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.

Friday, December 05, 2008

travel update from Quito ecuador

Saludos a todos (Greetings to all)
The Grand Hotel is on the corner of Rocafuerte and Porton in Quito (the capitol city of ) Ecuador. I arived here on 1/12/08 the first day of my third month of my sixth year of travelling the world as a back-packer. this is the third time I have stayed at this hotel. I pay $6.50 USD per night for a private room with shared bath and kitchen privileges in the heart of the old city of Quito.
This week is very special time here in Quito. It is the 200 year anniversary of the Liberation of Quito.The forces of Bolivar and Sucre defeated the Spanish colonial Empire and now the people are celebrating 200 years of "freedom" with free concerts and fireworks every night. We dance in the streets and shout... ¡VIVA QUITO!Whhhooooooooeeeeeeiiii!!! I love my life, I really do. but wait, let me back track a little...
On 11/24/08 The lovely and talented estelita had a fine and wonderful departido party for me and all my great friends from Vilcabamba came and said their heart felt "fair-thee-wells" to me. We had a lovely feast with much wine beer and reefers and lots of guacomole, quesadillas, veggies and dips and other great treats and all finished off with two gigantic 7 layer postres made with love by Estelita. The following morning my amigo Bosco drove me to the bus station in Loja where I boarded a north bound bus to Cuenca.
I hit the highway and upon rival I stayed at Perla Cuenca for 4 nights and enjoyed the heck out of cuenca. The whole darned city is a big Unesco world heritage site and it is a very beautiful old colonial town blessed by good fortune to never have been struck by any earthquakes. Truly one of the "new worlds" most lovely and enchanting citys. Lots of beautuiful plazas and parks and old cathedrals and cobblestone streets. A very "european" style city indeed. A great market called diez de Octobrewith many many great choices of fresh fruits veggies and interesting cooked and raw grains. Upstairs in the market are dozens of comedores (little food stalls with ready made meals), like a restaurant.... Clean safe and freindly. I really liked this town.
I spit on Saturday and went to Latacunga and got there just in time because the next day (sunday) was the 52nd annual celebration of Mama Negro. I think its a Catholic thing but I just dont know. There was an 8 hour long parade of marching bands and beatuiful costumes and lots of drunken revelry. Reminded me of Mardi Gras in New Orleans but much more gentle and laid back. Still, all the fun a kid could want for free. I forgot my sunbloc and I cooked my face and left town with a sun burned smile and some wonderful memories.
I ate a fantastic sandwich there. maybe the best sandwich of my life!!! Higos en dulce (fresh figs cooked in panella which is a natural raw sugar) on a bread roll with queso fresco (fresh not aged cows milk cheese usually not more than a couple of days old. very mild tastes like milk)... they also sell these fantastic "tortillas" in the outdoor market which are made of a "masa" of corn meal and onions and spice and stuffed with the same queso fresco and fried in not too much oil. they are kind of small and cost 15cents each or 8 for a dollar. I also had a chocho ceviche (vegetarian) which cuencaña indian woman come around and make for you out of big straw baskets full of all the great ingredients we love about ceviche without the dead fish and with chocho instead.
Monday morning came early and I hit the road again and arrived in Quito, just in time for the 200 year celebration of the liberation...I fell in almost immediately with Mike and Tony, two way-cool gringos who have both been travellers for longer than I have. Not too often I run into anyone who can claim that anymore!! They later introduced me to Justin another American who has been travelling on and off for about 9 years even though he is only 29 and he is a TEFL certified english teacher. He has taught in China and Thailand, and also here in Ecuador. He wants to write a screen play about a homicidal buddhist so he and I have been talking about this a lot.
So tonight at 7pm a band of 12 saxophones, 7 trumpets one trombone, one clarinet and three percussionists , All members of the national police in full uniform with pistols, handcuffs, pepper spray and big smiles played nice concert with a big band jazz style of music with a latin accent for an hour for free on the corner (rincon rocafuerte y porton) where my hotel is, for free. the neighbors all brought out plastic chairs and served us hot mulled jugo de naranjilla spiked with aguardiente and the dancing in the streets continues...There will be fireworks tonight above the huge statue of the angel of quito(virgen Maria) and I will be my self, happy as a clam in an ocean (not in the chowder) Alive and well and almost 53 years old. a free man in quito unfettered and alive. They are going to close this internet cafe now so I will finish this tomorrow.
Now through the miracle of cyberspace it is tomorrow. Today, me and Justin, Tony and Mike went to the cental mercado and bought a bunch of stuff for me to cook for supper. We all had chocho ceviche for brekkie and then Tony and I went off on a tour of Quito´s drug stores (farmacias) in search of the rare and beautiful 30mg codein 500mg acetominophen combo tablets which I "highly" recommend to any travellers like me who walk 8 or 10 km everyday and also have shitty knees ankles and hips (carderas tobillos y rodillas) from being a chef/cook for 29 years. They cost 14cents each here because the govamint subsidizes medicines here so the poor people can have access to them. (What??!! those socialist pinko commies!! Who do they think they are! I hope Bubbuh dubba-yuh sends an aircraft carrier battle group to put an end to this, ASAP!!) uhh sorry about that. Any ways I am stocking up. Hee Hee Hee...
Later Tony and me and Mike climbed the big hill and checked out the huge statue of the virgen Mary who overlooks Quito. It is a great view and an interesting piece of art. There was a strong hail storm while we were on the top and so we ducked into a gift shop and waited and then walked back down. Excellent. We were advized not to climb on foot because the vecindario (neighborhood) the acera (sidewalk) goes through is rather dodgy. But we are three men, not well dressd without cameras or jewelry and Mike is a big boy at about 2 meters tall and 110 kilos (240 pounds 6 feet 5 inch) and so we made up some peanut butter and red banana sandwiches (bocadillos) and just went.
We had no problems at all... well Mike got kind of out of breath but that doesnt count.. Everyone we encountered was friendly and sweet. The barrio (see vecindario)is a place where mostly poor people live. I think there is a certain prejudice and people think that all poor people are potential criminals. I do not subscribe to this kind of thinking and have NEVER found this to be true. On the contrary I think poor people are poor because they are more honest than the rich!
So tonight I cooked for the 4 of us again the third night in a row. we had a lovely dinner of BRV´s (brown rice and veggies) and it cost us 60 cents each! Tomorrow is saturday and the city museum has free admission so you know where I will be.
I will split out of here on Monday and heard up to Ybarra for a couple of nights and then cross the frontera (border) and enter Colombia I think on 10/12/08. Next update from Colombia.
Here then are a couple of quotes to keep you until that time.
from Rambling Robert,Peace and love to all of you,
"Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule. " Buddha
"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein
"I love the life I live and I live the life I love."Mose Allison


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