Guayaquil, Playas, back in Quito and Ipiales (Colombia)

Hello everyone! I am again in Colombia, which I’m going to cross quickly to reach Panama in Central America.
I went from Cuenca to Guayaquil, where I met Eloisa, the lady known at the “Mitad Mitad del mundo”, the one of the cockroaches photo. From there I returned to Quito, where I saw Sandra, the girl met in the forest. After, I returned to Colombia , retracing the same road where one month ago I had 3 big searches in an hour. This time, however, nobody cared about me, maybe because not even a dekaro can be so stupid to import drugs in Colombia.

 

Guayaquil by night. It’s the first city in Ecuador by population, about 3 million and two hundred thousand.

 

Until a few years ago it was a pretty dangerous city without anything beautiful. Today is safer and has been modernized, especially the area along the Malecon, on the river, and the hill of Las Penas, where I took these photos.

 

The end of Malecon, south.

 

Boats at Playas, a beach about 60 km from Guayquil, where I went with Eloisa. So I met the Pacific Ocean, that, however, I shall see again soon in Central America.

 

In Playas nearly every boat has a painting of a saint or a Madonna for protection. And virtually all have the symbol of Barcelona football club. But there is one minor difference, the symbol of (true) Barcelona has the letters FCB. The fake has BSC. Indeed, the football team in Guayaquil has shamelessly plagiarized the Barcelona and, apart from the symbol, has even called its team: Barcelona! Unfortunately for them, however, they have failed in any way to plagiarize the rose of players and style of play, because for that… you need money!
To make everything even more absurd, the team of Quito said “oh well you did it? And then we steal the shirt!” That is exactly identical to that of Barcelona (Spain).

 

When the nets of fishermen came to shore, many birds came to eat the fish caught.

 

Fishermen pull the nets.

 

A dog runs back and forth trying in vain to drive away the birds.

 

As in the Hitchcock movie: The birds.

 

This bird was curious. Of a different species from the others and much smaller, with its call terrorized birds four times bigger, making them flee for taking the most delicious morsels. Even in front of me showed an unabashed fearlessness.

 

The entrance to Barrio La Ronda, in Quito. A street full of bars.

 

Quito at dusk. In the background the Panecillo, a hill with a large statue of a winged Virgin, always visible (in the picture isn’t yet lit).
I went up there with Sandra and we dined at a beautiful restaurant, with a window from which we could see all Quito at night, hundreds of thousands of little lights set over the hills.

 

Me under the statue of Panecillo. I am holding a glass of “canelazo”, a sort of hot cocktail with fruit and aguardiente. At the restaurant we had warm wine with a slice of orange inside.

 

Again in Colombia, in front of the spectacular Sanctuary Las Lajas, in Ipiales, on the border with Ecuador.

 

Many pilgrims come to visit the shrine, asking sometimes miracles or healings to the Virgin.

 

A street near the sanctuary.

 

Ipiales market.

 

A girl at market.

 

People at market.

 

Now I am again in Pasto, a city for some reason snubbed by the “Lonely Planet South America” guide, which mentions it only in a note on how to arrive in Ecuador. Instead, it is pretty and pleasant to stay, certainly much more than other cities to which are dedicated various pages.

This post was a little subdued because of a bombing yesterday in an Italian city, Brindisi, in the south. You need to know that in Italy, since almost half century, every time there is a wind of change (in this case in the last municipal elections the ruling parties collapsed) “mysterious” terrorist bombs kill innocent citizens. Yesterday has been targeted a school and a 16 year old girl, Melissa Bassi, died. Other guys are seriously injured.
After years, it always turns out that behind these attacks and massacres there are the Italian secret services.

The Amazon rainforest near Puyo and the colonial city of Cuenca.

Hi friends! I’m in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city.
From Banos I went to Puyo, where begins the Amazon, which I visited with a guide. After, I slept in a village inside the hut of a family of Kichwa indigenous. It was a small village of fewer than 100 people with many children wandering and playing.
The landlord was around in the forest searching for food and his daughter, a little girl named Brigitte, led me to the village to see the room where they make the meetings, the school, and various animals that live there: an alligator, a parrot, a nocturnal monkey and a giant rat, a little crazy maybe because in cage.
Just before dark the landlord returned with an armadillo caught by the dog digging into the hole where it slept, and the family cooked it. I ate rice, palmito (white filaments, fresh and soft, taken from the trunk of the palm) and yuca, a kind of potato.
Shortly after 7 am, when it was already dark, I went to sleep upstairs in the hut. As always, it’s really nice to sleep in the forest for the concert of verses of nocturnal animals that start with the setting sun. Verses which, actually, resonate thanks the total silence all around. There was a huge full moon. I fell asleep early and I woke up in the middle of a loud tempest, the hut was completely enveloped by the cloud.

The next morning, at 7, the landlord woke up me for another tour in the forest. He told me to get ready and go down, unfortunately he was busy but I would have gone with his eldest son. But the bed called me back and I fell asleep again. Then came out Brigitte. She said to get up to do the tour with her and two other siblings because no one knew where his big brother was. But I fell asleep again.
I woke up with kids all around, I was still half asleep and the scene seemed surreal, with all these children repeating “Giovanni wake up”, “Giovanni, wake up.”
I didn’t want much to wake up, I tell the true. And also, why this rush? I know that there is this terrible problem of deforestation, but also sleeping a few hours more I could have managed to visit it.

Anyway, I finally went into the forest around there with Brigitte, a sister and a brother. They were very good, I say this with all sincerity. They pave the way with machetes and knew all the plants and trees and their possible use.
All that vegetation that appeared to me as a confused green tangle, had an utility for them. As food, as medicine, to make soap, to wash clothes, for painting their faces, to make necklaces, to build huts, to make baskets, etc. …

This brought me back to mind an old idea: to create a community where we work the minimum necessary to help Mother Earth to feed us and say fuck off to the corporations that enslave us and the state that steals what is left in the form of taxes (necessary just to pay the cops that beat us when we protest).
Nothing original, of course, since always the smart ones organize in that way, but seeing it now concretely I am convinced that it is indeed possible. Because from now on I don’t want to work anymore in my life, I want to laze during the day and drink wine in the night before a fire.
“And to travel, how are you going to do?”
Well, guys, you can’t have everything…
“But you didn’t think of us? Of your readers? What we will read after? If the hen has laid an egg or not?”
Eeeh I know, my dear readers, but there are thousands of travel blog, certainly not as brilliant, not with pictures so beautiful, not with so sharp analysis, jaunty humor, freshness and originality of style… yes they are little wankers, you’re right, but what can I do? Can I continue to travel the world like a spinning top? Mmmm but in the end, why not? Ok, we will see… Now the photos.

 

Woman with daughter in Puyo.

 

A tapir caressed by Sandra, a girl from Quito with which I toured in the forest on the first day.

 

Flying on a liana.

 

And with a typical boa on. In short, the usual crap people do in the Amazon rainforest.

 

With Sandra on the bridge leading to the village where I slept.

 

Children in the village.

 

The head of the village.

 

Brigitte with a flower.

 

The armadillo caught for dinner.

 

Dogs around the pot where the armadillo is cooked.

 

Parrot.

 

Girls painting their faces with the seeds of a fruit. The next day I gave up and accepted to having my face painted too.

 

A stream in the forest.

 

Black-red seeds.

 

Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, is a beautiful colonial city. It is located at 2500 meters altitude. Before being conquered by the Incas and the Spaniards soon after, it was an important city of the Canari people.

 

Old women in Cuenca.

 

Woman.

 

Live free! (A)