A Travellerspoint blog

Second Week in Ecuador

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it´s Off to School I go!

My second week in Ecuador was pretty routine. Went to Spanish School every morning and explored the city every afternoon. Studying spanish is just like being back in school. Get up early, eat some breakfast at the hostel and walk to school with my backpack. Didn`t imagine I would feel so drained after four hours of school each day, hard work. By the end of the week I felt I was starting to make some progress. My point gets across but everything is out of order in the sentence, I´m sure my spanish sounds like the english version of this sign for Laguna Quilotoa.

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Saturday I took a trip up the Panamerican Highway to Otovalo. Otovalo hosts a huge market everyday but an even bigger one on Saturdays. The whole town is covered with booths selling everything you can image. Chickens, pigs, lambs, etc. (living or dead), bootleg playstation games & DVDS and anything you would want to wear made out of alpaca wool. Quite an interesting sight. I´ve loaded one picture of the market since it started pouring just after I got to Otovalo.

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My school was not in session for Good Friday. Quito has a massive procession to celebrate Good Friday. Tons of people in the parade and watching along the streets of Old Town. Lots of people carrying crosses, wearing a crown of thorns and hands tied up with barbed wire. Some were pretty gruesome. Didn´t take my camera but here is a link to some other photos you can view of the parade if you wish.

http://wdknews.com/archives/16

The clouds lifted on Easter Sunday for a beautiful day. I spent the day exploring the city and doing homework in the afternoon.

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With the addition of a couple of hailstorms and a mild earthquake one night, that about sums up my week.

Cheers,
Tim

Posted by timtheis 14:14 Comments (0)

Electric Shower Head

Electricity + Water, not a good mix...

So I saw my first electric shower in South America.

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The theory is that as the water passes through the shower head an electric current heats the water up. You let the water trickle through the head so that it has time to heat up before it hits your skin. The wires running into the head have no insulation, just bare wires.

The wires run across the room to a switch on the wall that looks like this.....

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Yup, a mini frankenstein switch.

I decided to forego a shower and just smell for the day. My fear was well founded. I talked with a fellow traveler several days later, Bryan from Portland. He used one in the past and received a shock through the top of his head. Talk about a rude way to wake up.

Ah, the road goes on forever and the party never ends in South America.....

Posted by timtheis 16:22 Comments (1)

First Week in Ecuador

One week down only 25 left!!

My first week in Ecuador was full of adventure. Got settled into Quito and then Thursday am took a two hour bus ride down to Latacunga. I met my amigos Jason and Joanna. We all jumped on another bus to Chugchilan, supposed to be a 3.5 hour bus ride that was closer to 5 hours. Quite an hair raising adventure, which will be a seperate blog posting when I get those photos.

Chugchilan is in an area known as the Quilotoa Loop which is part of a cloud forest. It is very high (12,000 ft) , very remote, very wet and very hard to access. Here is a photo from the porch of the hostel we were staying at in Chugchilan. The whole city is captured in this photo. TJT_0156.jpg

The next day we hiked from Laguna Quilotoa back to Chugchilan. A lake formed in a volcano cone and the water became very, very green because of the minerals.
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Me on the crater rim.

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It was a five hour hike with tons of vertical up and down back to Chugchilan. Along the way we passed dozens of people working in their fields and tending their crops, sheep, llamas and cows. We often heard Andean flute music drifting from the fields from shepards taking a break. It was really quite surreal. Crops are planted on the most extreme vertical slopes you could image. The fields create a cool mosiac of color and textures. The Andean farmers use the network of crisscrossing paths to haul their produce back and forth to the towns and local markets. You can see some of the houses and trails in this photo.

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Luckily every time we seemed lost on the trail a local boy or girl would appear that would point us in the right direction. Very serendipitous.

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On the way back to Quito we stayed in Latacunga for the night. Here is a night scene of a historic church on the main town square. They do an amazing job of lighting the church up in pretty colors but a poor job of painting over the graffiti.

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I´m now back in Quito and enrolled in my Spanish school for the next couple of weeks!!

Aidos,
Tim

Posted by timtheis 07:34 Comments (2)

Arrival in Quito

Off to Latacunga and Laguna Quilotoa

Hola from Quito, Ecuador.

I made it safely Monday, actually muy early Tuesday morning. Spent the first couple of days getting settled in a hostel and exploring the city. Old Town Quito is very historic (as if he name didn´t give that away). It has tons of churchs and museums to discover. I´m sure to be spending lots of time in that part of the city. There was a big rally in one of the plazas with tons of native people from the Andes. From what I could understand it was celebration of their culture and expression of wanting more civil rights. It was pretty easy to pick me out of the crowd as a gringo. I was the only person not wearing a colorful, wool poncho and was about a foot taller than everyone at the rally. I guess that is why there are no Ecuadorians in the NBA. Makes me feel like a giant :)

Also been checking out some of the Spanish language schools to enroll for next week to improve my language skills.

Heading down to Latacunga tomorrow in the early am to do some hiking with my friends Jason and Joanna. We will be doing the Quilotoa Loop for the next several day. Some parts hiking, some parts by bus or hitching a ride with a local truck. Laguna Quilotoa is the highlight of this trip. It is a high alpine lake in the Andes that is very scenic. Looking forward to it.

Sorry no pictures to post as of yet. Hopefully early next week when I arrive back to Quito.

Adios amigos!!

Posted by timtheis 10:12 Comments (0)

Last Week in the USA

Ups, Downs & Goodbyes

Tomorrow is the day I leave the USA. It has been an exciting last week with plenty of ups and downs. I was able to spend some time with all of my great friends enjoying each others company and saying goodbye. I also started making a mental note of all the things that I would not be doing for the next six months. For instance, Friday was the last time I would have to pump and buy gas, kinda cool, especially with the cost of gas. Also noteworthy were the last time crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, running in the Marin Headlands and eating at In 'n Out Burgers, yummy.

On the down side, I did have a bit of unfortunate luck this past week. My SUV containing all my travel stuff was broken into in San Francisco. Funny that I lived in SF for almost seven years without anything like that happening and less than a week after I move out of my apartment someone breaks into my SUV. My camera & lens that was going to South America was taken along with a backpack and a briefcase. It could have been much, much worse. The silver lining was that the following day I received a call from someone at PG&E. Evidently when the thieves discovered my backpack was filled with travel books and my briefcase was filled with sheet music & journals, they threw them both into the back of a PG&E service truck. The good samaritan found some of my photography business cards and called me. Good karma for him! The camera of course was not found. My wallet is a bit lighter but, I am now the owner of a brand, spankin', new Nikon camera.

I also have a new friend that will be traveling with me for a few months, Flat Stanley. My niece Maddie is in the second grade and her class recently read about Flat Stanley in a book. Maddie mailed a Stanley to me that she had colored for my trip. I'll be emailing pictures back to her class of the fun places we visit together. So here are a couple pictures of myself with my new friend Flat Stanley in San Francisco.

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Yes that is really me with the buzz cut and my travel pack. If it doesn't fit into the backpack it doesn't come along.

Next stop Quito, Ecuador!

Posted by timtheis 20:52 Comments (0)

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