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Old 01-04-2014, 09:05 PM   #196
V@lentino OP
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Bluhduh Border nightmare




So a lot is always said about border crossings, the forms, the copies, the stamps, the checks, the signatures, etc, etc, etc... Overall except for entering Costa Rica from Nicaragua, the process is generally the same, first immigration for you (passport, and sometimes an entry form), and then customs for the bike (copy(ies) of passport/title-registration/driver's license). For all our Central American crossing, the process has been generally seamless, apart from the aforementioned, with about 10-20 ms to exit and 45-60 ms to enter.

For some reason after researching, reading, listening we fell under the impression that the South American crossing would be "easier" than their CA counterpart.

Not so from our experience. The process and documents required have been the same as above, but the system or lack-thereof for processing has been dismal.

Coming in from Panama by sea into Colombia took at least 6 hours, and we had the "help" of a fixer-friend of the Stahlratte.

Exiting Colombia was pretty straightforward with two relatively quick steps for exiting the persons and the bike. Minor delays were encountered due to a fairly busy return from holiday vacations, and that's just normal.

Entering Ecuador at Ipiales/Tulcan immigration was busy, and we easily had 200+ people ahead of us, but the custom officers were quick and efficient, there were 9 booths open, and it took about half-hour.

The line for immigration




Despite the wait, we enjoyed talking to many curious people about our trip, this family was really nice




The aduana for the bike, we later found out is handled by the police and not the interior ministry, was a disaster. We had maybe 30-40 people ahead of us, with only 1 "cajita" open and an average of 15-20 ms per vehicle entry. It took 5 hours, with the officer coming out to take pics of VIN and plate for each entry with what looked like his personal cell phone. I can only begin to imagine his frustration at the lack of equipment an system he had to deal with in order to process all the people. After about 2 hours, many started to cut the line, and a mild disturbance ensued with people yelling and pushing. Finally another officer came, and distributed 20 numbered tickets, and one by one she would come for the ticket holders, and lead them to an adjacent building to get processed.

The Aduana line




Jackie the ever patient and smiling fixer


When it was finally our turn, the line had more than tripled and there were easily 100 persons behind us.

What a mess...

These guys did not seem to mind the wait




Another shot of the super loaded hack from Québec, I think it was a a DRZ 650 at one point in time, they had so much stuff.



The ride from the border to Quito was however well worth the wait, we did ride the last 90 km after dark but the E35 was perfectly paved, and the light and signage where as good if not better than what we are familiar with in Canada, so riding that last hour in the dark was no big deal.

Next post will be all pics, and I will take you from the border towards Quito...
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:20 PM   #197
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Talking The road to Quito

The weather app on the Iphone said Quito min 8C max 19C and raining.

As soon as we crossed into Ecuador, the sky turned grey and ominous










It then started to clear up, just slightly at first










Some blue patches started to dot the sky







Then it got nice, reeel nice












Just amazing







Ok a few more, imagine you're there







As the shadow got longer, nothing but blue sky



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Old 01-04-2014, 11:14 PM   #198
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Thumb Quaint Quito




We have loosely not been adhering to our $100.00 a day all-inclusive budget, but quaint Quito sure helps set you in the right direction

We woke up in our $32.00 a night hostel and had complimentary breakfast. We took the bus for $0.5, had freshly pressed juices for $2.00.




We then walked to the historical center. I stopped at a barbershop and received a hot-towel straight razor shave and haircut for $6.00, we then paid $2.00 to enter and visit the Metropolitan Cathedral. Had lunch including soup, main course, salad, fresh passion fruit juice, and desert for $4.00 for both of us.








We walked all afternoon in the old city and stopped for 2 cappuccinos and shared a piece of chocolate cake for $5.70.



We made it half way back to the hostel then took a cab for $2.00.












Later tonight we went out for dinner at a nice vegetarian restaurant, and had soup and main course with a beer for $13.65. At the hostel we picked a couple of ice cream bars for desert for $1.50.










Total for the day $69.35; we could still have filled the tank at about $2.00 per gal and managed to come under budget.

I have not made any research on the topic, but I think Ecuadoran society is managing to keep things that are among your basic necessities such as water, food, and public transportation (incl. gas) at a cost that makes it accessible to all. We only paid $0.65 for a 2.5 lt of bottled water about 5 times less than in Canada. The bus is about 8 to 10 times cheaper than Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. I do not remember when was the last time I paid less $2.00 for something hot to eat in Canada, never mind a full meal with chicken rice and veggies. Gas is about 4 times cheaper than back home. Most items that could be dubbed non-essential such as big screen tv, PS3 are about the same price or slightly higher than in Canada, about 15%-25% more than in the US.







