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Natal – Pipa – Recife & USA x Germany

Sorry it’s been a while folks, my computer charger died a few weeks ago and we have been super busy with the World Cup in full swing! We left off in Natal where we had an amazing time staying at Moab’s house with his family. Unfortunately Jack’s camera had gotten stolen in Salvador so we lost a lot of pictures and footage from the trip.. Oh well.. The memories will last forever!!

Coastal

Coastal

Jack and I suited up and headed south for one of my favorite days of bicycle tour in Brasil. Natal to Pipa! We could have taken the BR101 highway inland about 80km but we opted for the more adventurous route down the coastal roads, sand dunes, and a river crossing; which was shorter but more uncertain. We cruised south out of Natal with good weather. Along the way we stopped at the Brasilian Aerospace Museum. Natal’s position on the north east coast of Brasil with its close proximity to Africa provides for a strategic missile launching site. One of the coolest things about bike tour is being able to stop and check things out.

Brasil Aeronautical Museum

Brasil Aeronautical Museum

After the museum, it was coastal cruising along the Atlantic Ocean. Massive sand dunes on your right and the aqua blue Atlantic on your left as we headed south. Passing through the coastal towns it was nice to get out of the city and be back on the bikes. Eventually we made it to the end of the road and were faced with 5 km of beach to travel down at high tide. Sounded like we might be pushing the bikes on the beach which sucks. If you’ve ever tried to push a bike in sand it is not very enjoyable. We inquired about catching a ride on a dune buggy but were put off by the massive price tag of 70R$. This is about 35usd$. For 5km? Yea right. We managed to catch a ride down the beach with some local fishermen for free. Thats more like it. It was awesome riding through the dunes in their truck to the river crossing!

Coastal Crusing, Rio Grande do Norte

Coastal Crusing, Rio Grande do Norte

Screenshot 2014-07-28 13.52.20

Hitch hiking through the Dunes!!!

Hitch hiking through the Dunes!!!

At the river we scooped a ferry ride to Tibau do Sul the other side and continued  along the amazing coastal road on to Pipa. We were searching for a place to set up camp before the Germany Ghana game started but with no time left we just biked to the bar and hoped to figure it out after the match! Naturally as things go on bike tour, these swiss dudes were psyched on our tour and invited us to crash at the house they rented for the month!

Just before getting on the Ferry!

Just before getting on the Ferry!

Pipa is a sweet little beach town south of Natal. Its a bit touristy but it definitely has a party vibe. Especially during the World Cup! That night we partied in the streets and made friends. The next day we went and checked out the beach. Jack and I hitch-hiked to the main beach with some really chill Brasilians from Natal! We hung out with them for the day and got psyched to watch the USA x Portugal game.

Pipa Pipa

Pipa Pipa

There was a ton of Americans in Pipa, and it made for a great environment to watch the US take on Portugal! We had tickets to that game but it was in Manaus back in the Amazon and we didn’t have the means to backtrack there. I gave my ticket to a USA fan who was going and who promised to give it to someone who deserved it! We watched the game in a bar with a handful of fans who were going crazy! Jermain Jones scored one of the goals of the tournament to equalise. A howitzer from 20 meters leaving the Portuguese keeper Beto stunned. Everyone in the bar was going absolutely mental! Then Dempsey scored and we were on route to another victory! It was all going for us until Portugal scored a last second equaliser. It felt like we lost pretty much! But everyone was impressed by the USA’s performance which was cool because a lot of people had written us off before the tournament had even started! Once again the streets were flooded with people after the game. Lots of Uruguayans were there getting ready for their upcoming clash vs Italy in Natal.

Jones goal!

Jones goal!

