Sunday, October 9, 2011

Journey to Ecuador: Day 6

Up at first light where we get our first good bird of the day, a Turquoise Jay, same shape as our jaybirds at home, but with deep blue feathers and black markings on the head. Someone spotted a Toucan waaay up in a tree, but no photos were made.

Okay, so we didn’t leave sharply at 8, more like 8:45. This after a breakfast of more granola mix and yogurt but this time with two fried eggs on the side.

It was a long ride back through Quito where we gassed up. During the bathroom break we couldn’t help but notice a uniformed man patrolling the pumps with an ammo belt across his chest and carrying a chrome plated shotgun. I think it’s safe to say that gas thievery at that particular station is rare.

Then east over the Continental Divide, ele. 12, 400 ft. and on to the next lodge, Guango. It took us nearly three hours in our not so plush van. Did I mention the driving here is terrifying? Our driver Carlos is quite skilled (or crazy) and misses collisions by mere inches. Passing on curves is common as most of the roads are a continuous series of s-turns. Cars cut in and out of lanes at will when clipping of bumpers seems inevitable. But nobody honks, close driving is a way of life here. However, Carlos had my heart in my throat today when he passed on yet another blind curve and met an oncoming truck. Hard breaks and a quick jerk of the wheel got us back in our lane with only seconds to spare. I tried my best so communicate  to Carlos how I felt, something like “Carlos, you’ re scaring the crap out of me.” Carlos shook his head to acknowledge his mistake.

Don’t know the temperature here, but it’s very chilly. A pullover hoodie felt good. Our room is clean but as usual, no heat or air. Colin and I have some concern about how cold it will get tonight. Best of all, there is no sign saying not to put the toilet paper in the toilet. (the rule was in effect, I just didn't know it) We have two towels apiece and an actual washcloth, a first. Hot water availability is unknown at the time of this writing.

Tom tells us the only birds we are likely to see here are more hummingbirds. I may have seen enough hummers to last me a lifetime. Some are incredibly fearless. When one tiny blue green hummer began feeding at a spot less than an arm’s length away, I decided to test his tolerance and slowly moved my hand toward it. Believe it or not, the bird actually let me pet him on the tail.

Dinner tonight was chicken stuffed with mushroom and spinach. Cucumber soup, rice, with a lettuce leaf and tomato slice. Desert was crepe with pears inside. Preceeding that, the waitress brought each of us a glass of hot drink, some kind of fruit juice with a spicy cinnamon taste. Ummm.

At the end of the day it’s raining again, a downpour. What adventure will tomorrow bring? Washed out roads perhaps?

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