Ecuador produces about 500,000 b/d as opposed to Canada, which produces 1,780,000 b/d. We have double the population for a GDP of $52,219 per capita, and about 10 times less at $5,425 for Ecuador. Both countries have universal health care. Ecuador external debt is about $17.71 billions roughly $1000.00 per capita. In Canada we owe $1.326 trillion, about $40,000 per capita.



I am not particularly good with numbers, and I personally believe that what we call the economy or economics in general is a completely dubious system managed by oligarchies, transnational corporations, and banks whose activities are further facilitated by institutions such as the IMF, the World bank, and WTO simply aiming to establish tariffs, control resource production, and trade in order to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.




Of course my simplistic, if leftist perception of the world still does not explain why things are the way they are when you compare countries such as Canada and Ecuador.




It’s just an interesting mental exercise. At the very least it gets you thinking about stuff

This executive summary on the social impact of basic social subsidies brings a few more interesting notions and further numbers on this topic.

A few more pics of this great Capital






















Later I'll post about the Metropolitan Cathedral
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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 01-05-2014, 06:21 AM   #199
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Talking The Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito









At the northern entrance of the old city, seating between Calle Venezuela and Avenida Guayaquil, on the corner of Espejo the Metropolitan Cathedral offers a splendid view of the city scape, with old Unesco World Cultural Heritage site to the South and the most recent agglomeration to the north.



It took 245 years to complete the construction of the Gothic church and it is heavily modeled on Notre-Dame de Paris.
















What we found so unique about it was having the ability to visit both the vault, and climb to the very top of the building.

About half way there





Very steep stairs take you at vertiginous heights where you can enjoy a full panoramic view of the city.





To the East





And West





The vault




Just keep heading for the light




The twin towers






Simply magical




Today we ride for Cuenca with a stop in Riobamba...
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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 01-06-2014, 05:03 PM   #200
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That was one great update.
Thanks for all the photos.
I'm glad your bike problems have been resolved and you met great people in the process.
Keep having fun.
Buen viaje!
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:50 PM   #201
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Thumb Nice old town Quito

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS in Vzla. View Post
That was one great update.
Thanks for all the photos.
I'm glad your bike problems have been resolved and you met great people in the process.
Keep having fun.
Buen viaje!

Thanks for following along SS...

The view of Quito from the cathedral was really amazing, we were also glad there were almost no other tourists.

Yes the bike is running great, and Angela sure loves the cheap gas of Ecuador at $2.019 a Gal for the Super.

We rode into Cuenca today under heavy fog and intermittent rain; update coming up...
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The Southern Episode
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:24 PM   #202
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Cool2 Central Ecuador



Yesterday we rode through the altiplanos and deep valleys of Ecuador, central Ecuador I suppose. If it wasn't for the strange fauna and the short ladies with the funny hats, it could have been Ireland, Scotland maybe.



Overcast, with rare patches of blue, but mostly green, all infinite hues and shades of it, grey here and there, some browns, greens, mainly greens, dewy feeling.










Fields after fields neatly arranged in steep inclines, and long rows, some growing, some grown, some just waiting to be sown, some standing still, lying in fallow, all in some kind of magical order, as if a mighty giant was uncluttering his hair with a fine-tooth comb after noticing them to be disarray for far too long.










Stop just for a brief instant, simply to meet and contemplate a strange, and wonderful creature.




Into Long sweepers, curving passes, snappy switchbacks, deep valleys and altiplanos, we maintained a steady altitude between 2300 and 3400 metres.








The landscape only parsimoniously interrupted by modest yet colourful, perfectly square adobes.




Uncanny, breathtakingly beautiful.

..............
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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 01-06-2014, 08:53 PM   #203
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Eek Into the thick of it




...Today would be a bit different, after a copious breakfast we left Hotel Glamour in Riobamba (don't let the name fool you). The sky was grey, with low dark and heavy clouds, threatening to unload at any moment. For the better part of the morning the weather held. Then came the fog, thick dense moist, even more unforgiving as we climbed, and descended from one valley to the next. Then came the rain, heavy wet cold gloomy, thick with the same unforgiving opaque and compact fog.



















Beautiful in its on way, deadly, only steps away from the edge.




She says, he says...


"Hey Valentino" says Jackie.

"Check" he answers back.

"I'm kind of cold, kind of wet, are we there? I'm just about done for today..."

"Huh well, let me check what GP says; we're almost there about 72 km" you can do that with your eyes closed, no problem"

"The speedo says we're only going 42km p/hr"

"Check"

"About those eyes closed; can you see ahead?"

"No not really, maybe 3 metres ahead"

"3 metres! What's that about 10 feet right?

"Check"

"You’ve seen all these creatures on the side of the road?"