The next day we had to leave Pipa and head to Recife for the USA x Germany game and it was pouring rain! We cycled on some crazy jungle roads south of town instead of going to the main highway. It was truly adventure cycling as we were cruising through flooded dirt roads. Eventually we managed to get to the highway. That night we stayed with Brasilian family! They cooked us dinner and we got to watch the Brasil x Cameroon game at their house. We slept in their little church behind their house and prepared for another day of rainy cycling.

lost in a sugarcane field. in the rain

lost in a sugarcane field. in the rain

3 Days of rain riding and we made it to Recife. We had organized to couchsurf in Recife with a guy named Filipe. He biked out to the highway and escorted us through town to his house in the favela north of Recife. We took it easy that night and got ready for USA x Germany. We had to take a bus into town and then hit the metro to the stadium. The Pernambuco Arena is actually 2okm from the city of Recife. With all the rain and flooding it took over 2 hours to get to the stadium! The German fans were raging but so were the US faithful! We were pregaming on the way to the stadium and partying outside before kickoff. Once we were inside we joined the American Outlaws in the terraces behind the goal. The rain was pouring down but we didn’t care. The last 3 days of cycling through the rain had hardened us to being eternally soaked! We were chanting “ponchos off” to all the gumbies still wearing their raincoats!

Outside the Pernambuco Arena!

Outside the Pernambuco Arena!

I believe !

I believe !

The Pernambuco Arena was one of coolest arenas we got to go to. Its brand new, and very big. The seating feels like it goes straight up! We were stationed behind the goal with the American contingent being loud and crazy! We were holding off the Germans in the rain until the second half when Thomas Müller put in a well placed precision strike off a Tim Howard rebound. The USA didn’t manage to equalise and we were holding our breath that Portugal would get a result against Ghana. In the end we lost to Germany but Portugal beat Ghana so we advanced to the knockout stages! Awesome indeed as we made it through the so called group of death! I knew we would, thats why we were here!

With a superior goal difference than Portugal we qualified for the knockout rounds!

With a superior goal difference than Portugal we qualified for the knockout rounds!

 

After the game everyone was partying in Recife! The Germans were going hard and so were the US fans! It was a win win situation for everyone involved! We met some cool Brasilians at fan fest and hung out with them for the remainder of the evening! Since the USA made it out of their group we were destined to go to Salvador for the next game vs Belgium! This worked out for us perfectly as Salvador was much closer than Porto Alegre where we would have played if we had beat ze Germans! Also our good friend Iago, and the chilenos we had met on the Amazon river trip had rented a house in the favela in Salvador so we already had a place to stay!

Iago and the Chilenos!

Iago and the Chilenos!

 

DCIM100GOPRO

Stay tuned for adventures in Salvador and Rio

 

-Hen

Road to Natal, & USA x GHANA !!

We bounced from Manaus on another riverboat, this would be the last of the river trip. 5 days 4 nights aboard the boat. We met some American folks headed downriver as well going to the USA ghana game. We made plans to catch up with them later on!

Amazonas sunset

Amazonas sunset

We arrived in Belem’ Brasil. The last city on the Amazon! Jack and I spent two days in Belem’ and the owner of Amazonia Hostel was psyched on our project let us stay there for free!! He runs sustainability projects in the amazon and wanted to reach out to us! Belém was a very cool city. There are very old style houses with huge mango trees lining the city streets! You can feel the jungle is still there! We enjoyed cruising around on bicycles and we checked out “the best bar in Belem” and met some cool locals. The city of Belem was kind of bummed not to get to be a host city for the cup for the Amazon, instead Manaus got the spot. Belem actually has football teams whereas Manaus doesn’t so what will happen to the stadium after the tournament…?

 

Belém Brasil, last stop on the Amazon

Belém Brasil, last stop on the Amazon

With only a week till the start of the World Cup we had to fast track a little bit. We took a bus from Belem to Fortaleza. This was a 30hour bus ride covering 1500km. It would have taken at least 2 or 3 weeks to cycle that far. The north east of brasil is a big desert! It was kind of cool to be back in the desert since I hadn’t been there since Baja!

Brasilian, desert?

Brasilian, desert?

 

Once we got back on bikes it was relatively flat cruising through the Brasilian countryside! There was lots of wind and the desert landscape was a nice alternative to the river jungle that we had been exposed to for the last 3 weeks!

 

19th flat for Hen

19th flat for Hen

camped out at truck stops.. free showers and cafezinho  (coffee)

camped out at truck stops.. free showers and cafezinho (coffee)

 

After 5 days of cycling we arrived in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, BRASIL! On the way into the city the local news reporters saw us and did an interview with us about our trip!

