Friday, March 26, 2010

A Case of the Lazies

Yep, I said it. I just invented a new word - ¨Lazies¨ (at least my spell-checker won´t accept it)! You can guess the meaning behind it, if not from the brevity of this post, but also from it´s lack of pictures. We took a break from our tough jobs as tourists.

Since we disembarked our cruise in the Galapagos, we´ve done a whole lot of nothing. Correction - I´ve done a whole lot of nothing, Pete has done mostly nothing. For our last day in the islands, I barely left our room - I was recovering from the very poor sleep I had the night before (made painful by the lack of air conditioning), and from the serious onset of sea legs where everything around me was swaying. Feeling a little bit better than I, Pete and Margaret ventured out to explore the beautiful beach at nearby Tortuga Bay for a few hours.

As much as we loved every minute of our experience in the Galapagos, we were at least a little relieved to get back to the higher altitude of the mainland and away from the oppressive heat and humidity. Back up to Quito we flew on Tuesday morning - we said a sad goodbye to Margaret as she boarded a bus south, and plopped ourselves down in old town Quito for two more nights. Two nights of...you guessed it...lazies.

As we may have said a million times already, we ain´t city folk, and we were anxious to get a move on out of the capital city. But, lo and behold, my penchant for losing things struck again. On our way back to Quito from the islands, I realize that I had left my iPod sitting on the bed of our last hotel.

O, blessed iPod! Whatever would I do without your multitude of games? Or your wi-fi capabilities for quick email checks? Or the thousands of songs that I filter through on long bus rides, to aid in my aimless staring out the window? Perhaps this may not seem such a big deal to our average reader, but to a traveler carrying her home around on her back, the iPod Touch is most precious cargo indeed. I was sure it was a-goner and that many dark days were ahead.

But, alas! An amiable and generous Ecuadorian came to my aid! And once again, we were reminded of the general good in people, even from the relative strangers that we have met along our travels.

Esther, the receptionist at our hotel in the Galapagos, found my iPod and was waiting for my call so that she could arrange to have it returned. She put it on a flight the next day, even paying for its passage with no request for reimbursement. In the package contained the following note: ¨Hi Darlene or Peter: Here is your iPod. Please don´t forget it in Quito. People is not honest sometimes.¨ Bless your heart, Esther. I will even forgive you for calling me Darlene.

So, as we had to wait for my precious cargo to be returned, we were forced into another night in the big noisy city. Doing...you guessed it...nothing of matter. It was inconceivable for us to do anything even if we wanted to - I was still feeling the swaying of the sea, PLUS now a little altitude sickness thrown in (Quito is almost at 3,000mts). Sea legs and altidude sickness? I had no idea that this combination was possible! Somehow, I found a way.

And you would think that with nothing to do, we would have all of our next voyages planned out to the letter - but that proved to be harder than expected. We had taken a break from planning since going to the Galapagos, and there we were, one night left to go in Quito and we had no idea where to go next. We considered just showing up at the bus station with our bags and picking the next bus heading north.

But then the kind hostel owner in Quito brought out a huge wall map of Ecuador for us and at 10pm on Wednesday night, told us where we needed to go the next morning. Yesterday we traveled 2 hours north to Otavalo, a mountain town known for its bustling market, and to help us break up our trip north across the Colombian border. Our cute little hostel is a series of cottages just outside of the town with a beautiful and tranquil setting, complete with hammocks and nothing but the sound of tweeting birds. We were officially welcomed back into the Northern Hemisphere (spending our first night here in 7 months) by having to wear our long johns to bed for the first time since southern Chile. However, it has still proven to be an inspiring place to do more of enjoying the lazies before we say goodbye to Ecuador, and roll into our seventh country - Colombia!

We have been anxiously awaiting to explore this country for a long time. It is a traveler´s favourite, and is often referred to as ¨the best kept secret in Latin America¨. Diminished are the drug wars that once plagued this country with a ton of bad press, as the country vehemently is working to defend and improve its tourist industry. This is a very large country, and thus we are planning at least 4 weeks to explore (although I suspect we will be longer).

But we move on with a sad goodbye to Ecuador, the little country that has stolen our hearts. We came in with very few expectations, and inside found some amazing scenery, unparalleled wildlife experiences, and some very generous and honest people. In our three weeks here we feel we have barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer, which again leaves us another reason to get on a plane back south after we return to Canada in the fall. This list of reasons continue to grow...

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