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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.
Tierra del Fuego — CHOCOLATE
9 December 2018
Did you know that only 5% of the world’s cacao beans are considered gourmet, or as having a “fine aroma”; and of those, over 60% come from Ecuador?
Just down the street from my hotel is the Republica del Cacao, a shop dedicated exclusively to selling Ecuadorian chocolates. Bags and boxes of Cacao beans await you, as well as a multitude of chocolate bars, powders, nibs, and liqueurs.
The bars included those made with rose petals, banana chips, golden berries, raw sea salt, oranges, macadamia nuts, hot mocha, pimiento, and of course simple dark chocolate. The liqueurs included “licor de cafe”, “crema de chocolate blanco”, and “crema de chocolate”.
The cacao beans were grown in four different regions here in Ecuador: Los Rios, Vinces, Manabi, and El Oro; and if combined with cafe, those beans come from the Galápagos Islands.
I purchased a few bars to sample with friends down the road, and hope they’ll survive the heat of the Atacama Desert and the cold of the high Andes.
Every year Bonnie (my wife) and I buy blocks of chocolate and make rochers, bonbons, bark, and other sweets for our family and friends. Seasonally, our small kitchen becomes a chocolate factory. All that’s missing is Willy Wonka!
Tierra del Fuego — MUSEO DEL ECUADOR: MANNEQUINS
9 December 2018
Strategically placed, so as to blend in, are realistic-looking mannequins. More interested in the displays and wall-hangings, I passed several of them with barely a glance, while exploring the museum. Finally I caught on that they, too, were part of the museum’s displays.
Less so in the cities, but in the Pueblo’s it’s quite common to spot women (never men) carrying loads of goods on their heads. Such was my experience in Africa, too: always the women carrying the heavy loads, on their heads.
But take a look for yourself:
Tierra del Fuego — Municipal Museum del Ecuador: GOLD AND MODERN ART
9 December 2018
As it has been over the centuries, gold was prized by the ancient indigenous people.
Also on the walls were a few modern paintings.
Some photos follow:
It was nice meeting you at Casa Hebling. Sorry I was in a rush to clear out but I was late to meet a riding couple I'm traveling with. Hope you have Salsa's charging issues sorted and are back on the road south. We're currently in Vilcabamba at the Hosteria Izhcayluma. I picked up a flier for this place at Casa Hebling and it's pretty nice. Looking forward to seeing you again on the road...
We stayed there and loved it !!
Indeed! Hope our paths cross again soon!
Salsa has been repaired, thanks to the skilled mechanics at Moto Hell, and their ability to improvise.
I hope to be heading south with Nirbhai / BATTDOC on Wednesday.
See you on the road!!!
Monte / SalsaRider
Monte and my friend Nirbhai from nearby Stockton, Ca have joined forces for awhile and you can now follow both Ride Reports to get their perspectives.
https://advrider.com/f/threads/south-i-say-in-ecuador.1339929/page-30 (see post #599)
I must be the only gearhead who wants to know what the problem was with the bike and how they fixed it????
I believe Battdoc said it was a broken brush holder ... for the record that would be 12 31 1 243 003.
Nice to meet you Monte, I'm down in Cuenca now, very pretty city. I'm sure I'll bump into again at some point.
Desde, the Canadian guy (Jason)
Tierra del Fuego — MY QUITO EXPERIENCE
11 December 2018
My stay in Quito, Ecuador, was a positive experience, overall. Some highlights:
SALSA: Due to a failed charging system (alternator), and a long holiday weekend (Independence Day celebration), she spent several days in Moto Hell. The shop mechanic — Enrique — was exceptionally creative, and managed to repair the electrical system on-the-spot, charge the battery, change the oil and filters, remove and check the rear tire for leaks, and adjust the carbs. Total cost for such work: $51.
https://www.google.com/search?q=moto hell quito
MITAD DEL MUNDO: The official tourist site, located just to the north of Quito, is not precisely on the equator. That honor goes to the Sun Dial, a bit farther to the north. Nevertheless, it gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment to have reached it, and to stand with one foot in the “northern” and one in the “southern” hemispheres.
https://www.google.com/search?q=mitad del mundo
CASA HELBLING: My “home” for nearly a week, it offered a great place to meet other travelers, park Salsa with security, and connect with the world through WiFi. The hospitality is warm and friendly, the rooms clean and comfortable, and the price is very reasonable. There is a kitchen available for personal use, and several places for guests to gather and meet one another.
