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Devil's Nose? I think not.

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 29 May 2007 | Views [458] | Comments [2]

Whew! That was an interesting couple of days! So I left on May 26th (after a night of drinking and exploring with the Swedish girls) for Riobamba, only to realize when I got off the bus...I don't know where I'm going. So of course, immediately I located the only other white girl who'd gotten off my bus, and, in the desperate voice I've now perfected, asked "Do you speak English?"

Along with French, Spanish, Swiss-German and regular German, yes, she did. And conveniently, she was headed to the station to get her train ticket for the next morning as well! So her, her two "sisters" and I hopped into a cab and arrived at the train station, only to be told that they had sold out. We pondered for a while, wondering what we could do, and were offered an alternative; catch a bus to Alausi, a small town where we could get tickets and get on the bus a few hours into the trip. Without much hesitation, we were on the 2-hour bus journey.

We found a hostal that smelled like old couch but was nevertheless acceptably clean and only $5 per person, and even had a TV! So spoiled sometimes. As it turns out, she has been living, for the past 4 weeks, in a little house with the two girls and their mother in a small, indigenous town in Ecuador. She was visiting the town, invited to stay, and did so! All by herself, and she's only 20! Apparently gringos NEVER come to this town, so she gets loads of attention from the locals (though at first it was intimidating, now they're very curious and friendly towards her), and she's volunteering in the maternity ward at the hospital there. Wow.

The next morning we awoke at 8:30, much later than we had hoped. After a splash of cold water we rushed to the train station, and thankfully managed to get tickets. The train had real issues at the start, because as we later learned, the man behind the counter had sold- get this- 70, instead of the usual 30 tickets. Oh many people were pissed; who wants to stand in a train! I don't know how it happened but we managed to get seats and off we were! Once it had left the station we all learned that three months ago they changed the law after a Japanese tourist had gotten hurt, so we weren't allowed to ride on the roof! For those who don't know, the Devil's Nose train ride is famous specifically for the roof riding. However there was no media about that, and none of the travel websites have decided to put that interesting tidbit up. The ride was pretty, and we stopped for pictures of the mountains and such, but it really was nothing spectacular, although it definitely would have been had we seen everything from the roof of a moving train. Oh well. You've got to enjoy it anyway, right?

As we started back to the station, we encountered yet another obstacle (of course!). Another train had gone off the tracks a bit right in our path, meaning we were to wait hours for another train to pick us up and for them to somehow get the other one back on the tracks. So we walked. Over an hour along the traintracks in the blistering sun. Now THIS was a great view! Mountains, valleys, rivers, aloe vera plants as tall as me, and at one point a cow came out of no where and started walking next to us so we had some company.

By the time we got back, I was JUST in time to catch the bus to my next destination, Cuenca. The girls were going back home so we said goodbye and exchanged emails, shared a hug and parted ways. Now this bus was almost entirely backpackers, which was a nice change of pace for buses, and when we got to the bus stop in Cuenca I ended up somehow hooking up with this German couple, which was perfect as it was very dark out now. We took a while looking through the guidebook for hostels, then caught a cab to what was supposed to be a beautiful hostel. Well I'm not sure if it was, because we didn't end up even going in...it happened to be in the middle of a completely empty street. Not another person or vehicle in sight, all the stores closed. Wow. Creepy.

We wandered all over the place through these empty streets for about 20 minutes, totally confused and a little freaked out. This is supposed to be Ecuador's third largest city!

Thankfully, we found one that had been listed in the guidebook; El Cafecito. It is BEAUTIFUL! We got a 3-bed room for I believe $26 a night total (so like $8.50 each?), high ceilings, private bathroom, hot shower, and a fabulous and very busy restaurant right in the building. Due to the lack of tables, we pulled up a seat at someone else's (with their permission, of course) and ended up chatting from 8 until midnight. It was an Ecuadorian guy with his Colombian friend, she didn't speak English but he did and he would translate all night. Actually, around ten we were joined by a group of 4 or 5 other Ecuadorian guys, and they might be coming by at nine tonight to hang out some more- very friendly, very funny.

But that's enough now, I need to make a phone call and go explore Cuenca. Hasta pronto!

Tags: adventures



wow kirsten, it sounds like you're having an amazing time! :) wish i was there with ya.. things are pretty hectic back in CANADA.
well.. for me anyways. :P

your adventures are so much fun to read, i check your blog a lot. :) seems like you're meeting a whole lot of awesome people!

  maddy May 29, 2007 2:12 PM


I love reading about your adventures! Keep safe and have a great time. Love, Joe

  Joe May 30, 2007 1:58 PM

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