225 Days since leaving San Diego, arriving in Natal Brasil, Dunas Arena, designed to resemble the giant sand dunes in the area

225 Days since leaving San Diego, arriving in Natal Brasil, Dunas Arena, designed to resemble the giant sand dunes in the area

 

 

interview with univision

interview with univision

http://g1.globo.com/rn/rio-grande-do-norte/bom-dia-rn/videos/t/edicoes/v/americanos-atravessam-o-continente-para-assistir-jogo-dos-eua-em-natal/3411078/

on globo news in Brasil!

We had arranged via warmshowers to be hosted by some locals! They live right by the stadium and have been amazing hosts. Jac and her boyfriend Moab have been hosting us. Moab’s mom make the best fresh fruit juices ever and we have been getting spoiled!

Jack and Moab, our amazing hosts in Natal. Moab and his girl friend have bike toured in Czech Republic and Austria!

Jack and Moab, our amazing hosts in Natal. Moab and his girl friend have bike toured in Czech Republic and Austria!

Nova Descoberta neighborhood where we stay

Nova Descoberta neighborhood where we stay

The world cup started June 12th we were down at the beach partying for the game! The last couple of days have been spent watching football, hangin at the beach, and partying! US Soccer hosted a night before party that was pretty wild! It was the most gringos I’ve seen in one place in the last 8 months!

US Soccer night before party!

US Soccer night before party!

For the USA x Ghana game Jack and I went to the fabric store and got some stars n stripes and made some flags! I didn’t want to carry all my USA shwag for the last couple months so we just made some of our own! Lots of crazy fans down here looking rad!

hangin with the Ghana Black Stars!

hangin with the Ghana Black Stars!

We marched towards the stadium! We only got about one block from our host’s house when some Brasilians at a pub invited us in for a beer. Naturally we obliged. A quick beer and a shot of Cachaça followed and on we marched! The USA fans were congregating about 3 blocks from the stadium and it was wild! RED WHITE AND BLUE everywhere! Singing our go to chant of “I BELIEVE!, I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!”

Where you go, we will follow!

Where you go, we will follow!

USA fans gather before kickoff

USA fans gather before kickoff

Just before kickoff!

In the Dunas Arena

Once we got into the stadium we continued to party! Dempsey scored in the first 30 seconds and it was insane! The roar of the crowd, the whole stadium shaking, it was amazing we were in ecstasy! We lost Altidore to a hamstring injury which was not good. After that the team chemistry was off. Aron Johannsson came on as a sub, but its always difficult to come into a match for an early injury and try to influence things. I think in the next match he will be more prepared. We were raging with the USA fans all game chanting, singing, and believing! Ghana had been pushing us back pretty hard taking pot shots from distance, then on 81 minutes Ghana equalized after much pressure! This dampened our spirits only slightly as the USA fans BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

I Believe!

I Believe!

Our belief paid off as German born 6′-4″ Hertha BSC defender John Brooks wrote his name in the history books with a commanding header off a Graham Zusi corner kick in the 86th minute!! Brooks is now a legend folks!! During the insanity that followed I got a entire beer poured on my head, lost my sunglasses that I had managed to hold onto during the entire trip, and ground scored a sweet USA scarf! We were bouncing up and down in the terraces waiting for the final whistle after that. 5 minutes of extra time were added which was about 5 more than we would have liked! The final whistle blasted after the last passer passed the last pass! WE did it! USA vanquished the demons that had been haunting us for the last few world cups! Ghana knocked us out of 2006 and 2010 WC and we wanted revenge! TAKE THAT GHANA!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! WE WANT PORTUGAL!!!

USA 2 - Ghana 1 ! JOHNBROOKS LEGEND!!

USA 2 – Ghana 1 ! JOHNBROOKS LEGEND!!

 

After the game we partied the night away! The next few days were spent taking it easy, chillin on the beach, and relaxing! Since we were staying in Natal we also went to the Japan x Greece game. It was not nearly as crazy and we were not nearly as drunk for this game! We were rooting for Japan during this match and went to party with the Japan ultras! Chants of Vamos Nippon echoed through the stadium. The game ended 0-0 but it was still a fun experience!

 

respect the homemade fan gear, rooting for japan

respect the homemade fan gear, rooting for japan

 

met up with my good buddy Juan who I grew up with !

met up with my good buddy Juan who I grew up with !

After spending over a week here in Natal we are planning on cycling down the coast to Recife for the USA x Germany game! The big one! On the way we will be checking out some chill beaches, and soaking it all in, Brasilian style.