OLD TOWN: If you like visiting churches, Old Town is for you. There are seven within a short walking distance from one another. And if you’ve never seen one with the interior encrusted in gold, seemingly from top to bottom, then by all means visit the Compania church..
MUSEO GUAYASAMIN: A must-see for art lovers. A collector of ancient and Colonial art — both objects and paintings — Guayasamin was a world-renowned artist as well. His house serves as the main museum, with a separate stone building housing modern paintings, too.
My Quito experience included that dreaded TUNNEL; but also some memorable sites and encounters.
Tomorrow, Salsa and I will start riding south.
This time with a new friend: Nirbhai / BATTDOC, from California. He’s also riding south towards Tierra del Fuego. He’s a rider I’ve been “following” on ADVriders; and for days has been just right behind me. Now, thanks to Salsa needing repairs, we’ve linked-up, here in Quito, at the Casa Helbling.
It’s time to start dancing!
14 December 2018
Today marks our 34th year together, as husband and wife. During those years:
We have raised two wonderful children: Kim and Casey, who are both successful in their own ways;
We have seen parts of the world together — Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Egypt, China, Haiti, New Zealand, and have lived in several states — Virginia, Hawaii, California, and Rhode Island;
We have been together through sickness and health, through the passing of our parents, through good times and bad.
Over the decades we have been lovers, soul mates, playmates, best of friends, and confidantes.
And at the end of the day, there’s nothing I love better than to snuggle with you, our arms and legs intertwined, feeling your body against mine, holding one another.
On this special day, for the first time in 34 years, we’ll be celebrating it apart from one another.
Thank you for allowing and encouraging me to live this dream.
I love you and miss you MUCHO!!!
PS: I owe you big time, too!!!
Tierra del Fuego — WHERE MOUNTAINS KISS THE CLOUDS
14 December 2018
The road heading south from Quito ran clean and fast. Shortly before reaching Ambato, Nirbhai and I turned west, and entered the Andes Mountains. Laguna Quilotoa was our destination: an ancient volcanic caldera, nearly 2.4 miles high, now filled with crystal clear water.
Up we rode, above the timberline, past tiny villages where the kids waved as we passed. All the men wore hats; the women wore hats, shawls, and dresses. Burros and sheep grazed in the unfenced fields. Pigs and llamas did also, but were tethered to the ground. Dogs ran freely about. In one field, dust devils twisted the dirt, like whirling Dervish dancers.
Twice we saw women grilling guinea pigs, skewered to wheels that they rotated slowly by hand over the burning coals.
“How long does it take to cook them,” I asked one woman?
“Two hours,” she said.
Plots of tended fields checkered the steep mountainsides, clear up to the peaks. And way up there, they kissed the clouds.
Women carried loads of sticks or harvested goods on their backs, or babies, or long-handled tools for working the fields on their shoulders.
And once there, Laguna Quilotoa didn’t disappoint.
Descending down some steep steps we found a native woman and her alpaca, standing ready to pose for pictures with the tourists. How could I pass up such a perfect opportunity?
Roasting guinea pigs? Kids that waved as Nirbhai and I rode through the villages? Llamas and alpacas, and tended fields that reached clear to the peaks of mountains that kissed the clouds?
What’s not to love?
Monte - it was pleasure riding with you last two days. I'm sorry I had to press on, hope you get Salsa running right and dance in rhythm all the way to Ushuaia. I'm sure our paths will cross again soon.
Just want to say that you and battdoc are doing a lot of us readers a great favor by showing us so many fine pictures of your travels. Also the write ups are great too.
