Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Cities coasts and rainforests in Ecuador

Well Hi there everybody,
I just left Quito Ecuador and now I am in a very small town in the cloud forest called Mindo. We were in a beautiful little beach town called Canoa on the Pacific coast at about 1 degree lattitude and stayed (not exactly in the town but 3 km out in a beauty of a hotel called the Sundown Inn) Perfect little spot 17 km of undeveloped beautiful wide beach of grey sand. very clean (everything being relative) and the water a perfectly delicious temperature for swimming!!! Problem was there were few Sunny moments mostly grey and overcast a result of the Humboldt current 200 km off shore very cold water but it doesnt affect the coastal water temp but a cold air mass meats a hot air mass and we have grey skys and cloudy weather. So we grew tired of grey and took a 5 hour bus trip to Quito which took 11 hours.
Quito is a lovely city probably the nickest or second nicest South American Capital city I have been to yet. It is close in my heart to Buenos Aires but of course BA is much bigger and more cosmopolitan. Staying in Old city section of Quito with much less tourists. Stayed at the Grand hotel next to Santo Domingo Plaza. Andy at Hobotraveler.com recommended it as one of his favorite hotels and it was good and very economical Double room with private bath $12 or shared bath for $8 . Tough price to beat! Quito is only 22 km from the equator.
We went to a little park called Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) There is a big monument and you can stand with one foot in the north hemisphere (tropic of Cancer) and one foot in the South (tropic of Capricorn). It is at high altitude about 2800 meters above sea level and surprisingly cool weather. Ecuador is like the only place in the world where you can acually be on the equator and not in the ocean or the middle of a rain forest. As a result of this there has been a lot of scientific research done here about the electromagnetic forces around the equator and other cool phenomenon. This is also the reason the country is named this. There have ben ancient temples built right on the equator a thousand years ago. How did these people know they were right on the equator? hmmm...
So we spent 6 days and 7 nights here in Quito and really liked the city took a day trip to Otavalo about 100 km norht of the city and there they are famous for the largest outdoor market in South America. ¬°Shop till ya drop! eh? Really beautiful stuff and cheap too. Lots of Indians in beautiful costumes. Lots of Crazy good street foods vegetarian stuff like Bolon which is a big mashed ball of green banana and with cheese or corn kernels inside and fryed ( not deep fried but like sauteed on a griddle). like a scone or pancake. Superb. They also make Maduro which is a whole ripe green banana bar-b-qued and slit open and stuffed with Queso fresco a mild local fresh cheese. Also they sell you a baggie of cooked Yucca and maize and choclo and roasted corn (three types of corn) with some oniony salsa and you walk around and eat it out of your baggie. Seriously delicious. The "third world" has such great street food everywhere you go whether it is asia or south America I guess Africa is like this too... Morrocco was great but Ahhh I digress.
Tomorrow I go into the rain forest to go bird watching on a tour and also to see waterfalls. There are like 1600 species of birds here, 10% of the worlds bird species and only .02% of the worlds land mass. Cool fact huh?
so here we are in Mindo I am still traveling with Angela. This is a small pueblo surrounded by huge green mountains of virgen Jungle/rainforest the locals call Bosque. As you bus through Ecuador you see lots of jungle. Some second growth stuff that has come back after the people burned the forest and some not come back yet at all It takes centuries for the rainforest to recover from burn clearing. Here There is mostly never-been-burned forest so dense it is almost impossible to walk through without a machete. Lots of mariposas (butterflies) of every color and size and description. We walked a couple of km out of town on a dirt road today and swam in a beautiful mountain stream. Very isolated good country for skinny dipping!! Water a little cold but not bad for a running mountain stream. lots of animal tracks and... Well you should get the picture now huh? Its a beautiful virgen rainforest like the world was a thousand years ago in a little town with one paved road. The bus lets you off 8 km from town and then you either walk or take a collectivo ( an old dodge sedan) It costs $4 per carload and we crammed 5 people with backpacks and luggage and one guy had two 5 gallon buckets of home made cheeses he was gonna sell here in town.
Well thats all Ive got to say for now.
"Not all who wander are Lost"
Nothing but Love to you all,


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