Ponta Negra, Natal Brasil

Ponta Negra, Natal Brasil

 

Uma Nação, Uma Equipe

One Nation, One Team

 

O_o

Andes to the Amazon!

We were finally able to leave Quito! After spending a month based in Tumbaco, a suburb on the outskirts of Quito it felt like we might never leave! Santiago, our amazing host helped us build Jack a new bike after Ike’s had gotten stolen. It was quite funny, the power had gone out and we were in Santi’s bike shop wrenching furiously on the bike in the dark with our headlamps on.

Wrenchin on Jacks new bike at Santi's

Wrenchin on Jacks new bike at Santi’s

Getting ready to leave Quito! Was based at Santi's house for one month!!!

Getting ready to leave Quito! Was based at Santi’s house for one month!!!

Pedaling out of Quito was a slow process. We didn’t leave till 13:00 so it was definitely a late start, but hey, at least it was a start! We had to get Jack’s bike used to being toured on. Stuff kept falling off and he got a few flat tires.. Our route was to pedal to Coca and then take boats down the Rio Napo towards Peru.

Quito to Coca by bike.. then Coca to Rocafuerte via Rio Napo!

Quito to Coca by bike.. then Coca to Rocafuerte via Rio Napo!

We pedaled for a few hours to the base of the mountains. It came the time to find somewhere to stay and luckily we encountered a house that was for sale! The door was open and it was an inviting shelter from the ever present rains that had been plaguing us lately! The house was right on the edge of a sweet canyon and had a great view of Quito from across the valley!

 

View from our house

View from our house

It was all uphill as the road towards Coca heads directly over the Papallacta Pass at a whopping 4064 meters (13,333ft) This was a new highpoint on tour! The road up the mountains is pretty new, except for the end where it turns to gravel. Climbing up the pass was a pretty awesome experience. The Andes continue to boggle the mind! You are so high from elevation, the mountains, and the scenery, you can touch the clouds! As we summited weather was moving in and it was time to don some layers for the massive downhill!

4000m

4000m

Super high at 4000m Papallacta Pass!

Super high at 4000m Papallacta Pass!

Blasting down the other side of the pass was extreme! We had summited around 16:00 and it was slightly late in the day! Falling out of the sky on our bikes we blasted down this amazing valley at 75km  almost melting the brakes! Due to the amount of geothermal energy incubating under the earths surface there was plentiful hot springs in the Papallacta valley! Naturally we soaked it all in and took a deserved rest from a huge day of climbing!

soakin it all in!

soakin it all in!

After hot springing we bombed more downhill and then found a place to camp in a small field that was for sale on the side of the road! The next morning the dueño showed up with his cow wondering what we were doing there? We explained to him that we were traveling and just had spend the night there and we were on our way! He was glad to have helped us out, unknowingly.

amazing downhill through the valley

amazing downhill through the valley

More spectacular downhill followed as we descended next to the river canyon towards the town of Baeza. In Baeza we ate some breakfast and then turned south towards Narupa where we would then take the road to Coca. we were treated to amazing riding through the mountainous jungle as we slowly climbed through another spectacular valley! Once we reached the top it was more wild downhill next to the clouds. The Andes are very amazing mountains and we felt slightly guilty for leaving them so soon! Alas, we have to get to the Amazon!

Baeza Ecuador

Baeza Ecuador

Finally after two days of descending we were close to Coca. The mountains had stopped but it didn’t mean the end of the hills. We were treated to some gnarly jungle hills about 140km from Coca. Then Hen’s back wheel broke down and there was a torrential downpour! Jack and Hen sought shelter in a little roadside bus stop! Barely big enough for us to sit under we waited an hour in the down poor. As we sat soaking wet and shivering in the little bus stop, we watched the water pooling up on the ground. Not a good sign for camping! In fact where would we camp that night, providing that the rain stopped.

Then our savior showed up. A truck had stopped to help us and it turned out the driver was heading to Coca and would give us a ride! Perfect. A chance to fast track to the river as well as wrench on bikes and find boats the next day!

