A Travellerspoint blog

November 2006

Huanchacu, Peru

Approx 16th to 18th No 06.

DSC00619.JPGDSC00623.JPGDSC00628.JPGDSC00629.JPG* Having travelled for a few days, stopping at Cuenca and Loja in Ecuador along the way - it was time to cross the Border into Peru.

  • I chose to stick inland as the border crossing on the Coast is notorious as a Gringo trap. There is a 3km strtch of no mans land between Peru´s and Ecuador immigration offices and its full of thiefs and cons - I spoke to people first hand in Quito who had the displeasure of being conned.
  • Arrived in Piura in Peru at 9 pm - was going to stay and then decided against it - decided to jump on the next night bus down to Trujillo not far from Huanchuca (a nice quite beach side town). All in I travelled for 25 hours straight.
  • Huanchacu was cool - took a a surfing lesson, fell off, got up, surfed, fell obn some rocks - was good fun.

Posted by allan01 11:16 Comments (2)

BANOS, ECUADOR

Approx 13th to 15th Nov 06

DSC00588.JPGDSC00589.JPGDSC00591.JPGDSC00593.JPGDSC00595.JPGDSC00595.JPGDSC00597.JPGDSC00600.JPGDSC00601.JPGDSC00602.JPGDSC00605.JPGDSC00607.JPGDSC00609.JPG* Racing South now to get to Lima in Peru and catch a flight into Cuzco, Machu Pichu. Havde decided to make a few stops along the way.

  • First stop Banos. Small town nestled in a valley and surrounded by an active Volcano.
  • The Volcano is that active that only a few weeks ago - most people took off because it was spewing hot ash into the town.
  • The towns peopl are pissed with the Govt for not giving them enought monitoring equip and compensation - so when I was there they decided to protest in the streets and blockade the roads in and out of Banos. This posed a little bit of a problem to me - because I needed to keep moving South to get ino Peru. I stayed a couple of days and then got up early one mornign along with 5 other travellers and we crossed the blockade, walked then paid a few US dollars to get in the back of a ute and drive us out of the town - money well spent.
  • Did some canyoning / rappelling down a few waterfalls when I was there - good fun - one waterfall was 44m high and was an overhang - so it meant you couldnt put your feet on any thing you just sort of free fall.

Posted by allan01 10:50 Comments (0)

QUITO, ECUADOR

6th to 13th November 06

DSC00568.JPGDSC00567.JPGDSC00570.JPGDSC00574.JPGDSC00580.JPGDSC00580.JPGDSC00581.JPGDSC00549.JPGDSC00559.JPGDSC00541.JPGDSC00543.JPGDSC00545.JPGcotapaxi[1.jpg thumb=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/72928/thumb_cotapaxi[1].jpg]cotapaxi[1.jpg]DSC00530.JPGDSC00533.JPGDSC00536.JPG* Quito is the Biggest city in Ecuador and sits at 2800m above sea level.

  • Arrived in Quito feeling crap - had flu like symptoms - aches, fever etc. Could be Malaria or the Flu - so did what the Travel Doc said to do if this happened and took a double dose of the Anti Malaria - antibiotics I was given. After two days I felt good.

