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基斯 Chris | 29th Sep 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (79 Reads)

My first week in Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, happened to be a jazz festival, I learnt it from a flier in a coffee shop. Since there’s not much to do after dinner, (there’s Spanish home work to do, but I it didn’t count), it made a very good entertainment for our broke ass backpackers, cause all the performance were free!

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Thursday night was raining, I didn’t see Anna and Ryan (friends I made in the hostel), so I just made myself some food, chatted with the Italian over the dinner, by the time I finished my dinner and the rain stopped, it was already too late for the first performance of the jazz festival . I went out with my camera anyway, cause the city was so beautiful when it’s wet, especially at night, lights from street lamps, from cars reflected on the cobble stone streets, made it really romantic.

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After taking some pictures of the Cathedral at the main square, I saw the building at the corner which it looked like a court at the day time, the court yard behind the main door was illuminated, and some people were standing inside, all were facing the same direction. I went through the x-ray door, went into the beautiful court yard, find out behind it’s actually Theadro Sucre, where the jazz performance was, but the moment I went in, the German jazz band had just finished and were taking a bow.

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The next night, I went with Ryan after dinner, we’re a bit late because of a bad timing for dinner, and since it’s free, we didn’t really care. This time was a different location, but also with 10 mins walking distance from the hostel, in the really nice auditorium of the Central Bank. When we got there, the door was locked, a local couple were bagging for the guard to open the door, and I helped a little bit by saying “por favor, por favor!”, the guard opened the door to us. Ryan was concerned about the ticket, cause he saw that couple were holding something like a ticket or invitation card in their hand, but I guess we didn’t really need that, we went through without any problem.

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That night’s performance was a Argentine saxophone player, both me and Ryan thought it’s very good, quality of the performance was something you ought to pay for. We’re glad that we didn’t went to the movie the Dutch couple suggested, cause it cost money and it was bad, reported from the Dutches.

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基斯 Chris | 27th Sep 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (93 Reads)

Friday night chatting with the Dutch couple in the kitchen, they say they’ll go to the Cajas National Park the next morning.

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Since I have arrived Cuenca, all I did was finding a Spanish school then study and cook for myself everyday, didn’t really have time to check out what’s around to see. Cajas is actually only about 45mins bus away, makes a very good day trip as well as multi day hike. I’m not a fan of bush walking, especially climbing up, unless the scenery is very beautiful, even beautiful is not enough, it’s gotta be VERY beautiful, otherwise I’ll hate myself.

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The Dutch said they passed by Cajas on their way to Cuenca from Quayaquil, and they think it’s really beautiful, so the next day I decided to go to the Cajas too, cause I have no class on Saturday ! Hurray!!!

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I couldn’t find the bus station the Dutch told me (later in the evening he told me he can’t find it either), so I went to the outskirt of the city where a big market is and a few bus company doing regional service.

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Because there’s no departure in between 7am and 10:20am, so I had a bit of time to venture in the market, had a encebollada (fish soup) and took my first perfect picture of Ecuador (it’s very hard to take a picture I find it flawless) before the bus departed.

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Cajas is famous for it’s many lakes in the mountains, as the bus was climbing up, lakes in all sizes appeared on both sides of the window, amongst a green and hay coloured meadow.

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基斯 Chris | 26th Sep 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (97 Reads)

German travellers are everywhere, they like to travel, especially popular for university students to travel during their Summer holiday, that means their ages are between 19-24, that can be a very annoying ages, cause it’s the ages you think you are the center of the universe, you have a lot of opinions needed to express, you’re life has just began and need to make the most of it. Since they have the same Summer holiday, it’s very usual for them to travel in a group, from 2 to 4 persons or more, so when this restless persona multiply, makes them became the most annoying travellers.

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Maybe it’s my bias, because it happens in my hostel.

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My hostel was very good. Maybe it’s the reason I told the owner by e-mail in advance that I’ll stay for about 2 weeks to study Spanish, they gave me a large room on the top floor, with double bed and big closet, my room is conveniently next to the toilet, and a discounted rate of 5 USD a night. Plus they have a very very nice kitchen and balcony on both sides of the building over looking the river or the old city, and the owners are extremely friendly, I just can’t ask for a better place to stay in this pretty city.

