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基斯 Chris | 23rd Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (249 Reads)

After leaving the party town Montañita like a zombie, I arrived Puerto Lopez an hour later, The hostel I wanted to stay was out of budget rooms, so I went to another one round the corner whom the owner was having a chat in the hostel I initially checked.

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6 dollars for a dorm bed wasn´t a very fair price, but for two nights I stayed there, I had the whole place for myself, not just the whole room! I have no complain. Since the restless night in Montañita, I didn´t want to talk to anyone, didn´t want to social with other traveller, not even want to hear anyone talking, so it happened to be the perfect place for rehab.

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I spent the first day sleeping, when I woke up all the shops are closed, all I could buy was eggs, fortunately my grocery bag had some basic supply, so that night´s dinner was steamed rice with 3 fried eggs and soy sauce, some kind of home sick cure.

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Then the next day, I bought some really big and fresh prawns from the market, $2.5 for a pound, very very cheap, that´s one of the reason I visited the coast of Ecuador, for it´s fresh seafood. Along with some veggie, I made a Cantonese style Ketchup prawns, then Ecuadorian ceviche for the dinner.

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After paying the room and food in the market, I only had $2.6 left in my pocket, so I went to the bank´s ATM, but damn! They refuse to take my card! The Western Union in town didn´t change traveller´s cheque either, so there was nowhere I can get money in this town.

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基斯 Chris | 22nd Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (156 Reads)
Penguin

The Galapagos is the only place on earth that penguins exist in the Northern hemisphere and live on the equator. When I was in Peru, Nazca, a guy who’s been to the Galapagos told me he saw penguins swimming under the water, and they’re fast like bullet, steering like UFO, leave a trail of bubbles. Well, we didn’t see that, while we were cold and wet in the water, they were standing still on the rocks, just about 7 of them in total, a little too little, better than none though.

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Sea lion

They are everywhere in the Galapagos. As I’ve seen sea lions quite a few times in New Zealand and one time even got nose to nose, so I wasn’t too excited to see sea lions in the Galapagos, except the baby sea lions, they were really really cute. They would make noise to ask for milk from their mother, suck their mother’s nipple loudly like Maggie does (the Simpsons), and looking at you with great curiosity.

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They were cute, but after a few days, I was actually quite sick of seeing sea lions anymore, because they’re really smell and shit all over the place (of course), and you don’t see much things new from them except from sleeping.

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But swimming with sea lions was really a great experience. While they are on the ground, sometimes they don’t like human get too close to them, many times people standed next to them for pictures, very often they got frightened by their roars. But when they were bathing or swimming in the water, they wear a different personality, became so friendly and playful!

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基斯 Chris | 18th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (181 Reads)

7 days on a yacht to visit the Galapagos, the no.1 UNESCO natural site, it’s a very unique experience, if not enjoyable, of course there’re good times and bad times.

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Weather

First talk about the good times. I think I got some weather luck, cause it’s been cloudy and rainy for a whole week in the Galapagos, but the day I started my million dollar yacht trip, suddenly the sun came out, rain cloud disappeared, and we’ve got a blue sky back drop almost everywhere we went. The sun was strong, and you get burn easily. My legs undergone 45 mins tanning on the deck without sunblock, then it’s burnt and felt so hot and itchy at night.

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Rough sea

Before I book the trip, I must have forgot the fact that I’ll have to live on a boat for a whole week, especially for a yacht cater for only 16 guest, means the yacht is smaller and the sea will rock your world, upside down.

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Meals on the yacht was buffet style, which is good, so you choose what you like and the size of your portion. From my take-the-best-advantage personality, the first dinner on the yacht I ate so much. Then the boat started to sail around 10pm to another island, it started to rock, the noise of engine was loud, any activities would only give me serious sea sick, so I went to sleep. But I was still full, therefor I can’t fall asleep, not until I threw up in the toilet and sweated all over my face.

