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Friday, July 18, 2008

Isinlivi to Sigchos to Chugchilan

Photos at: http://picasaweb.google.com/svnakia/IsinliviToChugchilan

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last night was very interesting as we met people from the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and even a graduate from the University of Oregon in Eugene where my niece will be a freshman this fall. We got a couple of strong recommendations for the Orient (NE) part of Ecuador, and are thinking that a river trip might be a good option for us. All of the other guests were trekking portions of the Loop, some with guides (but no horses!) and some on their own. They had very serious gear and looked to be aged anywhere from their 20´s to 40´s. Sitting around the living room late in the evening we were talking about hotels and I described our Quevedo hotel as a ¨dump.¨ Jose Luis (one of the owners of Llullu Llama) asked us to explain the meaning, and was highly amused by the expression. I think now he´s just waiting for the next opportunity to use it in conversation!

John and I were the first ones up at 6:30 this morning. I got hot water going and put a tea tray together while John started a fire. By 8 AM everyone else was up for breakfast and John and I were packed and waiting for Don Lucho to pick us up in his truck at 9:00. Jose Luis had arranged this ride to Sigchos ($10) for us, where we could then catch a bus to Chugchilan. JL assured us we´d be riding inside the truck and not standing in the bed with our luggage. But when the truck pulled up I could see it was going to be a tight squeeze to fit all three of us in the small cab. I sat in the middle and had to put my legs over John´s left leg, but I could still feel the gear shift against my left leg. Fortunately the basically one lane, rutted, dirt road was mostly straight down and then straight up so there wasn´t too much gear shifting (except for when we stopped halfway there to pick up six kids who paid about .15 each for their ride into town).

It only took 30 minutes to get to Sigchos which made us very early for the 1 PM bus to Chugchilan. We did an hour of internet, ate an early lunch, and found out that the very nice looking bus terminal up the hill was not the place to meet our bus. Instead we were directed to Ave. Los Ilinizas between Tungurahua and Guayaquil where the green and white Iliniza bus was already waiting for passengers at Noon (and where I´m now sitting composing this blog on paper while John works a crossword puzzle). We´re not quite sure why the the bus would already be here since we thought it was coming from Latacunga, but we´re happy to have a warm place to sit and pass the time while we wait.

Sigchos is a lovely little town with clean paved streets and neat, well kept buildings. The strange thing is that, today at least, it´s like a ghost town, with most store fronts closed, and no traffic to warrant the 2-3 stoplights. Even the gates to the park were closed. School kids were out in a side street practicing their marching band moves, walking in place while the band played, and that was the most activity we saw. But it has clean, small shops with everything one could need, and seems like it would be a quiet, pretty place to live.

Yesterday the clouds rolled back in by mid-afternoon with a few sprinkles. I had hoped for the trekker´s sake that we´d have another sunny morning today but we woke to a light sprinkle and it´s been mostly cloudy since then. They say this is more rain than they usually have here in July, and I hope we get more sun soon so we can see the volcano peaks before we have to leave.

Linda and John