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I had some really good company with other travellers there, like the middle age talkative Aussie, the handsome, mature and solitude Italiano, and the friendly fun loving young Dutch couple.

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But the harmony was broke by a couple of German boys on their arrival night. 12:30 am, I was going to bed, cause I had Spanish class at 9am the next morning, but seem like the noise from the dinning room still going strong, though my room was the furthest away from the dinner room, but the laughter was so loud that I could hear it so clear, I wondered how other people sleep for their beds were next to the dinning room. So I went outside and tell them to be a bit quiet, in a very nice way, the two German boys and three I’ve never seen before local girls was having a blast, they heard what I said, but their faces was like they don’t know what I was saying, then the laughter and noise, banging of chairs and table went on.

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基斯 Chris | 25th Sep 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (104 Reads)

10 days in Cuenca already, and today I had my 8th Spanish class, suppose two more days to go, until Friday, but I really have to put an end on in, even for just one day earlier.

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When I first arrived South America, I learnt a lot of Spanish everyday since I didn’t know a word, but after about two months time, I was kind of stuck in the same place, just enough Spanish to get by, to buy things, ask for directions, but I mostly didn’t understand the answers. When it come to making friends, a two way dictionary couldn’t help much, and it’s really frustrating.

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Cuenca indeed is a very nice city to live in, beautiful, nice weather, small and convenience, people are friendly, so it’s an ideal place to study Spanish. There are many schools to choose from, I had been visit most of them in order to find the nicest and cheapest one, Lonely Planet says it’s from 5 to 7 dollars per hour, but in fact nowhere I can find anything less than 7, anyway, it’s still very cheap, I’m sure in HK I’ll have to pay $300 for a one on one class.

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My teacher is a young woman I guess in her mid 20s, at first I wasn’t pleased that she doesn’t really speaks much English, even if she try to speak, her accent is not good, but then I think it’s good for me on the other hand, so we have to communicate in Spanish only.

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Since I had some basic Spanish, so we went straight ahead to grammar. Fuck me, That’s hard! She kept feeding me the grammar, and believe me, it’s really hard! Unlike in English, we don’t change the verb for different person, like “I eat, you eat, he eats, we eat, they eat!”, but in Spanish it changes like crazy, for EAT, they have “Yo como, tu comes, el come, nosotros comemos, ellos comen”. Of course this is just for present tense, different tense and different person changes differently, let alone those irregular changes.

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基斯 Chris | 20th Sep 2010 | 又出門 | (111 Reads)

Vilcabamba, a small town close to the Peru border, famous for their people’s longevity, also a place that attracts lots of travellers who seeks nature and tranquility.

 

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I checked into a eco-lodge, where the Argentine couple allied with a few neighbours and were granted permission from the government and made that area, about 12 mins walk from the town center, to become a natural reserve. So where I stay was within the reserve, in an adobe house, that means those houses were made of mud brick, these material made houses cool in the day time and warm at night. Also with a very good kitchen and a view over looking the hill, it was really a fantastic place to get away from all the problem in the world and just relax, read a book, breath in the fresh air.

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the herbal tea available in the kitchen, this interesting herb taste like seeweed.

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But in fact, if I wasn’t staying in Rumi Wilco Eco-lodge, I don’t think I would really enjoy Vilcabamba, cause I find this town so weird! I walked around the park in the town center, where most of the business were around there, I saw three real estate agency, and they ALL advertise in English, also many restaurants got big English menu signs selling gringo food (eg. Pizza, steaks, sandwiches), I have never seen so much English in proportion all through South America, not even Cusco, the most touristy town in the world. Everywhere I went I heard people speak English.

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基斯 Chris | 15th Sep 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (104 Reads)

I guess I know why my room was free even it’s festival time.