Coca Ecuador, Rio Napo, our route to Peru

Coca Ecuador, Rio Napo, our route to Peru

We arrived in Coca that evening and found a cheap hotel to spend the night and attempt to dry out all of our stuff! The next day we cruised town, got supplies, and wrenched bikes. The dude at the shop said he was busy and just let Hen use the tools to fix his bike himself. Coca is a pretty cool river town in the Ecuadorian jungle! It has the feel of a beach town without the beach! We enjoyed the afternoon sipping beers watching the Napo River flow by. There was a boat heading to Rocafuerte at the Ecuador Peru border leaving the next morning and we made plans to board it!

1st Riverboat!

1st Riverboat!

The riverboat we got on was awesome! It was about 8 hour trip down river to Roca. Riverboating is super relaxed way to travel. For the people who live along the Rio Napo, riverboating is the only way to get around! We cruised down river dropping people off to their little jungle huts along the river bank all day. Finally we made it to Rocafuerte where we met some travelers heading to Brasil as well! Pedro is from Brasil but he lives in Denver, and Iago is from Spain, we teamed up with them and made plans to head downriver!

Nuevo Rocafuerte, Ecuador

Nuevo Rocafuerte, Ecuador

After waiting a few days in Rocafuerte for a boat we found one that was heading to Santa Clotilde Peru. This boat was a slightly modified dugout canoe with a shade structure and a tak tak 5.5hp motor attached to the back! We were traveling with a Peruvian family who had family up river and was dropping off some livestock to them. On our return we had 4 chickens and a baby pig with us!

Baby and baby boar !

Baby and baby boar !

Sunrise on the Napo

Sunrise on the Napo

jack gettin jungly !~

jack gettin jungly !~

We crossed into Peru and ran into Ike and Genia at the little border town of Pantoja. They had been waiting in Pantoja for a few days and figured we’d show up when we got our passports stamped. It took 3 days of riverboating on the small boat down the Rio Napo to get to Santa Clotilde! At night we would stop at local river peoples jungle houses and set up hammocks!

Riverboatin with bikes !

Riverboatin with bikes !

Riverboatin in a traditional dugout

Riverboatin in a traditional dugout

Jungle House!

Jungle House!

Santa Clotilde, Peru, one of the bigger villages on the Napo

Santa Clotilde, Peru, one of the bigger villages on the Napo

Once we had gotten to Santa we took a rapido or “fast boat” to Mazan where we biked across a land bridge to the Amazon river where we took another boat to Iquitos, Peru! Iquitos is the largest city in the world non accessible by road! Iquitos was amazing! There is no cars in the city only motorcycles and moto taxis! It was very fun to ride bikes through the concrete jungle in the jungle!

on a rapido

on a rapido

Iquitos, Peru

Iquitos, Peru

Motos everywhere in Iquitos

Motos everywhere in Iquitos

We checked out the famous Belen market where you can buy anything! We got to try some caiman (crocodile) and an assortment of delicious juices! We also partied in the street with some of the crazy locals! It turned out to be a fun few days spent there. There was a riverboat heading to the Peru/Brasil/Colombia border the next day so we jumped aboard and headed down the mighty Amazon River towards BRASIL!

chillin n grillin

chillin n grillin

fresh meat! Belen Market

fresh meat! Belen Market

Amazon River from the Belen Market

Amazon River from the Belen Market

It took another 3 days of riverboating to get to the tri border area. This riverboat was significantly bigger than the last. With about 100 + passengers crammed in on two levels, everyone slings up their hammocks for the duration of the journey. Riverboating is extremely kicked back as you just lounge in your hammock sipping beers watching the river slide by as it does.

Everybodys Chillin!

Everybodys Chillin!

Captain Jack, guiding us through Peruvian Amazon

Captain Jack, guiding us through Peruvian Amazon

Amazonas Sunset

Amazonas Sunset

We entertained ourself with some 10 sol poker. Soles are the currency of Peru. (10 soles = 3$) This Belgian guy named Kevin who was also heading to Brasil cleaned us all out. After 3 long days of riverboating we made it to Santa Rosa, the Peruvian border town. The next day we cruised across river to BRASIL!!! Woooooo we made it! Wow nearly 7 months of traveling and we did it, we entered Brasil! After checking in with migracion we walked to Colombia because we could!

BRASIL!!

BRASIL!!

