13 April 2010
This week Kristin and I have taken the slow road to Quito. We have meandered through smaller mountains towns sandwiched between cloud forests and coffee farms. The weather has been mostly rainy, but we've still enjoyed it. There are only a handful of travelers in each town and there is no real tourist infrastructure here, which we prefer. We haven't had another gringo on any of our buses and there are only Colombians at our hostel tonight.
Also, tonight is our last night in Colombia. After exactly a month here, we make a run for the Ecuador border tomorrow, hoping to make it all the way to Quito. From there, we'll try to spend as much time in the Andes as we can. Like the next three months.
Our transportation to and from the wax palms and cloud forest. Guess how many people fit in this standard-sized Jeep? Nope, guess again. Higher. No, still higher . . . yes, 17 people!! Easy stuff first - squeeze three people up front and four on the seats in the back. I hung off the back, standing on the bumper, in between a Colombian couple. Another couple sat on the roof above the driver. Along the way we picked up a farmer (on the back) then two fisherman (I moved inside, standing still, but between the legs of the four seated passengers) and then other hitchhikers. Eventually we had the three up front, two on the roof, four sitting and two standing in the back of the Jeep with another six hanging off the side and rear. It was awesome.
The least favorite of the three towns, this one serves only as a stopover between Popayan and Quito. The roads here are super sketchy and the bus drivers like to pass on the windy two-lane mountain roads. Additionally, there are horror stories ruminating in the backpacker world of buses that cross the border into Ecuador at night and then are robbed as all the passengers are gassed to sleep. No thanks. Anyways, there is not much to see here, though I did manage to peek into 4 churches. More importantly, we found another veggie restaurant, which was particularly important because our "hostel" doesn't allow us to use the kitchen. Lame.