05.11.2011 17 °C
We took off for Banos for a few days and had a great time there. It is a small town with big adventure activities and at a fraction of the cost you would pay at home. We managed to do a bit more ziplining ( 1.5 kilometres down a valley) , we went abseiling down waterfalls, bridge swinging, white water rafting, mountain bike riding and buggy driving.Matt was in his element driving the buggys. It's a pretty small place so getting around was easy and safe, unlike Quito which is probably the opposite, big city and dangerous.
We ended up back in Quito because i'd needed some dental work and finding a good one in the Ecuadorian countryside would be difficult. I would imagine that the waiting room would resemble a veterinary surgery. I managed to get some really good care in Quito but the whole ordeal cost us a week of messing around. We managed to do a few day trips in between visits. We hopped a bus to Otavalo which is a small town about 3 hours from Quito but is known for its Artisans market. We wanted to get a little bit of warm gear for Peru so the list included Lama and Alpaca wool socks, beanies and hoodies. The stuff is really nice and looks great over here but i would imagine it may have a limited use at home. Snow holidays only. The problem which has dogged us from the start is the inability to carry any real souvenirs. Our limited pack size means that a lot of things just get left behind, although the markets were great fun and some of the stuff was great value, we just have to say no.
The equator line naturally runs through Ecuador and although it also runs through many other countries it is considered the true marker because of its altitude. Don't know what that has to do with anything but they've claimed it and built a massive monument so it must be true. Unfortunately about 15 years ago some one came through with a military grade GPS and discovered that they were out by a couple of hundred meters so the real centre of the earth is up a dirty little track that leads to a really interesting place that has all sorts of experiments where you can watch water flowing straight down from a plug or shift the basin either side of the line and watch the water go in opposite directions. You can have a go at balancing an egg on a nail and a lot of other quirky kind of stuff. It was pretty interesting, had genuine shrunken heads, penis invading fish ( i hear you gasp, goes in microscopic if you pee in the water but comes out looking like an alien sea horse... ouch!) and other indigenous displays.
We finally got the all clear to leave Quito and jumped the bus heading for Peru. Not very interesting first leg, about 12 hours on a bus and then dinner and bed and the second leg was similar except a bit of excitement at the border. For some reason Brenton's passport was stamped on entry to Ecuador but wasn't recorded on the computer ( computer said no) so they weren't going to let him go and he was technically illegal. I had suspicions they may have wanted a little extra and didn't realise we were travelling as a family. The border crossing has a terrible reputation for police corruption and we reckon they might have thought he was an easy target. Anyway once we started huffing and puffing they sorted it quickly and we took our illegal immigrant with us into Peru. Bus ride was nicer and the after a few days in a dusty little town waiting for a plane we have arrived in Cusco. We plan to trek for about 4-5 days and end up in Macchu Piccu. After that, not quite sure. We need to leave Bolivia by the end of the month so a lot to do before then. A massive
bunjee jump is planned and a ride down the world's most dangerous road. Should be exciting. Andiamo