with mud. At the farthest point of the ride we went for a swim in a river. There was a rope in the river and by holding the rope we were able to cross the river.

In the evening we mad ratatouille and I made onion soup. In have made onion soup now many times on this trip, its one of the easiest dishes and I actually think it’s pretty good.

 

Recipe onion soup:

Chop an onion in small pieces. Melt butter (or oil or both) in a pan. Add the onion till glassy. Add some flower till its like a doe. Add water, salt and white pepper and a little sugar, cook for about 10min.

to Latacunga

2018/05/11

I found out the weather on Friday 11 but as well on Saturday and Sunday morning looked pretty good for Chimborazo (6300m). After a long bus ride, I gave up on going the same day, but tomorrow I will go up with my tent to the base camp and hopefully tomorrow early go to the highest point on earth.

Highest point that is if you look from the center of the earth.

Quito

2018/05/06

By coincidence we walked in to Frida, one of the girls I had met in Banos and went cycling with. She joined the three of us, while we first looked for a rain jacket for me, gave up and continued to the huge cathedral and a couple parks, where by coincidence we found a place with only northface rain jackets, so I got one. We continued to an artisana market and returned to the hostel.

In the hostel I made fried green banana and eggs with Frida. In the evening Hakim had left and Max didn’t feel so well so Frida and I went to see what was happening in la rotunda.

The next day I went to the park with Max and played cards and frisbee. After he left for Mindo I stayed a while longer in the park, joined some locals for a bit and returned as well to the hostel.

I found out that a girl I knew from Cuzco when I was there with Maarten was working in a hostel in Quito, Emilia, I visited here and talked with here and a group Argentinians.

to Mindo

2018/05/07

In the late morning I took a bus to Mindo. The climate in Mindo (1500m) is way warmer, it is as well about 1000m lower then Quito (2600m). I watched the colibries and cooked together with two girls from the states. They were typical Americans, the way they talked and the way they see the world, I like to cook together, but otherwise I wouldn’t want to hang out with them to long.

In the evening I went to visit Max and met the girl he was staying with and a friend of her, Laura from Colombia. We stayed the evening in the house playing cards and talking.

I would stay later as well for 2 nights in this house, she was converting it to a hostal and some of the rooms were finished.

Latacunga to Quito and city tour

2018/05/05

Bus with the French guys to Quito and a city tour.

We arrived early for the city tour and had some free coffee while waiting. I was talking with a girl from the hostel and it turned out that this morning a guy had checked in they had been warned about. The guy had been going from hostel to hostel in this area steeling from guests. This morning they had gotten a warning from the police with picture and passport info. When they had hecked him in, they had kept an eye on him and called the police. While we were waiting he was arrested.

With the city tour we visited the market (directly next to the hostel), and continued to the theatre and so on.

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One of the best stories of the tour was about one of the presidents. He had heard they wanted to kill him and he got nervous. He tried to find out, by going to a medium, how he would die. The medium told him it was lightning. He never went out in the rain again.

After he had slept with the wife of a guy from the jungle, the guy got mad and came to Quito waiting between the charge of the king and his palace, with a gun and a machete. When the king went from the church to the palace he attacked him. The president protected by his guards managed to escape but died in front of the palace from his wounds. He is not the only president killed in the last century.

The name of his killer was ketchup for lightning.

Another interesting story is about the dollars they have in Ecuador. This started because of complete collapse of the currency and inflation close to 2000. The system of printing money had worked before, but this time they printed to much. In the end the economy was kind of saved by people emigrating to Italy and Spain and sending money back home. The last couple years many of those emigrants have come back to Ecuador.

The last 10 years have been good for Ecuador, and currently the economy and politics are stable. The current party, ruling the last 10 years, although a couple scandals recently revealed, used the revenue from the oil and gas for the education system health care and roads, improving the economy enormously. They changed the constitucion so the government currently is main owner of their natural resources and not the big internationals anymore.