"Nope, can't see shit actually, the double yellow to my left, and the single white to my right, that’s ’bout it"

"You got your hazards on right?"

"Check"

"How'bout them shitty OEM aux lights?"

"Check"

"How'bout those fancy PIAA, are they on too?"

"Check"

"You're on high beam right?"

"Check"

"Oh ok! You can see than?"

“Nope can't see shit”

“But, but… all those creatures, you can’t tell if they’re tied or not”

"Nope"

"I'm kind of cold, kind of wet, are we there? I'm just about done for today..."

“Check, can I put Jimi Hendrix back on now, it kind of helps with the fog and all…”

“Check”






...

Sometimes it’s not all apple pie and ice cream, our protagonists were sure glad to get to Hostal Alternative in historical Cuenca. Nothing that a nice home cook meal and a good bottle of red can't fix.















Just another day on the road, a day in the life of J&V.

More tomorrow...
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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
Work is just the time you have to spend between rides.

The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 01-06-2014, 10:46 PM   #204
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Freaky in that pea soup fog! Glad you guys didn't end up in "Hospital Alternative" instead! Roll on.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:24 AM   #205
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Talking

Ha! That's why we don't have all those communication system yet... We think it would make for some to much talking in scary moments. When you face the winds down south in Patagonia you will listen more than some questions and complain words... In the 2011/12's summer she said "thank God we don't have those communication system. You would be deaf after all my screaming..!"
Keep on riding, writing, cooking and loving.
All the best,
Arjones.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:35 PM   #206
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Thumb Sin hospital por favor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
Freaky in that pea soup fog! Glad you guys didn't end up in "Hospital Alternative" instead! Roll on.
I kind of had the same thought as we entered the suburb of Cuenca, there is a large hospital as you enter the city limit. Then another 5 km or so with every rider's nightmare, when the asphalt is between the old and the new, after they rip the old but before the new one is laid. These deep grooves were deep, wobbled us around on the wet asphalt until we finally took the roundabout exit towards El Centro.



Quote:
Originally Posted by arjones View Post
Ha! That's why we don't have all those communication system yet... We think it would make for some to much talking in scary moments. When you face the winds down south in Patagonia you will listen more than some questions and complain words... In the 2011/12's summer she said "thank God we don't have those communication system. You would be deaf after all my screaming..!"
Keep on riding, writing, cooking and loving.
All the best,
Arjones.

That's why both of us sometimes really enjoy the big jog dial button of the Sena.

"Back to the musical program now"

"Check"


Cheers to both of you, great to have you following along.

Snack time



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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:13 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by V@lentino View Post
[/CENTER]

muy delicioso!!

keep up the great work down there!!
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:21 PM   #208
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Cool2 Street art












The day spent in Cuenca was great, woke up late, shared breakfast with three Argentinians and then headed for a walk through the old town. What a nice surprise. Well preserve heritage buildings, a surprise around every corner.













The modern and government architecture is well integrated with the old colonial constructions. The city had such a good vibe; that vibe thing is hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it. No Edge, people are relaxed going about their activities. Traffic normal, pollution not so bad, city is clean… It just feels nice to be here. Lots and lots of pastelerias and panaderias so of course we enjoyed. Must have walked in over a dozen papelerias looking for “un calcomania de la bandera de Ecuador” no luck…











But above all the city, like some many we have visited during our trip, felt political. Honestly I don’t know what that really means, but again when you feel it you know it.









Maybe it was the graffiti and all the wall-painting that gave it away.

And I like it!

Artful expressions of social injustice, and indignation are to me some of the most significant form of protest that exists. Always political, rarely violent unless hateful, they are ever meaningful, accessible and never leave anyone indifferent.









I was inspired today, not so much by prose as by images, took over a hundred pics. A few "artsy" one that came out ok.


Cherries at 1 dollar per pound; come get some.




Nice restaurant frontage




Here we make the famous Panama hat




The flower market




The town square fountain





Walk this way





Doors and locks








And of course, the ever present 125cc

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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
Work is just the time you have to spend between rides.

The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 01-07-2014, 05:25 PM   #209
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That cathedral is beautiful. The flying buttresses look fairly new? When I saw them I thought they might be hitting the wall below the point where they could properly channel the load, but perhaps not. If they are new, there must have been structural engineers involved.

Glad to hear you avoided crashing on that bit of "not quite pavement." Looking forward to the next episode in this great story!
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:29 PM   #210
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The town square fountain

Stop it, now you are just being mean . Cuenca is one of my favorite cities in the world. I dream daily of being there, going for a run along the Baranco, having lunch with family, a glass of wine with mi amor in the night, dancing in a club, and weekends in el campo.

Enjoy my adopted country, safe travels.

Suerte,

Martín
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