the view from Bob's room in maNcora
We are now on the Pacific, soaking up the final rays of sun as it sets over the horizon with Pisco Sours in hand.
Our day started at 5:30 am as we managed to get out of Quito rather easily (except for the driving rain). We drove through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo loomed above us the entire journey. The roads were once again excellent, as we made great time, going from 9,500 feet in Quito up to almost 12,700 feet before descending into the Guayaquil valley at 900 feet!
The scenery was again astounding - Ecuador has to be the most naturally beautiful country on earth - the large volcanoes and lush green valleys combine to form a truly unique landscape that is awe inspiring at every turn.
After descending into the southern lowlands, the landscape remained green, but the fertile valleys gave way to miles and miles of bananas and a lot of poverty. This area of the country is definitely not as fortunate as their northern comrades.
After an early lunch of chicken fingers and fries at a gas station restaurant, we continued on to the Peruvian border. The great thing about this border is both countries are housed in the same building - you walk up to the counter to get stamped out of the country, then go to the next line to get stamped into the next- sounds like something the US and Csnsda should try, no?
We had been warned that the first thing we would have to do was go to a different complex to turn in our Ecuadorian car permit and get it stamped - this was about 5kms before the actual border. Every single blog I had read said they had missed the building, reached the new customs building in Peru, and were sent back...
One look at our Spot track today shows this is exactly what happened - we were turned back, and then to add insult to injury, the Ecuadorian officials didn't think our GRINGOS plate was real. After lots of talking, touching the plates and shrugs, we finally got this sorted out, went back to Peru, checked out of Ecuador, into Peru, and got our car permit, all in the space of an hour!
We then moved into Peru (and their inferior highways), and were soon looking at the beautiful Pacific Ocean - we are now in the desert, and will be for the next week and a half.
We stopped in the backpacker resort town of Mancora, found a hotel on the beach, and will sleep soundly tonight after almost 14 hours on the road. We have decided to skip Lima, as big cities are so hard to get in and out of. We think we will try to make it to Trujjillo tomorrow (maybe further).
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain