Lodgey and Life on the Road. Stories from South America.

9 July 2011

Ecuador and a travel low

Ecuador: 24 July 2010

Guayaquil. Definitely not my cup of tea. At the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat, I’m already missing the beach. And the shabbiness of Ecuador's largest city is just not doing it for me. 

The street food is weird and bland, and the hostels are grubby, basic and expensive. 

There is a festival on this weekend in Guayaquil but no one knows, or wants to tell us, about it.

Guayaquil and Quito are the places to book Galapagos but, here, it is hard to imagine this would be the case. 

There must be more to it than this?

Lacking the passion to stay and find out, we head north to Riobamba. We discover that the original train where you ride on the roof (and one of its drawcards) has been replaced by a nasty touristy tram and it appeals to none of us. 

We sack it off.

And we move on. Again. To Banos. 

That night I feel unsettled. We’ve moved quickly through several towns because on the surface they’ve looked shabby, a bit boring or just plain dodgy. I question whether I'm feeling this way because Mancora was too luxurious.

I also wonder if it's time for a rethink. 

To be honest, so far Ecuador has disappointed me. I don’t know if we’d just been trying too hard to get the Galapagos Islands and skipped the best parts of the country but I can’t shake the feeling that perhaps I’ve just been on the road too long. 

I lie awake fretting about it.

My spirit is lifted when we arrive in Banos... and then crushed when we discover that most of it is shut down because of the threat of a volcanic eruption and horrendous weather. The hot pools are open but the queue stretches from one side of town to the other. And it's bucketing down.

I feel completely disheartened and wracked with guilt. I’m in a travel low. 

I take some time out on my own to write and to snap myself out of it. I know that the Galapagos Islands will be amazing. But what about everything before and after Galapagos? 

I know that good times are ahead. I just need to get my mojo back.

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