Ecuador started the rebellion against the Spanish. To stop having to wait for governance from Spain they started a local government. An army came from Lima imprisoning the new government for 8months, and then bringing them out to the street and slaughtering them and a large part of the inhabitants of Quito (about 1 10th of the population). Ecuador was later together with Colombia and Venezuela and a part of Peru liberated from Spain by Bolivar, and together these countries formed Greater Colombia. The dream of Bolivar was to have one super power of the old Spanish colonies, but the countries quickly fall apart. However, they still have the same colors in their flag and Colombia still has the original name and flag.

Over the last century Ecuador had had almost as many presidents as years (including president loco, football player and singer), but as I said before now is stable.

Another street, with at night traditional dancing and a lot of handicraft, is la rotondo. There are 2 stories for the origin of this street. \the first one that guys used to go here to play an instrument and win the hart of one of the girls living in these houses. People used to start going to this street to see the serenades. The second, and more likely story, is that this used to be the edge of the city and soldiers used to patrol here.

In the evening I went together with one of the French to the hostel from where we had the tour and had my first beer in over 2 months.

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Volcano Cotopaxi 5900m

2018/05/02-2018/05/03

I packed my tent and all the gear and warm clothes needed for the summit of Cotopaxi. Then first a bus, a hike to the park entrance and after waiting for a car at the park entrance, I was not allowed to enter without a car, up to the parking lot.

You are not allowed to enter the park without car because of the volcano eruption risk, which is low now, it doesn’t really make sense because once in the park they recommend all different hikes.

Continue reading “Volcano Cotopaxi 5900m”

Latacunga – Ilinizaz Norte 5100m

Following the advice from one of the guys from the hostel I left early by bus direction Guipi. From here I started walking towards the Ilinizas volcanos all the while trying to get a ride to the parkinglot.

After a couple kilometers, it was not very busy on the road and only 4 or 5 cars had past, I got a ride with the guys that work at the park entrance. I had to register with them and paid for another ride to the parking lot (the guy that brought me to the parking side I would meet the next day again). From the parking there was a clear trail going up.

First up to the refuge, where I met a couple guys that had stayed the night and a couple, they all planned to go to the same top. There was hot water and I had some cholocate milk before continuing.

Just in front direction of Ilizas Norte was a fox, or as they here say a wolf (lobos). I continued towards the peak and again met a couple other guys that were going there too. We walked together up in the snow till they had to give up because they were wearing trail running shoes. I continued alone.

The path was not very clear but in general it was fine going up, you needed to use hands a little, and I had forgotten my gloves, so I tried to do this as little as possible.

On the top the view was great, mainly towards Ilinzas Sud. This peak looks way more difficult. And down between the two peaks a lake.

I met another group on the peak and had lunch with them, humitas, a kind of corn pastry. The view on the top got better and better.

I went down the way the other group had gone, way easier and quicker, sliding in the sand downwards. I took a higher path and later just strait through the bushes following dried up creeks towards the parking lot.

Walking down again taking some short cuts from the road a I managed to get a ride to the road and a bus back to latacunga.

Baños

Cycling and waterfalls

2018/04/25

Together with two girls I went cycling. The road mostly went down though the valley following a river. We made a stop at an orchid farm. From time to time there were big waterfalls, the devil’s caldron, and many others.

At the last waterfall we walked down and went for a swim. I first tried to get as close as possible to the big waterfall, but the force was too big and the water to deep. Afterwards we all went to the small waterfall, here you could stand under the waterfall and go behind the waterfall.

At one of the waterfalls I finally saw the bird with a weird red bump on his head, from Bolivia onwards I saw many paintings of this bird, but finally today I saw it.

Swimming and seeing the town

2018/04/26

Replying some mails, uploading pictures and checking where to go next.

Afterwards I went to one of the many thermal springs in Baños, I chose one with a 25m pool so I could go for a good swim training. I stayed at the hot springs for about 4hours, switching between pool, yacuzi and steam room, in total I did swim 5km, but especially at the start it took me a lot more effort.

to Latacunga

2018/04/27

I arrived around 13:00 after the bus and hitchhiking to the town. I dropped my stuff and went for a look at the town. The city has a lot of churches, and the city center all though not as beautiful as Cuenca still very beautiful.

In the evening I cooked together with some other people and changed m plans of a day hike in a 3 day trek with them.

We bought some stuff for on the way, nothing for breakfast or dinner because that would be included in the hostel prices on the way.

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