from the real life: How does two Danes manages, on the other side of the world, without
language skills, without a guide, only equipped with plenty of adventure
hormones and two kilograms of baggage, ?
During the empty custom, show the passport and the handed-out visa form. We are just not allowed to pass. We are laboriously explained in a correct and easily understood Spanish (or is it Portuguese?) That we have the wrong visa form. For crying out loud! Then, the fly-guy have given us the wrong form, when it was distributed out to us, and those who would continue the flight to Peru. We ask if we can not just get a new one, so we can get out to Quito, and find a hotel. "Quito? - You are in Lima / Peru!"
I would not rule out that we look a little bemused, in 1 ½ seconds which elapse, before we rush back to the transit hall. No hurry, the plane is only about 5-6 hours. When we left Bogota, we were told we flew to Quito, first, and then to Lima. Then it just started to get windy in Quito, and then we flew just a few hours to Lima. We can not fly back now; the airport in Quito closes at 24.00. There will be arranged for a small sandwich and Peruvian coffee. It is not recommended!
We spend a very long night in Lima, talking with an English telephone installer
who left his wife and two children at home, while he sees South America.
We did actually plan to arrive at 22, go in to a hotel to sleep and then today: Out and see Mitda del Maodo. Apart from the hotel and sleep, is went quite as planned. From the airport, cross the street and into a bus running directly to the place where someone for the first time realised where the equator was (and is). A large monument and a red line. A lot of local people, but not a single foreign.
Outside we are negotiating with a bunch of taxi driver, getting a good price on the trip out to Cochasqui, which is today’s second sight. 90 U.S. $ will eventually, after much discussion end at 30$, and we are running with an old tattered car. The driver has been little misinformed of his colleagues, who, big-smiling, watching us drive off.
We learn why, after 1 hour. There is a sign pointing to Cochasqui, and we rattles 15 meters on the main cobblestone-sized sealing. The driver stops and says "Si?" We say "No!, Pyramides". It turns out that he does not recognize what a pyramid is (not in Spanish either). Every time we have run 500 meters, passing a corner, or survive a big hole, with subsequent complaint sounds of car and driver, or watch one of the great views, he says "Si !!!!?" We say "No!"
We will see the 15 major
pyramids. Finally after about 10 kilometre, they pops up. We are thrilled to
leave the steamy car and driver. These large manmade soil piles for up to 500
years ago, worn sun temple and the like. As we round a corner, we find out they
are now more for llamas than humans. The llamas grazes peacefully, and turns out to be
walk 10 meters across the sidewalk and ask a little lady "Quito
Centro?". She just says "Si," and jump into the bus that appears in
the same moment. We do the same, and beware; we go straight the centre, and it costs only 1
15. A good night's sleep, a real cold bath, and we are fleeing. Discover 20 meters from hostel that I have left my Scottish cap and my sunglasses, later Jesper discover his shampoo is gone. But go back voluntarily, we do not! Find one morning restaurant where we get buns with cheese and Nescafe. Had really expected a great and good coffee, but it turns out not to hold any thought. The scones are good and we buy more of a bread shop on the way to the Avianca office.
Jesper spend a long time, and especially his excellent English skills on the bimbo at the front disk. It ends with, we can wait 2 extra days to fly home (there was no vacancy, when I tried to book from home). We must just pay U.S. $ 100 each for the amendment. Then my impatience explodes. They changed our itinerary and we got more than a lousy night in Peru. My language skills are perhaps not so good, but I can speak loudly, and I know some of the words you do not press in English! I end my monologue by asking her boss.
She sits behind, in her office. We go, waiting neatly on her to completed her phone call, and I politely explained our errand. After some parliamentary back and forth, is it all in place, she just need SAS’s acceptance of the change from Frankfurt to Paris, who is take-over airport. The nice lady considers; it would not be a problem. I have a feeling that my little speech at the front desk has done its part; she could not avoid hearing it.
We take a taxi out to a highway, where the bus to Amaguaña is said to stop. It
comes within 2 minutes, and we are going to Pasochoa National Park, a small NGO,
located in the oval crater of the extinct volcano of the same name.
We reach the entrance, pay, park our backpacks, get a map and go out into the breathtaking scenery. The temperate rain forest with lots of orchids and epiphytes. Some hummingbird are seen by the many blooming shrubs and trees. We make a tour of all the routes. Part of the time, we walk along an aqueduct. It is only open in a few places, most are a 1 meter high tunnel, with a half meter openings for every 5-10 meters. It is certainly made of an ancient culture of people, but is still maintained.
Good tired, but with some fantastic panoramas in our memory, and camera, we
return to the office for the backpacks. There is a local outside with his pick-up,
and he agrees to drive us down the road, in the back of his truck.
Arrive at dusk to Latacunga, leave backpack at a nice hotel and go out into the
vibrant city. None of the stores here seem to be built in this century. The
products are a mix between now and past.
After 1 ½ hours, we reaches
Zumbahua, a small town, but we manage to get coffee
and contract with a local, who transport us out to the blue crater lake Quilotoa.
We are on the back of his pick-up in a half hour, passing the one view after
another. In some places, white lava-sediment are swept across bottomless
According to the guide book, there would be a restaurant serving guinea pigs near the crater edge. We are looking for it a bit, and end in one of the 10-15 huts in the area. Indeed, the little dear creatures are hopping around under the masonry stove. There is a tot grass and they can hide in the wood beside it. Unfortunately cooking takes 3 hours, and there is nothing else to do in the rather cold and wind swept area.
We crawl along with the driver in the cab, and start the bone braking trip down to Zumbogua. Suddenly, the sound of a loud explosion, and we stopped. The last layer of canvas in tire is worn through. While we find it equally worn-out spare tire, the driver blocks the car up, borrow a spade from the near-living peasant and dig a hole under the wheel. At home we usually lift the car, not decrease soil. Well, it does the trick, and we continue. 20 meters from the bus stop, a familiar loud sound and we will continue on its rim.
The bus is only supposed to pass in about 1 ½ hours, so after a quick cup of coffee, we walks towards it. The terrain is wild and rough. It lends itself almost exclusively to sheep and llama teams, but here and there, there is still found room for a small fields. Almost all fields are harvested, but they bear traces of corn and beans. All work are carried out by hand, by the small people who are shy, but waves smiling at us. Most will easily stand under my outstretched arm. The truck-bus passes us on the way up, but we keep walking, counting on the return drive. Nevertheless, after 2 hours stamping, I say: "Now my feats wants’ a bus," and in the same, it pop up behind a fold in the mountain.
The road goes back over the 4000 meter high passes. We can see up to 100 kilometres in each direction in the clear mountain air. Soft hills with small fields, deep gorges with rushing rivers and rugged, barren basalt mountains. The 3 hours of fascinating transport costs 2$.
It is dark when we arrive in Ambato, so we will go directly to the selected hotel. Then out of the city, where almost only eating places are open. We get something to eat, and walks around in the less enlightened and almost empty streets and alleys. Unlike Latacunge, these people go home early, and so go we. The legs actually need to rest a little anyway.
The diary continues with more adventures in Diary 2