On our way to Ecuador, we spent a night in Pasto, a southern Colombian town located two hours from the border, famous for eating Guinea pig. (Thank god they aren’t world famous or else this post would be about eating furry rodents, as per family rule #4.)
The next morning was border crossing day. Ecuador marks our 12th border crossing since Tree and I started our Pan-American adventure in 2010. Together, we’ve been to Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and now Ecuador. We used to get so nervous on border crossing days. We would prepare all of our paperwork the night before, crossing our Ts and dotting our Is. The next morning, we were the first ones at the border, passports in hand, butterflies in stomach, carefully reading the instructions that we used to cling to like they were the only thing standing between us and a dirt nap.
Now, for better or worse, the thrill is gone. Instead, we are left with a boring two hour experience from which I will spare you the details.
Within our first hour in Ecuador, I noticed a few things things:
1) The people are very small (and very nice, but it’s hard to capture that part on film)
2) The trees are missing
According to ecologists, Ecuador has the highest deforestation rate and the worst environmental record in South America.
3) The snow is back! We haven’t seen any since northern California in mid-2010.
4) They have really cool roadside attractions.
Tree doesn’t quite share my love of the tacky and absurd, so I hope at least some of you can fully appreciate The Bienvenidos Black Bishop and Cave Men Fighting Wooly Mammoth in Center Divider for what they really are…genius! Sheer genius!
Our goal was to make it to the Small World Eco-lodge in San Francisco de Borja, but we got stuck in two traffic jams totaling a three hour delay, so we didn’t make it. On the bright side, we ate some interesting street food and took these photos along the way.
We stopped for the night in a hostel outside of Otavalo. I asked for the matrimonial bed, and they gave us a twin size. I’m thinking that this is either because 1) Ecuadorians are relatively small (see photo one) or because 2) they really like to cuddle. I, myself, fit in both of these categories, so I was happy as a clam at highwater.
As for Tree….well, a picture speaks a thousand words. -Stevie