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基斯 Chris | 17th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (131 Reads)

I know Montañita is a party town, also has the best surf of the country, I don't surf, I don't party, but since it's on the way of other coastal towns I plan to visit, I gave it a chance to see if I like it or hate it.

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The bus stopped in the middle of a dusty main road, not a trace of surf or party, but when I turned around a couple of corners, bars and restaurants unfolded in front of my eyes. Establishments adorned with bamboo and palm leaves, lamp shades made of bamboo and straws, colourful lanterns decorated everywhere, loads of scruffy smelly hippies selling accessories on the floor, as well as knitting their product with one end tied to their big toe, restaurants pulls out sushi, pasta and pizza, it's actually like Pattaya, but without Asian tour groups pointing their fingers at anything and old westerners wearing khaki shorts and Hawaii shirts. There's something in the air, youth and alcohol.

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The hostel I logged into two story high timber big house, first two floors are rooms and penthouse is a canned sardine style dorm, with only a saggy mattress and a treasure box for your belonging, cost 3.5 a night, I rather pay double for a room with ocean view.

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I met an Australian surfer from Gold Coast on the bus, we went to that hostel together, so we end up sharing a room cause there's no more single room left on a busy Saturday evening.

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That morning I just came back from the Galapagos on a 9:40am flight. First thing I did after arriving Guayaquil was to go to the bus terminal next door and bought a ticket to Montañita, then took a bus to Roxanna's house to collect some of my thing I left behind. I had 80 mins to go and return, but when my bus got to town centre, I only had 35 mins left, and it should take another 20 mins or more to get to Roxanna's house, so I got off and jump on a taxi.

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When I got to the bus terminal, I was already 17 mins late, fortunately the bus waited for me, but perhaps it's unfortunate, cause if I arrive Montañita 1 or 2 hours later, I won't check into that hostel, and if I missed that bus, I won't meet that Australia guy who sat next to me then ending up sharing a room with him, that leads to my single worst night ever in South America.

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基斯 Chris | 16th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (88 Reads)

Going to the Galapagos is a big spending, two weeks in the Galapagos including one week on a boat trip cost me two months on the mainland.

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So should I see the amazing wildlife and landscape that inspired Charles Darwin for his evolution theory? Or save that money so I can travel two months else where longer?

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After some consideration, including the factor that I don’t know when will be the next time I come to South America, and the owners of Rumi Wilco lodge in Vilcabamba who were guides in Galapagos before they have their children, gave me some really encouraging information about the islands, I thought, ok, I’m going.

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Since Alicia, the lovely Argentine owner of Rumi Wilco lodge, told me it’s better to book my boat after arriving the islands, so I bought myself a one way ticket 2 weeks in advance on the internet, with LAN, the good Chilean airline that just launched their new routes to the Galapagos, not much cheaper than the local airlines, but they are good and I can earn mileage.

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It’s been 4 months more since last time I took a flight, felt like ages ago, probably I have taken too much bus trips. I flew from Guayaquil, the second largest city of Ecuador, and left all of my winter cloths there, otherwise my luggage will be over weight.

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The LAN made you fell the excitement before you arrive there, even the snacks box are exclusively printed with sea lions and giant turtles.

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基斯 Chris | 13th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (146 Reads)

I tried quite a few good pork sandwich before, I spend the first 9 years of my life in Macau, they made really good one, especially the bun. Few years back, working with Suzi Wong on her cable TV shows gave me opportunity to try some of the best pork sandwich in Hong Kong, I remember the one I tried in New Territories made a really succulent pork chop. When I was in Lima, I tried their famous pork sandwich in a historical bar called Juanita, their marinated onion gave a really refreshing balance to the sandwich. But there’s nothing compare to the pork sandwich I tried in Guayaquil, it blew me away!

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基斯 Chris | 12th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (62 Reads)

From Cuenca to Guayaquil, the second largest city of Ecuador, only 4 hours by bus, temperature dramatically raised from 18 to 32.

