11.06.2013 - 19.06.2013
Not many pictures for this section as we were both ill and just trying to recoup. Also computer died at this point so stopped us updating and blogging as much as we wanted........
Day 100 Tuesday 11.6.13- Day 103 Friday 14.6.13
So we are up early for our rafting. It seemed like a good idea when we arrived last night. The weather is not that hot so not sure what it will be like. There are 3 others, Tyler and Cassidy from Toronto and Suzan from Quebec. Canadian front! We drive about an hour out of Banos, amazing scenery, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. We didn’t see last night when we arrived as it was dark.
We arrive by the side of the river there is nothing there. We wait another 10 mins for a guy to turn up with the raft and all the equipment. We change into our wet suits and get kitted up. Learning the basic moves and commands.
We apprehensively assume our positions in the boat. Laurence is at the front with Tyler, I am behind him next to Suzan and Cassidy and the guide are at the back. The water is freezing. Our guide takes pictures as we frantically paddle at his every word. The river is moving really fast and we are meant to be 2 hours, however it is going to take about 45 mins due to the speed. There are some points were we nearly tip over, I am determined not to go in. We go over a huge wave and Laurence at the front falls in, he grabs Tyler’s paddle and takes that with him. The first thing our guide told us was don’t drop your paddle that will be rescued first. So we all scrabble to get the paddle and then pull Laurence back in once all paddles are safe. He has survived the ordeal, but now I am even more determined not to go in! After a few close calls and our guide trying his best to tip the boat we see the van that brought us. We head into shore. We then go for a nice lunch- typical meat, rice, veg. Then head back to town. The drive is about twice as long as the way there, we must have gone a long way down that river! (We have a CD of pictures the guide took, never seen, but am sure they will be very funny)
Ecuador are Playing Argentina at 4pm so we arrange to meet Tyler, Cassidy and Suzan for drinks to watch the football. We find somewhere to watch it, it is a good match but ends up 1-1. Ecuador deserved to win. We then go to get some food and go to a microbrewery that brews its own beers. Nice :-)
We head back to the hostel It is only 8pm so go up stairs to the communal area to do some e-mailing. We decided to do another Dragoman trip as we had such a good time on the first one and Katie has sorted us out a discount- Happy dayz. We book Lima to La Paz. At least we now have a vague plan, need to be in Lima for 30th June, better get moving!
In the communal area there is a crazy Justin Beiber fan, who is trying to convince the rest of the hostel how talented he is!!! I can’t work out if he is being serious or not, but we keep quiet and just hear his crazy theories, he even has a tattoo of 'I am a beiber' - weird!
Day 101- Wednesday 12.6.13
We have our first lie in in ages, it is much needed, we are having a chill day today. Part of us feels we should be doing an activity as Banos is huge for things to do, but we need a break.
We decide to stay another night in Banos, so book that with the hostel and then head out to the supermarket and pharmacy to stock up and wander round Banos town.
We Skype my mum, which is great on the new computer. It is good to see her and chat.
We then have a lazy afternoon and chill out in the communal area. Loll meets a guy called Jake, from San Francisco who invites him to play chess.
We then head out to dinner.
Day 102- Thursday 13.6.13
Loll has woken up not feeling very well today, so we have another lazy day. I have been catching up on the blog and trying to sort out Riobamba which is where we are going to tomorrow, but cannot find any availability- not sure what we are going to do!?!
All of Colombia is nearly ready for positing so it has been productive but I am a bit blogged out now- and it is still not up to date (updating photos takes ages).
As we are using the Wifi in communal areas Jake appears and we have a nice evening chatting with him and a guy Andy who is from the UK.
A nice chilled evening.
Day 103- Friday 14.6.13
Half way :-( can't believe it!
We still have no accommodation booked for tonight. Only one company has e-mailed back so unsure of our plans. We have chosen this hotel near the train station as we want to get the train, but have heard nothing from them. We ask reception if they can call them but they tell us they don't do reservations and you just turn up! Well after 3 months this doesn't seem as scary as previously. Before we always said we would have the next place booked before we arrive! Oh well lets see.
So we head to the bus station with Jake who is going to Quito. We find our bus to Riobamba, luckily only about 15 min wait. We have a 2 hour bus and find the hostel. There is loads of space so get a room no problem.
We chill in Riobamba for the day. Loll is not feeling too great still so find some food and head back to hostel for early night.
Day 104- Saturday 15.6.13
We speak to the lady in the hostel about the train, we have been reading that you can get the train from here to Aulsi and then travel through the Andes on a section of the train. It transpires that the line between Riobamba and Aulsi does not run now. You need to get a bus there and then get the train for about an hour. Oh dear! What to do? Loll is not feeling good today either (spending all day in bed).
We skype Loll's family but unfortunately the computer decides to die half way through, so we do a call from Lolls phone, great to chat. We were uploading photos from the camera to Dropbox over night and it crashed, now it is not working at all!!! Loll is on fix it mission to try and get it running!!! But nothing seems to be working, a lot of blue screens of death :-(
Day 105- Sunday 16.6.13
We have decided to miss the train as Loll is still not brilliant and I have started feeling a bit dodgy today. So we just get a bus all the way to Cuenca. 6 hours nil by mouth. There is a toilet on the bus but everyone seems to prefer to go by the side of the road!
Amazing scenery clouds in the valley.
We see Lots of traditional dress and go through a number of small villages. Great to see. At one bus station we stop at there are baggage handlers trying to get a sheep into the luggage storage under the coach. Not our bus, but crazy, we left before I could see if they were successful or not. The sheep didn't look too happy about it.
Then for the last couple of hours they showed Contraband the film with Marc Walberg. Amazing how much of a film you can understand without knowing much Spanish!
Arrive in Cuenca as it is Sunday it is a struggle to find somewhere to eat. Get some food and head back to hostel. Cuenca has a really nice feel to it. Very quaint, cobbled streets, old colonial buildings, our hostel is in a huge old house. What a charming city.
Day 106- Monday 17.6.13
I have now taken a turn for the worst:-( Loll is feeling better but I feel awful. Have breakfast and sleep. Loll continues with his mission on the computer. A very quite day.
Find dinner and back to hostel.
Day 107- Tuesday 18.6.13
We decide to stay another night in Cuenca as I do not feel up to traveling today. We have to change our room which is OK as the other room is booked, we have a 2 person dorm on bunk beds. We go for a wander round town and lunch, but not up to much. More sleeping and computer fixing! We spend a very frustrating few hours in an internet shop, so we can download windows on to a memory stick (this is the second one we have been in as the first one was quoting about 15 hours to complete due to so slow internet speed), as Loll needs to re-install the operating system, just keeps getting blue screens of death. All just because we were uploading pictures to Dropbox!
It is a real shame we have not felt better in Cuenca, as it seems like a great place. We could have done a few activities close by. But we need to head south to get to Lima so feeling a bit pressured by our schedule.
Day 108- Wednesday 19.6.13
I am still feeling pretty unwell this morning but we decide to continue south. Instead of public bus we get a private bus which our hostel has recommended. An interesting driver, who seems to drive everywhere apart from the right side of the road! We arrive in one piece. But I am feeling distinctly poorly and feel like I am burning up with a temperature.
However, Amazing scenery along the way again.
We find our hostel which is very basic. $6 a night! Bargain! And head to the bus station to buy our tickets across the boarder. We have chosen this crossing as it is meant to be easier than the coastal one, and you can get a bus across which waits for you and takes you all the way to Puira.
We get some food, in a little cafe. One of the nicest sandwiches I have had a change from the toasted cheese, it is a vegetal sandwich cheese, egg lettuce and tomato. It doesn't take much to please. Wander round the town for a while get supplies and dinner and an early night as early start tomorrow.
It has a nice feel to it Loja. Have seen some lovely towns in Ecuador and had a great time here. But ready for Country number 5 tomorrow!