The Bish Krew on Tour

Welcome to the antics of the BishKrew on tour round the world. Bish Crew members: Tommy O'Gallagher, Kieran Rafter, James Askew, Tom Fleming, Laurie Howell and Teo Lopéz-Bernal.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Muisne, 15/7/06

Holas,

After leaving the boys looking somewhat tearful in Puerto Lopez I bused down to the chilled out surf resort of Montañita. Here I checked into the cheapest dorm accomodation ever - $2 per night but bats may land on you - and quickly established I was indeed the only person in the place! The owner was a legend however and after a few beers promised to take me out surfing in the morning. It was great fun 3 metre waves are a little large for me at the momment.

On a whim I decided to go to Guyaquil that night and arrived at the absurd (small international airport) sized bus terminal at 11pm. The rough guide describes Guyaquil terrestre as very dangerous with petty theft a common occurance and suggests that on no account should you go there at night! I have to agree although it was pretty fun making myself look as angry as possible and then swaggering arond the underground walkways surrounded by shady characters. Feeling slightly threatened I decided the best move was to jump on the next bus to Cuenca. Sadly it arrived there at 3am.

Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city. The bus station is terrible. Having tried to snatch a few hours of sleep cruelly disturbed by geese carrying peasants (too stingy to fork out for a hostel I know) I took the only course of action, drank 7 cups of coffee and played hacky sack until dawn finally broke. Feeling pretty wired I hit the old town and wandered around the deserted streets looking at the beautiful Spanish architecture and checking out the small saturday market. I then discovered my first choice hostel had shut down but (thanks to the help of my lovely mother) I quickly found another and crashed out for some well deserved rest. Awakened by the guys next door aka the "cronwell rd massive" (bloody Bristol uni students) we hit the bar for breakfast and to watch England lose. More sleep. We then watched Brazil lose. More sleep. Crap day.

In the evening following a quickly grabbed snack overlooking the beautifully lit up skyline we hit "Roca" one of Cuencas biggest salsatecas to celebrate Canada day big time! A good time was had by all and I was sorry to leave at 4am to catch the bus to Alausi. A little innebriated me and the friendly conductor quickly established (in flowing spanish no less) that I had indeed lost my ticket. He let me stay and I am eternally greatfull. I was on the 4am bus on account of the hostel owner telling me the train leaves at 8.30 sharp. It leaves at 11. Luckily 4 other gringas had heard the same and we hung out on the freezing platform.

The devil's nose is awesome! You sit on top of a train zooming down the Andes at ridiculous speeds with dizzying drops and then every so often you have to take the switchbacks and the train de-rails! It was great fun! Having fallen asleep on the Canadian member of the group on the way back (she had obviously been celebrating heavily) I was quickly persuaded that going back to volunteer work was a stupid idea and that I really needed to see Baños.

Baños is awesome! Having found a four person room, meaning I would be sleeping on the floor (I suggested rock, paper, scissors to the girls, but they where having none of it), we went for a meal at Casa Hood, a backpacker institution, for an awesome thai curry followed by "Soy Cuba" some Russian propaganda movie which is aparently a "classic" but is really too intellectual and too artsy for the likes of me. The next day the girls went for massages followed by facials while I grabbed a mountain bike and headed down 22km through the cloud forest. On the way I saw loads of stunning waterfalls, took a cable car and even a $10 dollar bungy jump which looked really good but I was puished for time. The highlight however was going down into the Panillo del diablo, a 50 foot waterfall with a stairway through the jungle into the falls and got soaked. On arrival back in Baños we hit one of the thermal baths from which the town gets its name for a refreshing soak before going up the active volcano Tungurahua. The cloud was so thick that you couldn't see the top from our vantage point but the noises where amazing and it was a great experience.

The next day I attempted to return to work in Muisne at the far end of Ecuador from Baños but after sleeping a little too late I found myself stuck in Esmeraldas City at 11pm. Small children attempted to steal the shoes tied to my bag. Feeling a little sketched out I found a hotel room and hid for the evening. The next day I finally got back to work 12 days later than had been promised and was quickly filled in with the latest gossip. It's better than a soap opera round here!

Work is still pretty fun. We do a lot of the routine stuff on our own now - monitoring shrimp, clearing trails, replanting mangroves but at the same time we also do some cool stuff on the reserve with the definate highlight this week of watching a fisherman reel in a 5foot hammerhead shark with a day working with the local school kids cleaning the village a close second. We also have spent more than a few hours on some great beaches and had a couple of fun nights out in Atacames.

LOL Jx

6 Comments:

Blogger Askews said...

errr.....why were the geese carrying peasants? And come to that why do you think the geese were stingy for not staying in a hostel?

But more seriously you will be interested to see headlines this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald "Ecuadorian villagers flee rain of molten rock" -the BBC website has some stunning pictures of an incandescent Tungurahua where 3000 people have had to be evacuated.

Thanks for the excellent latest set of photos, and for the Ecuador shirt for Maria.
LOL
C

7:08 am  
Blogger rafters said...

Fantastic blog..10$ bungee sounds a bargain.
James..believe you may have some paperwork for the extra Buenos Aires flight that you,K+T booked..i.e.ticket,receipts etc...please keep them,they are needed for the insurance claim for K.
Thanks
LOL
AVW

7:57 pm  
Blogger Askews said...

JJ
A brief update -you have been offered an en-suite room in Robbins -hope that's ok -will send an acceptance. You have to move in on 13th Sept.

Re Madrid have booked the Hotel Laura -http://www.room-matehotels.com -should be ok as has plasma tv and all the usual mod cons etc -seems remarkable value.
LOL
C

9:59 pm  
Blogger Askews said...

Great to hear your news! So pleased to see that you have travelled so much in Ecuador and that you continue to enjoy your work.
Please don't forget to let my Mother know when you are planning to arrive back in Quito- she is really looking forward to you staying with her. The "curfew" will be interesting and very good for your soul, I am sure!
All my love,
SA

8:02 am  
Blogger OGallagher said...

The adventures sound more amazing as time goes on! It all seems so boring back home.Still Tommy managed to nearly break his ankle here ( on a trampoline) never mind bingee jumping, Sky diving, 4 wheel jeeping. Not able to walk and an impressive sized ankle!
Hope you continue to have a fantastic time
J

9:24 am  
Blogger rafters said...

Just to say welcome home to Tom,Teo+Laurie..hope you and parents all have a good reunion on Wed.
AVW

5:47 pm  

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