Friday, October 8, 2010

28. Making my way to Cuenca, Ecuador (01/03/07)

The roads in Southern Colombia are incredibly fast (like U.S. interstates) but the problem is that you will be riding at 70 mph around a curve and all of a sudden you see a roadblock requiring you to slow down to 30 mph and cross the shoulder to the other side of the highway. Another problem is that sometimes the highways will suddenly end without warning and there is a circular guardrail that makes you merge into a highway. When I drive in my car and see a guardrail I feel good, but on the motorcycle it is a completely different story because I imagine the limbs I will lose if I collide with a fixed object.

At about 12:00 a new yellow BMW 1200 gs flew past me going up a mountain and made me feel like I was riding a moped. The driver waved and I waved back. When I finally made it to the Equador border I saw the yellow 1200 gs in the parking lot. The line to the DAS (my favorite customs agency) stretched into the parking lot. I saw a guy in line with motorcycle gear and he turned out to be the owner of the 1200 gs. His name was Alvaro and he was a 28 year old Colombian who worked in Quito. I talked with him for a while and he was returning from spending Christmas with his family. I am not proud of my actions here but I asked Alvaro if I could cut in line with him. The cut saved me about an hour and a half of waiting even know I still had to wait 2 hours in line after it.

Alvaro helped me with all of the paperwork on both sides of the border and even offered that I could stay at his place in Quito if I wanted. The idea of a bed sounded really good after waiting 4 hours in line at customs I promptly took him up on his offer. We rode off to Quito and I did my best to go as fast as possible (safely) so that I could keep up with Alvaro who was a great rider.

We did not get to Quito until dark. Alvaro had a very nice apartment in the downtown of nuevo Quito (where all the new buildings are). We ate tuna with mayonaise and ketchup and it hit the spot even know I do not normally like Tuna. The next day Alvaro gave me a great night tour of the city which included the President of Ecuador´s home. We drove a short way past the president´s house and a light suddenly changed to red as I was about to cross the intersection. Fortunately I screeched to a stop (because I heard sirens) otherwise I would have been runover by the Ecuadorian presidential motorcade. The next day I took off for Cuenca, Ecuador for a month of language school.

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