Ecuador

Ecuador – the first time I heard about this country was a few years before landing on this continent, a friend had taught and lived on Galapagos for a few years. It was safe, marine life all around, island life – she said.
The second time I heard about this country before seeing it for myself was in the hostel in Liberia, Costa Rica. Where the French hostel-mate was telling me about her solo travel stories here 10 years ago.
We started on our 25 hours bus ride from Bogota, down to Cali and then on to Quito. Took a day and a half to get there! Here I realized the bus rides are not going to get any shorter. Here I started to appreciate my kick-ass motion sickness blue pill that puts me to sleep for more than half of the long journey.

Ecuador didn’t feel that dangerous to me while I was there, it was a bit rough but pretty sights were everywhere.

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Bus ride from Colombia into Ecuador. Took a day and a half, but the scenery was too beautiful!
I recall going down mountains – from a colder altitude and rugging up on the bus to taking it off once we were on lower ground.
I recall going – wow, this is just beautiful. So beautiful this Colombia is. Such a hidden gem.

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So much green around.542383_10150836163812470_192394681_n

The sun was setting and it basked everything in its glorious gold colours.  I tried to capture as many pictures as possible, but these pictures don’t do any justice to what I saw.538306_10150836164007470_430728935_n250694_10150836163697470_504758929_n

All these definitely made the long long long bus ride much more bearable.
I have a strategy with my blue pills, take it once night falls and you don’t have scenery to take you through.

QUITO

I recall reaching Quito at night, changing to a local bus at some point and then a cab to get to the hostel. I think I was a bit worried because I’ve read not to get on local buses once night fell because cartels would just stop random ones, rob people and all that kind of stuff.
I’m glad we made it in one piece. Actually I’m super grateful that I wasn’t mugged or anything on this big trip.
Sure, I’ve ran into shops, different directions and even lost my phone in the backpocket of a national airline due to my own carelessness, but nothing else -No lost cameras, no knife point drama, Nada. Thank you Lord 🙂

We got to the hostel at night and when we got dropped off at a location asked a local at a  tienda where our hostel was, he looked at us and our backpacks, pointed in a direction and told us to quickly get there, that it wasn’t safe here.

I think I was really tired by then and just didn’t feel anything at that point anymore, just wanted to quicken our steps there, get the room and lie stretched out on something – no bus-like-seat formations.

The next morning – Quito came alive 🙂
Was so nice to see how it looked in the day.

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Quito’s old city – First UNESCO city in the world !
Quito gets cold at night so when the sun’s out,  everyone’s out to soak up some warmth.

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They had a procession that day which was quite nice, flags raised, music played.
An old church still standing today.
I recall having lunch at an old market, then spent the rest of the days here roaming around to explore.
I recall trying to decide if I should go to Galapagos but everything was just too expensive, over $2,000.00 USD. And I had about 5 more countries to go..
I guess I have to come back another time – leave something to come back for eh.
In a good way, I didn’t have my dive license then, now that I do, the experience of diving there would be Ooommph!

GUAYAQUIL

Warmer than Quito, this city felt a lot more safe too.

Thing about blitzing through so many cities, when it comes to recalling different memories, they get all mashed up.
For example, a certain piece of memory felt like it happened in Guatemala, and then it felt it happened in Costa Rica. Or was it in Ecuador. And you just close your eyes and try trace it all the way back, hearing that scene, feeling that scene…then if your mental storage is still kicking, you get your answer.

I gave up and goolged where this was – Iguana Garden in Guayaquil – Thought it was in Quito Old city, haha.

Then all the memories started coming back, I recall going to a park / museum (Guayaquil Historial Park – thank you Google) where they had different shows and animals – really nice and recommended if you are in this area.
I also recall getting a bit lost around this area and wondering why the guys just refused to ask the locals where the Historical Park was and rather walk around lost and expending wasted energy in doing so. I think it’s just a guy thing – rather get lost than ask – it’s quite funny to recall this scene now.

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Here in the Iguana Park, Iguanas roam free 🙂382418_10150836157607470_943465904_n

They are curious about humans too.

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How cool is this, just Iguanas roaming around.
I’ve heard in Galapagos, seals and other animals do the same too. One day, one day.

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Decided to climb up to see an overview of Guayaquil.

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Climbed 444 steps to get up here!547308_10150836159592470_1983993828_n

A church sitting on top.

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And a tower to see them all.179589_10150836159972470_824212325_n

This reminded me of Mexico’s Guanajuanto.

I recall sitting up here, taking it all in, talking to my friend.
I recall telling I was really tired, and if someone bought me a ticket home, I might just take it.
I recall my friend saying we could go back if we wanted to.
I think we were all tired on the road.
I recall I was just saying it out, half whinging, half saying the truth, also knowing I would not give up – can’t leave not knowing what I would see.

As mentioned quite a lot in other posts, I think my travel style has slightly evolved.
No more chasing 1000 countries at break-neck speed.
Just last night, I was thinking about any future “longer” trips – I settled for under four countries, and three months maximum.

Although, Latin America was different, I had to see it all. It has always been No.1 on my bucket list, I doubt I could settle if I hadn’t seen it, and what better way than to do it when I was only 21 years of age and where my bones could take those 30 hours bus rides. This continent still fascinates me till this day.

Anyhoos, I digress. I guess these backlogs are just to capture what I felt back then and not so much of a travel guide. To capture what I would like to remember so when I look back next time, hopefully I still remember / maybe even feel what this heart felt. Years ago.

Like last night, the cool crisp breeze reminded me of times in Guatemala, of Costa Rica, of Shanghai etc while I stood admiring my night skyline. Yes I complain how I don’t have the mountains or beach for my scenery but last night, I realized I have a gorgeous view of glittering orange lights in the far distance, that I really liked staring out at too -evokes memories of Home, of China, of Vegas.
I was really grateful for this realization.

So much to learn about one self isn’t it, to learn how to be grateful for things in one’s present, to learn how to be in the present, to see the glitter from the trash, to see the silver lining in every cloud. Even the clouds could be beautiful.
Life – an institution you never graduate from I say.

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One more picture to leave you with – An art piece in an Art gallery in Quito’s old town.

Back then, I wrote : Travellers. Where do we call home, Are we ever satisfied?

Now, I think : Yes we can.

It can be doing and checking off things on your bucket list now instead of waiting years to do it, and end up never doing it because responsibilities just keep adding up.
It’s also just learning to be grateful for whatever is in front of you now, wherever you are.
And enjoy what is presented to you now, have fun.
Learning to be nice and be kind to people who crossed your paths.
Learning to let go and enjoy the flow.
Learning how to be a good friend, a decent human being.
All about the small things, small steps, one day at a time.
Who knows if you get to smile at that sight again, hug a friend, say Hi or Sorry, or to enjoy the same dynamics again. Asi es la vida.

Till the next post, Stay gold.

 

 

 

 

 

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