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Some time between 6-7am, I heard the street cleaning team clearing up the trash that left behind last night, followed by some kind of air gun sound, every time that air gun shot, 2 seconds later will be a big bang! I covered my head with a pillow and try to sleep with it, until I really have a get up and see what happened!…… Jesus, they’re firing rockets!

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Back to bed, and they stopped the rocket some time later, but then the brass band began from a distance, then it got closer and closer, I thought it must be a parade. Yes, it’s a parade, an army of people lead by the brass band and the statue of Virgin, everyone wanted to break through the securities and touch the statue, they went around the corner of the square, right in front of my hotel, all I could see was heads, covered the whole street.

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 For lunch, I went to a famous local coffee shop for their Humita and Tamale. Tamale is available through out Peru as well, it’s actually like the Chinese sticky rice dumpling (), wrapped in bamboo leaf , but instead it’s made of polenta, and inside is usually with chicken. Humita looked like Tamale, wrapped in corn corp’s skin, and inside is a mix of polenta and cheese, they are both very tasty. I had both along with a cup of coffee, only find it strange when they served me a cup of hot milk then gave me a bottle of instant coffee powder.

 But before I do any sight seeing, I needed to go to bus terminal, cause that morning I found out I have lost my credit cards holder which was in my jeans pocket, I must have lost it on my way from Peru. The bus company asked me for the bus number, I don’t have it, cause my ticket was in the card holder too. The staff gave me the address for their head office in downtown, so I went back to downtown, but it happens they were having lunch, so I went to internet café, but when I go back to their office at 3pm, they already finished work! The lady in the ticket office asked me the same thing, about the bus number! I mean, hay! There’s only one morning bus from Piura to Loja yesterday, if you go check it out I’m sure you can find out which bus was that, but it seems like they just can’t be bother to care. So I gave up, made a couple of calls to AU and HK to report lost.

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基斯 Chris | 12th Sep 2010 | 又出門 | (91 Reads)

Last night the bus arrived Pirua at 9pm, a transit hub city in North of Peru, I immediately went to find the bus company that goes to Ecuador few blocks away. When I got there a couple of staffs were sitting outside the empty office, they told me it’s closed, and the departure time for Loja is 9:30am and 9pm. Damn! I have just missed the departure, they say I can’t buy ticket now, gotta go back the other day. Then I saw the bus arrive from the other way, that’s the reason they’re waiting outside.

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I had no idea where I was, only knowing that’s a big avenue with lots of bus company but don’t wanna go too far from the bus station anyway, also I felt unsafe in that town, so I enquired the hostel near by. It’s pretty steep though, 25 soles for a single room with bathroom, but no hot water! So I tried to find a better deal near by, but they’re either full or too expensive, and none of them have hot water, turns out it’s a town that dones’t serve hot water at all! So 20 mins later, I was back to the first one. Took a shower, washed my hair, with cold water, and I am still alive!

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I walk along the avenue to find something to eat, but nothing is really cheap, and I still felt unsafe walking on the street, even I unloaded my backpack in the hostel. Maybe because the road was too wide and the street light was too dim, and it’s a rough transit area, I felt like if I get robbed, no one would ever care. Also the fact that, since North of Lima, all the bus I took need to verify the ID of passengers and a staff will get on the bus and shoot everyone’s faces with a video camera, that looks intimidating.

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The next morning, first thing I did after waking up is to buy a bus ticket, not even have my teeth brushed, and luckily there’re plenty of seats for the morning departure, then I don’t have to stuck in Piura.

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I took 3 hours to get to the border, and before that border,  was a police check point, a policeman came on the bus and check everyone’s ID, he took my passport and asked if I’m American, I thought, if you took my passport why don’t you read it as well? He examined it bit, then asked me to get outside the bus for a further interrogation.

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基斯 Chris | 11th Sep 2010 | 又出門 | (85 Reads)

On my way to Chiclayo, a small town surrounded by important ruins, I changed my itinerary. Instead of spending another week in Peru Northern Andes areas, I will head to Ecuador within a couple of days, cause I just found out from the guide book there will be a big annual festival on 8 of Sep, in a town South of Ecuador. So I stayed in Chiclayo for only one night, why not? I’m not really interested in ruins anyway.  