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Originally I got an offer to stay in Santiago’s house, a local friend I made in Cuenca, cause he go to the university in Guayaquil every weekend and go back to Cuenca on Sunday, so he rent himself a flat there. But instead of meeting him at the bus station for the key and stay in his flat by myself, I took another offer from a couchsurfer member.

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I was waiting for Roxanna, my CS host, right outside the bus terminal. It was sunny, hot, humid and busy, everything reminds me of Hong Kong, the unwelcoming part of
Hong Kong. I was sweating like a dog!

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Finally Roxanna arrived 20 mins later, accompanied with her mom, she was taking her mom to her friend’s home somewhere about 30 mins by car in the suburbia.

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基斯 Chris | 9th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (101 Reads)
It was Monday evening, I was doing Spanish homework in the dinning room, suddenly Archi came into the kitchen with a frightening news “there’s a guy in this hostel got a ???, it’s highly contagious and it’s deadly.” I said, wait wait wait, what is that again? Anyway Archi described it as something like a Cholera, suffer from it will have severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

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“So who is it?”

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“it’s a guy from downstairs, but I saw him up here, he’s tall and thin” Archi said, and  making his way to boil a large pot of water to sterilise all the cutlery. Didn’t look like kidding, he might be over reacted, but he made it sounds really scary.

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“Is he with black curly hair?” I asked, think I should have seen him.

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“Curly hair, don’t remember if it’s black, but he has a blond hair friends always hang out here.” Archi said with his fast and nerve racking tone.

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“Is he called Daniel?”

“yeah, I think that’s him.” 

“Oh I just had a dinner with him last night!”

“I wish you didn’t share food with hands.”

                                                                                               

“Actually yes, he grabbed some raw onion with his hand for salad just before me!”

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基斯 Chris | 6th Oct 2010 | 慳慳o地去南美 | (124 Reads)

Me and Tim were on the local bus to Banos, which is a thermal district in Cuenca. Tim suddenly asked me what does “camino” means in a tone of curiosity, I said it means “walk”, then Tim said, I just saw a road sign saying “camino a Banos”. So we get off the bus immediately, and started walking following the sign.

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After every few corners there was another sign “camino a Banos” directed us to the next one, but after seeing the third one, there were no more signs and there was no sign of Banos either.

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I met Tim in the hostel, he’s a German university student having a Summer holiday, did some internship in Quito, now travelling around Ecuador, total for 2 months.

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One afternoon he was carrying his backpack sitting in the dinning room, I asked if he’s the German guy staying in that room, because I didn’t recognise him after he cut his hair. He was actually doing some excise with backpack full of water filled bottles, he said since he left Germany he’s lost 12 kg of muscles, that sounds unimaginable, cause I think he’s just the right size now!

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He seems didn’t have much to do in Cuenca, cause I saw him in the hostel all the time, he told me actually he was here for a local girl he met on the bus, so it’s kind of not leaving Cuenca until he got her. But it’s not an easy task, he told me she came from a very conservative family, she can’t go out with him and when he visit her home they can’t be alone for more than 5 mins, that’s too short to do anything, Tim said.

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As a body builder, he likes lean diet, and he told me how he wish he could make sushi because the sushi selling in Cuenca is very expensive, so I taught him to make sushi, used a card board from a corn flakes box to substitute a bamboo mat. It was quite successful, I must say, Tim was really delighted and since then is very enthusiastic about making sushi.

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We kept walking, and I started to question where the hell is Banos? I asked a old couple in front of a small grocery store, the woman told us to go straight ahead, but her husband told us to turn right then something, something I didn’t understand what it was, but since the grocery store owner agreed on keep walking straight ahead, so we kept going.

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They say it’s about 6 blocks, but in this one straight road we didn’t see any establishment that looked like a spa or hot pool, so a lot of questions started to raise, why that sign says “walk to Banos” but it’s not within walking distance? Why the map from the tourist info centre didn’t mention we need to walk after getting off a bus? There’s another bus that runs along the endless road we’re walking, shall we jump on that bus? Where the fuck is Banos?

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