The next day we found yet another riverboat heading down river, this one going to Manaus! This riverboat was huge! It was more like a cruise ship it was so big! We piled aboard for a 4 day trip to Manaus! Once again its all about the hammock time as we set up for the ride. We met a handful of people heading into Brasil from all over. Lots of Colombians, Germans, Dutchies, Spaniards, Argentinians, all making the pilgrimage to Mundial!

bike touring on the boat

bike touring on the boat

During sunset when it was cooler, we played football on the top deck of the riverboat! You had to be disciplined to keep the ball on the deck! We lost a few balls but it was worth it! In the evening we congregated at the bar as you’d imagine, having multilingual conversations with fellow international travelers! People were busting out their instruments and a jam sesh ensued! Good times on the boat!

In Brasil, anywhere can become a footy pitch!

In Brasil, anywhere can become a footy pitch!

We finally made it to Manaus where we will take care of some things before Jack and Hen head to the coast! Ike and Genia will head south to Cuiaba for their World Cup game Chile vs Austrailia.

We are super psyched to get to BRASIL! What started as a half-baked day dream has become a reality, although we still have to finish our voyage down the Amazon, and then some to get to Natal by June 16th where USA take on Ghana!!

Amazon dreaming

Amazon dreaming

 

Tudo Beleza ! ~

-Hen, Jack, Ike & G

Stuck in Quito, beaches, missing bikes, dance parties, footy, and saying good bye to friends!

So we left off with Ike & G heading out on their own adventures, and Jack teaming up with Hen for the World Cup dream! We all cruised to the Brasilian Embassy in Quito to apply for our visas. We went there on a Monday hoping the get them back by Friday! It turned out we didn’t have all the necessary items for a visa… You need all kinds of stuff, they want bank statements, airplane tickets, hotel reservations, travel itineraries, etc. to which we had none. So naturally we jetted over to a local internet computer lab and made up our own travel itineraries and concocted hotel reservations. We returned the next day with the “proper” documentation and submitted our visa applications! It’s pretty cool because World Cup Visas are free if you have tickets to the games! Otherwise you must pay 180$ plus all kinds of other secret fees they love to hit you with! The kind Brasilian lady told us to come back in a week to get our Visas.. Stuck in Quito for another week….

What Quito would look like if it wasn't always cloudy

What Quito would look like if it wasn’t always cloudy

Instead of spending the week in Quito, Jack, Chelsea, and Hen decided to head down to the coast! Chelsea’s professor was having her birthday party and using her connections Chelsea extended the invitation to Jack and Hen! Perfect! We LOVE to party and figured we could liven up the bash with our contagious psychitude and legendary senses of humor!

Vino Chileno at the bust station

Vino Chileno at the bus station

 

We all piled onto the night bus to Pederñales from Quito and were transported through the Andes down to the Pacific Ocean! Arriving in Pederñales at 4am we were without a place to pass the rest of the night! We wanted to camp on the beach but it didn’t look too safe! Hen found a loft of a beach bar that he climbed up to. It was secluded, safe, and out of sight. “Out of sight out of mind!” Good enough to sleep a few hours until dawn. Unfortunately, after Jack had clambered into the loft, as Chelsea was about to ascend the night watchman told us we couldn’t stay there because we were trespassing or something. It all worked out in the end as Chelsea managed to use her charm to get the 3 of us a room in a hotel for 10$ total! Perfect. We slept in and then drank coffee on the beach, followed by beer!

at the cacao farm

at the cacao farm

After a relaxing morning on the beach, our tried and trusted guide Chelsea took us to the small coastal village of Tabuga where the rest of her classmates were doing their internship work. We visited a small organic Cacao Plantation owned by an Italian dude named Alessandro! He was very cool as he gave us a tour of the farm and we enjoyed sampling the various stages of the Cacao.

