Friday, December 26, 2008

The Suicide Simulator

Nothing particularly interesting about this 300 ft. bridge over Bascun Cayon... that is, until you strap yourself to the railing and leap from it. For a nominal fee of $20 you can don a harness and find out what it´s like to hurdle yourself into the gaping crevase below without the messy clean-up...

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Destination, Shmestination.

After four days in Quito, in an unprecedented bout of foresight, I actually made reservations for a hostel at my next destination. Following an awkward phone call to the Spanish speaking hostelier I even got to bed at a reasonable hour and set an alarm to catch the early bus.

I was on my way to the reportedly beautiful town of Baños. I bought the ticket and was informed that my bus was leaving from gate 21 at 9:15. I found gate 21 and the bus parked there with the name Baños in two foot letters on the side.

At 9:10 the conductor began to shout "Baños, Baños, Baños" and I boarded the bus, which, I was impressed to note, actually left at 9:15. Just not, of course, to Baños.

Three hours into the three and a half hour ride to Baños the conductor came to collect my ticket and informed me that I was, in fact, on the "Baños" Bus Lines five and a half hour bus ride to Tena. A town about four hours away from Baños.

Never one to contend with the will of the fates while traveling I paid for my ticket to Tena, got off the bus and took advantage of the towns close proximity to the rainforest to embark the following morning on a jungle trek through the Amazon. Why not?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bienvenidos a Ecuador

Two weeks ago I sat down to find a ticket somewhere-I was thinking South America, maybe Peru. Ecuador was the cheapest and so here I am. Two nights ago I arrived in the city of Quito just south of the equator.

Nestled in the Andes mountains at 9300 ft. even the equator gets a bit chilly at this elevation so I'm not quite laughing yet at all the Norte Americanos that I left behind in the cold, but I'll soon be on the beaches of Canoa for a white sand Christmas and paddling into the waves of reputedly epic length-if I don't get lost in the Amazon rainforest first.

I spent the last two days exploring the sites of the city, highlighted by the majestic Basilica of Old Town, a behemoth vestige of Spanish colonialism. If you had told me yesterday morning that I was going to spend two hours in church I would have laughed, but you don't have to be Catholic to have a religious experience atop the towering spires, and the precarious climb to get there is prayer inspiring.

So begins the latest adventure and, I might add, the least planned yet so stay tuned for the misadventures to come...