I have been dreading writing this blog for months. Hence the backup and delay on current blogging. We had a very small taste of car problems (less than 12 hours) in Colombia, but Ecuador is were we got hit for reals. Although we had some low times, we did have some really great times in Ecuador. We were a little bummed because after struggling through Ecuador it was finally clear that since they didn’t sell dodge trucks or parts that we would have to hurry through to Peru to have the work done. We had been looking forward to hiking in the mountains, and these are the big boys, but it wasn’t to be. We would have loved to hop over to the Galapagos on a last minute deal, but Alex kept us on mainland. I won’t bore you with details of our car troubles, but what it comes down to is we needed a new clutch and it took a lot of visits to several mechanics before it came down to either going back to Colombia or forward to Peru to get a clutch. It meant that most of our time was spent in Quito, which is thankfully a really sweet city to be stuck in!
In fact, AJ’s mom Fiona and brother Seans’ visit coincided with Ramona’s biggest meltdown. But first we picked them up and had a couple sweet days in Quito before we headed to the beach. We rented a house from airbnb for a couple days that could only be accessed during low tide because there was only beach access and you had to time it just right to be able to cross the river that fed out into the ocean. Once we made it to the house, it was kind of a perfect jungle house on the beach. One afternoon we sat under the palapa watching fishermen slowly bring in their catch, and once they had we offered them twelve bucks and they offered us everything they had caught! Needless to say, we had a feast!
After a week playing on the beach and swimming in the warm equator water, we headed inland to go hike some mountains. Unfortunately, this is where Ramona decided to completely fail on us. To keep it short we were heading up a mountain pass (in the dark during a torrential down pour) when we started going around a hairpin and Ramona shuttered to a stop. After a slight panic during which a semi carrying an obviously heavy load stalled behind us and several semis from above and below started skating around us, AJ somehow coaxed her to the top of the hill where we spent the night.
This landed us back in Quito by getting a tow truck and the four of us riding in the truck on the truck which was incredibly scary and weird. But, like I said, Quito was a fantastic city and it just happened to be Samana Santa, or Easter Week, and everyone was celebrating with food and parties and decorations. We took it all in and had a great time. Some of our favorites were the Guayasamin museum, the telefirco gondola that takes you to the peaks above Quito, and in Old Town Quito there is an ancient cobblestone street that winds narrowly through the old city filled with restaurants, chocolate shops, and artisans stores. Before we knew it, we had to say goodbye to Fiona and Sean. Although it was a little bumpy with the car, we still had such a blast with finally having some quality family time.
I have to admit that Ramona was not only bumpy in Ecuador, but I also am to blame. I may or may not have left our passports in the nightstand in Mompiche, eight hours and tide-dependent access into the beach house we had rented. Hehehe, oops! We ended up having a really great time heading back out there and parked on the beach next to a couple from Venezuela who cooked us dinner one night, some of their famous arepa’s. Then we headed south on the coast to the “poor mans Galapagos” and got to do some diving thats pretty close to Galapagos, just minus the sharks other big creatures.
We were having more car trouble, because it never really got fixed, so long and short we headed to Peru to finally get a new clutch. We left a lot untouched in Ecuador, so it might just need to be on the list of future travels.