Alessandro the italian cacao farmer

Alessandro the italian cacao farmer

Cacao beans fermenting

Cacao beans fermenting

After the farm we waltzed on down some fun trails to the beach! Its been a few weeks since Hen’s ill fated sailing voyage on the Pacific, yet it still remained as beautiful as ever. This beach was quite the contrast to the beach in Pederñales. There it was quite ugly as the fishing town had its influence on the coastline. Here in Tabuga the beach was rather exquisite. We cooked up some dinner on the camp stove and enjoyed a superb sunset as the sun sank into the ocean as it has done for centuries. After dinner we helped a local fisherman move his nets around and then headed up to Lalo Loor Reserve where we would spend the night!

tabuga sunset

tabuga sunset

Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve is pretty neat! It has protected about 500 acres of forest between the wet forests to the north and extremely dry forests to the south! It is a kind of transition zone between the two ecosystems. The area is very bio diverse, housing species from both habitats! The students from Chelsea’s program were staying there and it was fun to hang out with them! The next day we went on a hike through the jungle and Chelsea was on top of things with her identification of multiple species of spiders, monkeys, and of course FROGS that can be found on the reserve!

Learning about tree frogs!

Learning about tree frogs!

After hangin hard on the reserve for the morning it was THAT time! You know that time… PARTY TIME!! We all dressed up in our saturday’s best and made for Joe and Cath’s house on the beach! Joe and Cath are the professors for the program that the students are in and they invited everyone in town to the beach bash! Their house overlooking the coast is phenomenal. It is nice to see what people can accomplish when they put their effort into it! We kicked things off with a couple of drinks then headed down to the ocean for some spray! Outrageous fun followed as everyone was getting loose, playing in the surf, boogie boarding, kicking footballs and throwing the throwball around! Another amazing sunset followed and everyone made the trek up to the casa for the party!

beachin

beachin

There was a massive pile of pasta as our gracious hosts supplied everyone with dinner, not to mention a lot of booze! Mojitos, Gin & Tonics, Whiskey straights, Vino Chileno, Cervezas, Rum Colas.. Which led to DANCE PARTY! So much fun out on the dance floor! People were burning up the tiles left and roight out there! Being the seasoned party animals that we are we managed to groove all night AND bust out the late night dish duty and earn our spot to sleep in the hammocks and on the patio!

view from Joe & Cath's amazing house!

view from Joe & Cath’s amazing house!

Morning came too soon as it always does as we were awakened from our coma like slumber by the sounds of people who get up early! Fighting the urge to tell them to shut up, we roused ourselves for some coffee, BACON and eggs. (On a side note, you know when your cooking bacon without a shirt on and some of the grease hits you and burns you, and your like “Dammit bacon, I hate you! Why you gotta do that!?” And then you think “Oh im sorry bacon I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I love you!”) I digress, but seriously Bacon! We dont get to eat it much on this trip so when we do its extra special!

Charlie Sheen knows

Charlie Sheen knows

The morning was spent frolicking in the ocean and getting ready to leave the coastal casa! We hitched a ride with Joe to Finca Mono Verde, where we were gonna say hi to friends and pass the night! When we got there no one was there, after hangin out waiting we decided to venture into town. Naturally everyone was gathered around the football pitch and we ended up getting in on a game. They play 30$ games with the winner getting the spoils. Jack and Hen pitched 2.50$ each to get into the second game and we balled out with the locals. It was quite fun to be playing on the tropical field! The grass was nice and soft and Hen played barefoot while Jack got hooked up with some boots. We ended up drawing 2-2 and we just got our money back with a slight donation for the field usage! After the game we went back to Mono Verde where we met up with Arnaud and his wife Monica and their young son Mael! We hung out with them for the evening and played cards to pass the time. We all fell asleep to the sounds of croaking frogs in the jungle!

haning out waiting at mono verde

hanging out waiting at mono verde

We made the travel day back to Quito, this time on the day bus and were treated to the amazing views of the Andes as we climbed back towards the capital city! Hen feeling a pang of guilt for not getting to cycle these amazing mountain roads as the bus wizzed by the amazing scenery. We ended up getting back into Quito and to the Embassy Monday afternoon just in time to grab our freshly processed 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP BRASIL VISAS! Yea BABy! This was a slight concern as being American’s we cant get into Brasil with out a visa. Check that one off the list!

Freshly processed BRASIL Visa!!

Freshly processed BRASIL Visa!!

 

The high of getting visas was quickly evaporated as we got back to Santiago’s house to find that Ikes (now Jacks) bike was missing! This was not cool! It was a slightly peculiar feeling as there were other valuable objects lying around for a thief to take, yet they only took the bike. It was hard for Hen to break the news to Ike that his bike was gone, although Ike wasn’t as upset because he wasn’t using it anymore.

keep an eye out for ikes bike!

keep an eye out for ikes bike!

