My start to Ecuador happened at the border crossing when I accidentally left my passport outside on an open table, god bless the guy who spotted it and the obvious connection to the nearby dumb Irish backpacker Standing in Que.
We arrived in Guayaquil for a night, the large port city south of Ecuador. Armed with two other backpackers,Norway and England, we kitted a night at the funky monkey backpackers. The heat, mosquitos and apparent size of this city were so prevalent that a concensus of one night was agreed upon. The next day we departed our separate ways. I was heading ro Riobamba, just over 4 hours of a journey away. It would be the first time in a while I would be alone and arriving into a more secluded, less-touristy location of Ecuador. I was the only white boy on that bus with miniscule Spanish, but like always you hack away at it and although people laugh or ignore you, my attempts always got me by. Someone always seems to help. I was constantly watching my bags in the under compartement of the bus through the window. Many stories floated about of bags been stolen on buses here. I kept my smaller bag on my lap or between my legs, particularly nervous however if I fell asleep.
The journey for the most part was pure vegetation wilderness. So green, loads of jungle and undeveloped, run down road side villages periodicallay cropping up. About halfway through the journey a little schmozzle broke out on the bus. The driver met a speed ramp on the road or something similar at too quick a speed causing the bus to violently jump. It caused a young girl to the rear of the bus to hurt herself badly, with the shrieks of pain causing all passengers to turn in both curiosity and panic. The father of a child was not impressed, and with a baseball cap and covered in tatoos, forgive me for the stereotype but I had a feeling where this was going. He confronted the driving assistant and hit him with 5 blows to the head in anger. The poor chap retreated to the head cabin and the remainder of the journey was spent within tense silence. I had got the urge to stop it, but the feeling of being a "fish out of water" made me think twice.
I arrived in Riobamba, leaving the bus terminal and wandering down the main street in search of a hostel I had read about. Nobody knew the name so I had to find an internet cafe to get directions and get there by myself. It was getting dark and the stares you get while you walk down the street with a backpack are intimidating. Thankfully I found the place tucked away down the bottom of the town just before darkness hit.
Anyway, I had come here for really only one reason and that was to attempt to climb the local famous volcano, Chimborazo :-)
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