Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday May 30, 2016 Jungle Boogie 1



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Monday May 30, 2016
Well the day has finally arrived for the long-anticipated voyage to Sucua, dubbed the "Jungle Boogie" by our fearless leader, singer Brian Gary and his sidekick Jimmy.   After 2 pretty sleepless nights we were up at 4:30am to finish preparations to leave at 7am.
30+ persons met near the Stadium to board the bus and off we went.   If we had known that the bus was going to drive within 50 ft of our house, we could have stayed in bed another 2 hours!
The initial drive through the Andes going through Paute and beyond was just spectacular, making me think that I want to do this on the scooter.   The landscape photo ops would be just incredible.
Someone must have told the vultures, Andean condors?, that there was a bus full of old people on the road.  It sure seemed like they were following us hungrily....
Sliding down after 5 hours to an altitude of 1,300 feet things get considerably warmer, and the vegetation definitely more tropical.  I am thankful that we are doing this trip in "winter" so the temperature is liveable, not oppressive.
We headed straight to an arranged place for lunch where apparently Brian and Jimmy had been promised food service within 15 minutes.   I'm sorry, but when 40-odd persons descend on a restaurant with a small grill and one waiter and only 2 cooks, that just is not realistic.  This has happened on many tours where these poorly chosen places really put a damper on the day.  Unfortunately this was the worst ever.  We sat there for 2 bloody hours before getting our food, and we were among the first half!  The food was only passable, not very warm, and defintely not worth the wait.  Cristina and I went downtown and took a few photos, picked up some water, and returned while the last folks were just getting served.  Nobody was very happy being served lunch in the mid-afternoon....
Then we went to the lovely Hostal Luzcelinda where we are staying and quickly changed into swimming gear.  Cristina was quite happy to show off her new bikini, but of course without getting her hair wet...   I had a fun time in the pool but have re-injured my right shoulder with all my foolishness.  I don't regret it.  The pool is the place to be in this heat.
At 6:30 we jumped back on the bus to go for the Welcome meal which we thought would be in Sucua.  Wrong!  We drove for at least 20 minutes and then turned off on an unlit road through groves of sugar cane.  It was almost like we were being set up for a hijacking.  But, they knew where they were going (Jimmy is from this area) and we, all of a sudden, pull up into this huge farmyard with a monster unfinished quonset that is set up as a huge event place.  The chef had a big kitchen at his disposal and he had a few servers so this meal was a huge improvement.  The majority of folks had pre-ordered a chicken meal and they were served first.  We had ordered beef and were served as the first people were finishing their chicken.  John had ordered a spagghetti meal and it was served very late.   Ecuadorians just don't seem to grasp customer service at all and don't realize that we want to be served at the same time, pay our cheques rapidly and be on our way...
However the meal was very good so we must give them a lot of credit.
Everyone was dozing on the bus ride back and we all headed for our beds upon arrival at the hotel.  Looking forward to our trip to the jungle and waterfalls tomorrow.
I hope you enjoy the photos.  I am doing this on the laptop of course, so I apologize for the loss of quality.   That was the day's excitement,   Cheers, Al 
NOTE that you may click on any photo for an ENLARGED VIEW.

160530 Jungle Boogie # 01

160530 Jungle Boogie #02

160530 Jungle Boogie #03

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160530 Jungle Boogie #35

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday May 29, 2016 Biblian/Azogues



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****
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Welcome…..  Please note that you may SUBSCRIBE to this Blog on the right.
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NOTE that you may click on any photo for an ENLARGED VIEW.

Sunday May 29, 2016
First things first-----  Happy 100th Birthday Mom !!  Even though you passed away this last Feb. 9th, we are thinking of you on this big day.  
Because of you we were feeling quite generous to the less fortunate today on our journeys.

The Herederos del Pasado have had a ride to Biblian scheduled for weeks now and I thought that I was going to be joined by 2 other Americans but they wimped out because it had rained up to an hour before.  The group was to meet before 9am at a gas station in the west end and I had told them that I would join up with them at Challuabamba.  Because of the rain I wasn't sure if they would continue with the ride so I rushed out, gassed up, and waited for them on the Autopista instead.  I finally called one of the fellows after 9:30 and, after a lot of confusion, realized at 10am that they had somehow taken a different route and were now at Challuabamba.  So off I rushed to meet them there.  We were 10 bikes and 12 people on this ride.
It wasn't the greatest of mornings but it kept improving slowly, and no more rain...  Biblian has this amazing muti-storied structure and church built into a mountainside.  I had been here several times before so I did the steep climb behind the church to get some shots from over the spire.  I was coming down when most of the group was going up.  I went over to Toxic and rolled it down to the base of the church where there were some food tents.  A little old indigenous lady followed me and was chattering away to me, probably in the Kichwa language.  Anyway, I gave her most of my fries, then bought her an empanada, and then gave her some money.  She posed for me, and when the group came down, she posed for them too.  Most of the group also had a snack too before we started heading back to Azogues.
Azogues is another town with a very dominant church up high on a mountainside and I was initially diasappointed when we were riding right by, but there was a reason... lunch....  We stopped at a place with the roast pig and we all had a plate of chancho, which comprises of pork, pork rind, nuts, and tasteless white corn.  I passed on the white corn.  The 3 visiting riders from Medellin were with our group (heading to Loja tomorrow) so I bought their lunch today.
Then I was happy when we backtracked and went to the big church.  Some old folks begging on the church steps relieved us of some cash as well.
I apologize if I am rambling or incoherent in this missive, but I am operating on only one cylinder from lack of sleep and all this computer work.
I hope you enjoy the photos.  That was the day's excitement,   Cheers, Al 
© All my work is COPYRIGHT protected and may not be used in any way without purchase, or without my permission.
x

An iffy morning but obviously clearing..

Meeting the gang at Challuabamba

Pulling up to the side of the Biblian church

Trying to find space to park the bikes

The view from up here is breathtaking

This chapel is two levels below the blue cone steeple

It is a two-storey chapel!

Altar, baptistry, and statuary

Beginning the climb behind the steeple

Lovely view from the top level

Up and up we go

Higher

Still higher

They are coming up, I am going down

Most of the parked vehicles are gone

This little granny followed me down on foot

Yes, a multi-storey religious complex

Sign shows the lovely night lighting

Another angle, I see an open door

The door is to a mausoleum

The group is making their way back down

I just love this green view over Biblian town

Granny posing for me

A view with the bike lineup

Toxic can keep up with the Joneses

The gang having some snack food

Gotta see this enlarged - Great reflection!

This one too!

A look back as we ride away

A small park in Biblian

Riding into Azogues

Stopping for chancho

One of the Medellin fellows filming the roasted pig

He commented on how contented the pig looked

Taking over most of the parking lot

My chancho meal without the bland "mote" corn

Didn't expect to see this near the Azogues church!!!

A view from the steps

It is not a bad climb

This impressive structure can be seen for miles

It has a gorgeous interior and altar

The gilded altar is eye-catching

A good view back to Cojitambo

This poor lady got some coin

The group in Azogues

Father & son, I liked the shot...

Interesting artwork for sale, including the Mona Lisa!

Wanting to join Bob marley for a toke...