We talked to Santi who was in the Galapagos and he said he could build another bike when he got back! Stuck in Quito again…

Most of the week was spent hanging at El Portrero! Chelsea had gotten the invite from her friend Rodrigo to come play some footy there! Portrero is sick! Its a football complex, a climbing wall, and of course PINGPONG! They also sell beer too which is pretty sweet! Naturally we enjoyed spending time here as it catered to our needs! We met the two dudes who ran the place, Rodrigo and Francis! They are totally rad! They met a few years ago battling it out on the soccer field and naturally became friends and business partners! Francis used to live in South Florida playing highschool and college soccer! These guys hooked us up with some drop in footy on the artificial indoor pitch and some climb time! Thanks!

Francis showin us the climbing wall

Francis showin us the climbing wall

Chelsea holding the World CUP!! and we didnt even make it to Brasil yet!

Chelsea holding the World CUP!! and we didnt even make it to Brasil yet!

Wednesday night we went to a party at Danilo’s casa in north Quito! Danilo is Santi’s Daughter’s Boyfriend! In Ecuador they celebrate Primero de Mayo (the 1st of May) I told them that its all about Cinco de Mayo where we come from but whatever, we LOVE parties! It was cool to go to an Ecuadorian bash! We were jammin to salsa music and dancin in the living room! There was Aguardiente which is the local liquor as well as some Ron Abuelo! Ron Abuelo is from Panama which brought Hen back to the days hangin at the marina in Panama City waiting for boats with the gypsies! On the dance floor the rug was getting cut by everyone busting out their choice dance moves!

 

party party party!

party party party!

Partying at Danilo's! Primero de Mayo

Partying at Danilo’s! Primero de Mayo

We had arranged with Rodrigo that we would play a footy match at 11 am. We woke up at 10 Chuchaki (hungover) We showed up at 12 having missed the game but we got into another match on the indoor field! It was pretty fun to run off the hangover! After footy we made moves to the climbing wall and pulled down on some of the fun boulder problems! Of course, Hen and Chelsea renewed their pingpong rivalry with Hen taking the cake after losing the first game, he won the second two! Until the next time!

ping pong at the climbing wall!

SERIOUS about ping pong

We made plans to come back saturday for the festival that was going on at the fields. Francis and Rodrigo were renting out the soccer field for a music festival. We showed up early for some climbing and then VIP’d our way into the festival. In Ecuador they are figuring out things as they go along and we slipped the security saving a whopping 30$! The festival was pretty cool except in Ecuador they dont sell beer at concerts… We just couldn’t fathom that. The couple opening bands weren’t anything to write home about and we were about to head home for the night when we saw a bunch of artists warming up their brass instruments! Instantly psyched to boogie we headed back into the festi tent and checked out the band Rocola Bacalao ! They are an Ecuadorian ska/reggae band who ripped it up! Hen and Jack were all up in the mosh pit getting blasted by the funky tunes! Afterwards when we were hangin backstage we got to meet Jose from the band! “You see theres the band, and the people who know the band.” Jose was way chill as he explained they’re heading to Porto Alegre in Brasil just before the World Cup to play a handful of shows! Porto Alegre is the host city of Ecuador and it should be a wild time for them!

El Carpazo festival, Lumbisi Ecuador

El Carpazo festival, Lumbisi Ecuador

 

So now its time for us to leave Quito foreal! It has been a rad 4 weeks chillin here, and it feels like home! We gotten to hang out with tons of cool people and go to some really cool places! As the World Cup draws nearer, football fever is in the air! We are gonna have to book it across the continent as we head EAST towards town of Coca, where we will catch a ride on the mighty Napo River towards Iquitos, Peru. From Iquitos we will be taking the baddest river on the planet, the AMAZON,  through Brasil, to the Atlantic Ocean! To everyone we’ve met in Quito THANKS so much for everything! Also special thanks to Chelsea, you have been an amazing tour guide and a great friend, its been a fun couple of weeks hanging with you! Its time to go! Siga no mas !~

The amazon river basin, the  mightiest river on the planet!

The amazon river basin, the mightiest river on the planet!

 

Its all downhill to the river, and down river to the ocean!

 

~ Hen & Jack