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

Hello everyone! I’m again in Colombia, which I will cross quickly to reach Panama in Central America.

From Cuenca, I went to Guayaquil, where I met again Eloisa, the lady known at the “Mitad Mitad del mundo,” the one of the cockroaches photo. From there, I returned to Quito, where I met again Sandra, the girl of the first forest tour.
After, I returned to Colombia, retracing the same road where, one month ago, I was searched by police 3 times in an hour. However, this time, nobody cared about me, maybe because not even 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 modernized, especially the area along the Malecon, on the river, and the hill of Las Penas, from where I took these photos.


The end of Malecon, south.


Boats at Playas, a beach about 60 km from Guayaquil, where I went with Eloisa. On the Pacific Ocean, which I will reach again soon in Central America.


In Playas, nearly every boat has a painting of a saint or a Madonna for protection. And practically 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 team. Apart from the symbol, it has even called its team: Barcelona! Unfortunately for them, however, they have totally failed 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 that? Then, we steal their jersey!” Which is, in fact, identical to that of Barcelona (Spain).


When the fishermen came back to shore, many birds came to eat fishes caught in their nets.


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 with plenty of bars.


Quito at dusk. In the background, the Panecillo, a hill with a giant 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 tiny lights set over the hills.


Me, under the statue of Panecillo. I hold 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.


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


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


A street near the sanctuary.


Ipiales’ market.


A girl at the market.


People at the 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 described with many pages.

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 moved into a hut of a family of Kichwa indigenous, inside their village. 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, accompanied me to the village to see the meeting room where they take decisions, 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 a cage.

Before dark, the landlord returned with an armadillo caught by his dog, that had dug inside the hole where it was sleeping. The family cooked it. I’m vegetarian, so I ate rice, palmito (white filaments, fresh and soft, taken from the trunk of the palm), and yucca, a vegetable similar to potatoes.
In the evening, 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 sounds from nocturnal animals that start with the setting sun. Sounds that resonate thanks to the total silence all around. There was a giant full moon. I fell asleep soon, and I woke up in the middle of a roaring tempest. The hut was wholly enveloped by a cloud.

The next morning, at 7, the landlord woke me up for another tour in the forest. He told me to get ready and go down. He said that he was busy, but I would have done the tour with his eldest son. But the bed called me back, and I fell asleep again. Then arrived Brigitte. She told me to get up to do the tour with her and two other siblings because no one knew where his big brother was at the moment. 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 truth. And also, why all this rush? I know that there is this terrible problem of deforestation, but even sleeping a few hours more for sure I could still manage to visit it.

Anyway, I finally went into the forest around there with Brigitte, a sister, and a brother. They were excellent, I have to say. They paved 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 a 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 reminded me of an old idea: to create a community where we work the minimum necessary to help Mother Earth feed us. And at that point to say fuck off to all the corporations that enslave us and to the states that steal us what is left, with taxes used just to pay the cops for beating us when we protest.
Nothing original, of course, since ever the smartest organize in that way, but seeing it now concretely, I’m convinced that it is indeed achievable. I don’t like to work anymore. I just want to laze during the day and drink wine the night by a bonfire.

“And to travel, how are you going to do?”
Well, guys, we can’t have everything…
“But you didn’t think of us? Your blog readers? What will we read after? If the hen has laid an egg or not?”
Eeeeh, I know, I know, my dear readers, but there are thousands of travel blogs, don’t be afraid of that. Undoubtedly not as brilliant, not with such beautiful pictures, not with such sharp analysis, jaunty humor, freshness, and originality of style… yes, I know, most of them seem like little wankers, you’re right, but what can I do? Can I continue to travel the world like a spinning top? Mhmmm, but in the end, why not? Ok, we will see, we will see… Now the photos.


Woman with daughter in Puyo.


A tapir caressed by Sandra, a girl from Quito with whom I had the forest’s first tour.


Flying on a liana.


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


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


Children in the indigenous village.


The head of the village.


Brigitte with a flower.


The armadillo caught for dinner.


Dogs around the pot where the armadillo is cooked.




Girls painting their faces with the seeds of a fruit. The next day I surrendered to their requests, and I 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 first and the Spaniards soon after, it was an important city of the Cañari, one of the many Ecuador indigenous ethnic groups.


Old women in Cuenca.




Live free! (A)