Hard Day

Feature image is of our back parking lot at our hotel in Banos, Ecuador.  Not fancy, but does the job.  I also love the backdrop buildings and mountain covered in clouds.

Its funny to think of this adventure as hard work — its supposed to be total enjoyment.  That said, yesterday was real difficult and that lead into this morning.  The altitude really messed me up and the lack of hot water for 3 days and other simple utilities like internet or even heat or electricity at times were just not available.  It gets to you.

I went to bed around 9pm after the group had dinner together — we had no choice since there was really only one restaurant in town — well, actually two, but one associated with our hostel.  Fun dinner because we all laughed about our difficult surroundings.  After dinner, there was absolutely nothing else to do since we had absolutely no utilities and I felt like shit due to the altitude.

Of course as I said in my last post, I wore every article of clothing I had available to bed.  We did get a space heater which finally started to make a difference around 3am.  I had not drink any water which was a huge mistake and dehydration took the best of me.  I just did not sleep all night.  I was nocuous and a burning headache.  Knowing that at 8:30am we were history and losing altitude to end at around 6,000 ft in Banos, Ecuador, I passed the hours waiting to depart.

The ride was both super fun and super cautious since it rained the entire trip, definitely carving the mountain passes in medium rain took some extra attention, but the group, now 6 were not trying to kill it and went at a nice pace.  The entire trip today was in high mountains but the clouds were always hovering near our altitude.  At one point, the cloud cover was so bad that I could not see 5 feet in front of me.  We all slowed down because a mistake is not protected and your toast.  I just slowed my pace down to a crawl and when it cleared, we all resumed a spirited ride.

We got into Banos early, around 1pm which I really liked.  It gave me time to get my headache — still there — to calm down — and it did within a couple of hours.  A picture of our hotel is on the left — a bit rough around the edges.

Will and I went to a Swiss restaurant in Banos, a town of maybe a few thousand people and it was really good.  We shared a beef fondue.  Manfred and Bernt came by and saw what we were eating and they sat down and ordered the same.  Too funny, a town with a few original Ecuadorian foods and we all chose the Swiss gimmick.  Anyway, we have had our share of local foods each day.

Banos is a bit bigger than most towns and specializes in hand made hard and soft candies.  Since sugar cane is everywhere, they take the sugar and for some odd reason, make the candy the town specialty.  Of course I had to buy — like dah.  I bought Guanabana flavored toffee candies and plan to hand them out to everyone in our group tomorrow.  Remember, we went to a Guanabana plantation last week.  My idea of fun anyway and I think everyone will get a kick out of it.

Like most of my trip so far, I can count on one hand the amount of Americans I have seen and when I do, I would always bee-line to talk with them.  At lunch I did meet a couple from California who were in town to do mountain climbing.  They were both very earthy and solid climbers.  The guy was from Yosemite and the girl moved to L.A. from Yosemite a few years back.  The funny thing is that the guy was more interested in our journey in our BMW’s.  He also rode a bike and knew all about our bikes and was excited to learn more about us and our bikes.

Little girl was so cute I had to take her picture.  Her father owned a small shop which sold coffee when we stopped during our ride.  Cant turn down Ecuadorian coffee while in town.  Click on her picture to enlarge, its worth it — she is darling in very unhealthy surroundings.

Thats it for the day.  Nothing too exciting.  Tomorrow we ride through a rainforest or something.

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