MOUNTAIN CLIMB

  • The main thing I wanted to do in Quito was climb Mt Cotopaxi which is the largest active volcano in the world - at a height of 5970m. Its not that difficult a climb - there are only some steep parts where an Ice axe is needed - however, its the altitude that you need to overcome. Check out the photo - its the snow capped mountain.
  • Checked out a few places which will take you up Cotopaxi - struggled to find a second climber to go with me - then I was told that having lived in London (sea level) for a while I would need to acclimitise to the altitude before attempting Cotopaxi. I was advised to climb Mt Pichincha (approx 4800m)- see how I felt - If I was fine then I could attempt Cotopaxi- If not then I would need to stya in Quito for a few weeks or an expensive fast track acclimitisation course.
  • So of I went, hired some gloves and a full face balaclava - couldnt find any one to climb with me - its the wet season so the weather for climbing isnt the best esp in the afternoon. Caught a gondola (cabkle car) up to 4100m and then chnaged into my thermals and off I went. Check out the photos - its the mountain wihtout snow on it.
  • Got to about 4500m and started to feel the lack of oxygen - breathing became harder and I had a mild head ache. At about º100m from the top the weather closed in - the clouds wrapped around the mountain cutting visability to about 15m - its was like walking through a cloud. Then hail started to fall. I was really starting to struggle with the altitude, I had to make a goal of taking 100 steps and then sitting down, 100 steps sit down - the peak got steeper and I was so close but felt so far - I was absolutely exhausted. So much for living at sea level. I finally got to the top. My body just wanted to sleep - I put on my gloves, my balaclava and set my alrm for half an hours sleep.I laid down and was out in an instant - I woke up 10mins later because of the hail hitting me in the face - reality hit me and I thought this isnt the smatest thing to do - its amazing how your brain reacts with a lack of oxygen - I got myself up and headed back down the mountain - the track was a little hard to find because of the cloud and hail - but I found it - a hundred or so metres down and I felt fine - other than being soaking wet.
  • So I had to give Cotopaxi a miss - Didnt have the time to spend acclimitising or the money to spemd on a fast track course - maybe another time.

THE EQUATOR, DOWN HILL MOUNTAIN BIKING, VOLCANIC BATHS AND QUITOS OLD TOWN

  • Went to the Equator (Mitad Del Mundo), checked out the monuments - boring, then did the experiments i.e watching which way the water runs down the sink on diff sides of the equator, balancing an egg on a nail etc. Funny thing about this place is that they built a monument where they thought the Equator was years ago - by using geometry equip measuring the stars etc and then recently they found out by using GPS that they got it all wrong and are actually 270m away from the actuual equator. There is a small museum built on the actual equator which carries out the experiments - I wonder why they didnt just use the draining water experiment to find the ecuator back in the day.
  • Couldnt climb Cotopaxi so I decided to ride down it with a mountain bike - well not from the top - from tha base camp - was good fun expect for the weather - i turned up in shorts and it started snowing - freezing !!! but a good rush.
  • Went on a bus ride to visit some volcanic springs (volcano heated water pools) - was good, Best part was sitting in the warm water and then jumping into the cold stream runnign beside the baths.
  • Walked around Quitos old Colonial Town - nice place, nice buildings etc.

Posted by allan01 09:36 Comments (0)

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

5th and 6th November

  • Bogota is (Im pretty sure) the Capital of Colombia - it sits a 2750m above sea level.
  • Caught a Bus from Medillin to Bogota (approx 10 hrs) - arrived early in the evening.
  • In Bogota in transit really - had a plane to catch to Quito in Ecuador at about 2:00pm the next day.
  • The next morning was a public holiday in Bogota - I followed the masses of people to walk up a hill and then climb the 200m high stairs to the top of a hill overlooking bogota. Good view over Bogota but the altitude (3000m) made for a decent work out.DSC00519.JPGDSC00521.JPGDSC00523.JPGDSC00525.JPG

Posted by allan01 09:21 Comments (1)

Medillin, Colombia

Approx 2nd Nov to 5th Nov

  • Medillin, pronounced Mediggin. Is famous for Cocaine, Pablo Escobar the Medillin drug cartel and Botero (the artist who paints and sculpts obscenely round / obese people).DSC00501.JPGDSC00502.JPGDSC00497.JPGDSC00506.JPGDSC00508.JPGDSC00505.JPG
  • Previously a dangerous place for travellers, the drug cartels are seemingly gone and this place has become alot safer. Set in the bottom of a valley and surrounded by mountains / hills on all sides this place is beatiful. With 2.2 mil people its a big city and can be pretty hectic.
  • The people from this region are famous for their independent streak and warm hositality. I had the pleasure of experiencing their warm hospitality when I went out on Friday night to check out the local night life. Whilst there are some travellers, there arent that many - the stigma of Colombia being a dangerous place through out keeps most people away - I found the locals fantastic - they are proud of their Country and want more travellers to come and experiennce the new Colombia.
  • This openess was in contrast to my experience earlier in the afternoon, when I was spat on by a druggie after I took a wrong turn. Could have happened anywhere in the world - just a case of me being in the wrong place i guess!

Posted by allan01 12:03 Comments (0)

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