Few were the words sent out from us during the last weeks. We were busy traveling along Venezuelas, Colombias, and Ecuadors roads. We arrived to Ecuador 1,5 weeks ago, and headed straight to Cuenca, as we decided to spend our work period over there.
Actually, we arrived a bit earlier than expected to Ecuador. Leaving Bogota we wanted to visit San Agustin, an archeological parque in the Huila province of Colombia. Getting to the road towards Neiva took us a long time. Finally, we met Alexander and Carlos, two young men on the way to Giradot. Instead of leaving us on the crossroad to Espinal (South of Giradot), they brought us right there, even inviting us for lunch. Carlos said, “We only do this if you assure us to appear in your website!” Ok, no problem. And here they are:
We managed to come until a military controlled tollgate a couple of kilometers before Neiva. We spent the night there, as we were told that Neiva is full of guerillas. The next morning we spent 5 hours waiting for a ride further than Neiva. We did not succeed, and thus – out of a feeling – decided to head straight towards Ecuador.
Different, interesting rides awaited us. There was Francisco, a distributer of salty industrial cheese for bakeries, with whom we spent two days. We saw him fully clothed bathing in a dirty river, spent a night with him in a motel, watched him delivering cheese, and stayed one night with his family (his mom, 5 dogs, 8 cats, 4 ducks, 10 chicken, and two pigs) in Pradera, near Cali. There were following rides with an Internet provider, who made a short sightseeing tour with us through beautiful Popayan; a dentist, who belongs to the anonymous alcoholics (dry for five years), on the way to El Bordo to establish a health project for poor people; and Rene, an American-Ecuadorian, who lives for 2 years in Colombia, and is owner of an Internetcafe and telephone cabins. Rene was the craziest of all drivers, speeding in the height of 2000 meters along mountainous, extremely curvy roads with a minimum speed of 60km/h. I prayed during this ride, and we finally reached the Ecuadorian border.
Hitch-hiking in Colombia was a real pleasure. We did not have to wait long, and received often too much from our drivers. We felt in heaven. In Ecuador hitch-hiking turned out to be even easier and faster.
Although already pitch-dark, we managed to get a ride to Ibarra, 100km South of the border, and spent our first night in Ecuador in a seminar hall of the Central Police Department of the Ibabura region. The next ride was directly to Quito, given by Susanna, an Ecuadorian woman, who spent 8 years of her life in Germany. From Quito our way seemed hopelessly blocked, as a train
accident happened in Tambillo. Luck was again on our side, and in all the chaos we found two men, who found interesting ways of crossing Tambillo anyway. Two Adventist church fathers brought us to Ambato, followed by a young guy with a huge, triangled loudspeaker on top of his car, leaving us near Riobamba. While cars stopped so fast that we even forgot to breathe, we had a bit of a hazzle getting on the road towards Cuenca. Already late, we got a ride for 30km on the back of a small truck. The road to Cuenca seemed abondoned, no traffic at all. The only thing we saw back in the horizon was a tourist bus. “A wonder must happen that we reach Cuenca today”, were my words. The wonder happened. We stopped while riding our little truck the tourist bus, which must have had an accident before. The front of the truck was terribly destroyed, but still, the bus was going. We could not believe our luck, but at 10:30pm in the night we reached Cuenca!
Here in Cuenca we plan to “settle down” for 3 months, as Augustas needs to work on a commercial Internet project. After a long and intensive week of searching for an apartment, we finally found a cosy and affordable one. So, everybody passing by is welcome to visit us in our small place!
Katja & Augustas