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….
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 !~
Its all downhill to the river, and down river to the ocean!
~ Hen & Jack