Salsa is ready to dance!! The BMW shop found two bare wires, for the horn! All other relays and connections looked good. Cost for this work: $16.
Tonight I went to an expat party. Good food, nice company, and several of them formed a musical band and played and sang together. Very nice!!!
Indeed, won’t be surprised at all if our paths cross again.
See you on the road,
Thanks, Eaglescan! Always good to hear from fellow inmates!
Tierra del Fuego — The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY
16 December 2018
It’s unfair to judge anything by 1st impressions alone; but here are some of mine about Peru:
Twice now Peruvians have gone out of their way to help me, which was much appreciated.
URSO: In Pieura I couldn’t get an ATM machine to accept my card, I hailed a stranger off the street as he walked past. It was Urso. He did his best to help, but after two more people tried to use their cards without success, we all concluded that the machine was broken.
Not content to walk away leaving me without any Soles (the Peruvian money), Urso decided to hail a yellow taxi cab and have me follow him to another place, which I did. There, at a shopping center, I managed to withdraw some Soles.
After being treated to some juice and apple pie, I asked if he could tell me how to get back on the Panamericana Highway. Again he hailed a taxi, this time a motorcycle taxi, and they both led to way out of the city. Very much appreciated!
JOSÉ: In Chiclayo, hours later, I parked Salsa and sat down a short distance away, to study a map. Soon Jose drove up in his truck, stopped, and advised me to not leave Salsa unprotected. When asked if he could recommend a good hotel nearby, he had me follow him to the place I’m spending the night.
“I’ve brought other riders here,” he said, “and got you a good price!” It’s a 3.5 star hotel, with WiFi and secure parking for Salsa. Perfect for a good night’s sleep!
Although I haven’t experienced anything bad yet, both Urso and Jose cautioned my about the Peruvian people.
“Count your change,” advised Urso. “Convert the large bills into smaller ones.”
“Don’t leave your bike unattended,” advised Jose. “There are people who will take things if you do.”
Trash, everywhere! Despite roadside signs saying, “Don’t throw trash”, the roads I saw today were littered with the stuff.
Speed bumps, everywhere! Not just your common, marked ones that you can ride over with ease, but tall and narrow and mostly unmarked ones, that you had better slow down and creep gently over . . . Or else!
Pot-holed roads in the towns. I’m not talking about a pot hole here and there, but entire streets that are a mass of holes and ruts, causing drivers to brake and swerve sharply, suddenly, as they maneuver through them.
As I said, it’s unfair to judge anything by 1st impressions alone; but those are mine, so far.
And if you’ve been in Peru, your thoughts?
Tierra del Fuego — LIVING THEIR DREAMS
17 December 2018
Expats interest me, and on this ride so far I’ve met a few from the U.S.A., now residing in Cuenca, Ecuador. Why did they decide to move abroad? Why Cuenca? How do they spend their time?
Allegedly there are 10K expats living in Cuenca now. It’s a beautiful, well-maintained city high up in the Andes, known for its “perfect” climate, low cost-of-living, and as being the “cultural center” of Ecuador, with plenty of museums and cultural events to see. The expats I met seemed quite happy to be there, too.
Why move abroad? The low cost-of-living was high on the list for most. One couple relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area — one of the costliest places to live in the United States. Here they’re renting a 6-bedroom palacial estate, for a mere $850/month. Another bought $200K worth of Ecuadorian CDs (Certificates of Deposit), paying 8.5% interest; enough to afford to live comfortably off the interest alone.
Some wanted a chance to “re-invent” themselves, perhaps get a fresh start after a divorce, or other life-changing event in their lives.
What do they do in their spare time? Most are trying to learn Spanish, taking classes and attending cultural events. One has taken-up painting; others enjoy “playing with food” as I did. And what I found inspiring were those who gathered socially and played musical instruments (guitars, mandolins, harmonicas), singing old Bod Dylan songs and whatnot together. Very nice!
None that I met owned vehicles, as public transportation was so cheap in the city. A few enjoyed getting “high” on local pot, too.
Overall, everyone I met had no regrets. Life was good! They were living their dreams!