Without a map, I found my backpacker by walking 15 mins through town center, where there are numerous big birds flying and nesting around the cathedral, also live on the top of street lamp poles, I don’t know their name, they are big as an eagle, black as a crow, and ugly as a witch. And in Chiclayo, I saw my first big size cockroach in 22 months, since Queensland, fortunately it’s on the street, otherwise I would have scream if it’s in my hostel.   

 

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基斯 Chris | 10th Sep 2010 | 又出門 | (93 Reads)

I tuned my alarm at 9:30am, just when I got up, someone was knocking the door, but before I open it, a girl twisted the door knob! I thought how rude are you? A long black hair slim girl in 20s, obviously not the maid of the hostel, she asked me if I know whereabouts of whoever, in Spanish, then the door of room next to me opened, a pretty cute gringo (white guy) was sitting on his bed only in his boxer, that’s the guy she’s looking for. She just turned away and went into that room, I thought “fuck you! You bitch didn’t even say thank you for the disturb! 

Cause I needed to brush my teeth and wash up, I went in and out of the bathroom next to me for a few times. The door was opened, I saw the two of them sitting on the side of his bed, her hand on his lap, I thought, no wonder she forgot to say sorry to me, cause she was desperate for a morning glory!  

Then the door was slightly ajar, I can’t see her anymore, only I can see the door of her room on the same level was wide opened, with cloths scattered around her suitcase. Though I can’t see her, but I can be sure she’s not sucking his cock, cause I can still see him sitting on the bed with his boxer. 

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基斯 Chris | 9th Sep 2010 | 又出門 | (152 Reads)

Before I left Huaraz, the only snowy mountain area in Peru, I got an e-mail on Couchsurfing, from someone called Abraham, he’s a moderator of Trujillo group, he sent me a welcome message, invited me to join the group of Trujillo and if I ever need any help he’ll be very happy to give me a hand.

 

I reply said, “you know what? I’m coming to Trujillo with a over-night bus tonight and shall arrive tomorrow morning”

 

The bus was supposed to arrive Trujillo at 6:30am, but fortunately it was late for a couple of hours, so I could have more sleep on the bus.

 

I took a combi (a mini bus) to a sea side village called Huanchaco, as Lonely Planet suggested, cause it’s only 20 mins away, but it’s more interesting and prettier than Trujillo, a town of working class, nothing exciting.

 

I checked into a hostel which is just one block to the beach, a big house where looked like a middle class family lives, the closed garage next to the entrance parked a nice red car which belongs to the owner. Attached to the family’s house is another 3 story building, that’re rooms for guests, and it’s very nice!!! Some of the rooms even with a bathroom attached, with really hot shower, but I chose a room without bathroom, cause it had a better wifi connection. Clean room, comfy bed, with a TV that didn’t tune right, but who cares when you get strong wifi connection? and a good kitchen to use, it’s only 15 soles!!! About 40HKD!

 

I got a reply from Abraham, told me I can stay in his place, but I told him it’s too late now, cause I have checked into Huanchaco and paid already, but it still would be nice if we could meet up and walk around.

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基斯 Chris | 7th Sep 2010 | 一般 | (212 Reads)

I feel bad about rarely submitting anything to my blog, cause there are people reading out there and I feel like I disappointed them in some way.

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I always treated my blog as a place to showcase my “articles”, that means if it doesn’t has a meaning, or a message, or a good story, and if it’s not written as best as I could, both grammatically and structural, I won’t publish it. And it has to be Chinese, cause I thought people might think I’m pretentious to write in English.

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But the problem is, my Chinese writing and typing sucks, and there are way too many words I forget how to write, so it took me ages to write something in Chinese, and consume too much brain cells too! So it’s a dilemma always, I wanted to put something on my blog, tell my interesting stories to my readers, on the other hand I just can’t get myself together to write a nice article in Chinese!

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