Ecuador Travel Stories

Spanish Signs

Spanish Signs
The photos are broken today because Ecuador has a block on publishing to my webpages, sometime, maybe, not all the time, however today I will not be able to find a way around the problem, however they will appear in a few days.

This is a sign inside the Royal Class Ormeno bus toilet; they want you to throw trash in the bin. However, I do not understand they English and in my way of looking at things, this means I should throw trash. The word litter is not the same as to they translated.

It is interesting to read signs, however what is more curious is the failure to connect the dots, the failure to check what is written. This is not a sign in one room, in one place; this is a sign in a very large bus line used probably in at least 200 locations. There is a 10 percent of life that is not completed, what should the world do, should they complete the last 10 percent and get it right, or just ignore? I am sure in the end, nobody noticed but me.

A statue in middle of the Central Park of Guayaquil. This park is very beautiful and well manicured; I walked over there the other morning around 7:00 in the morning. Clean and friendly, the park guard came over and asked me who I was, and where I came from, a nice person.

You can always count on parks to be and island in the middle of chaos, the place where nothing is normal, where everything is clean. Sometime I get the notion a city should not spend money to make parks, however I believe the poor and the dirt will always exist, however you have to promote the good.

I took a picture of this statue because it looks nothing like Ecuadorian people, it looks like a Spanish person maybe, and nobody here looks Spanish, like all the billboards and advertisements, they are all photos of people that do not live here.

Travel Living

Travel Living
I was watching some show called Travel Living on Cable TV in my room; I have trouble watching these travel shows or reading travel magazines as they annoy me because they to me are just large commercial and little good advice. They had a backpack for 225 Dollars and a sleeping bag for 225 Dollars and they were saying what a great value that was.

My research tells me I can make a down backpack for around 10-12 dollars USA and a sleeping bag around 20 dollars. The shipping is the biggest expense.

I really do not think people care about the price and they think price equates to quality. The biggest problem for the world traveler is how to replace all the junk you buy after you fall in love with it, most of this stuff cannot be purchased outside your home country. I keep thinking it would be nice to pay the 225 and this pays for two and has the second one shipped anywhere on the planet when you lose or have the other one stolen.

I normally do not buy any gear I cannot buy off the shelf in cities like Guayaquil where they do not sell gear.

Galapagos Islands is 200 Dollars away

Galapagos Islands
The taxi driver told me that I would fly round trip to the Galápagos Islands for 200 dollars U.S. This is a good price if he has a clue, my instincts tell me he has a clue so I may check it out, I have always had a desire to see the Galapagos Turtles.

Cocoa 2005 or Chocolate

7:11 am Monday May 16, 2005

There is a tree by the name of the Cacao Tree. Cocoa and / or Chocolate is processed from the seeds.

In the markets, they sell square cakes of cacao, this is probably more for cooking. The cacao cannot be eaten in this fashion as it is not chocolate, it is more or a bitter type substance. I have not found good Chocolate in South America only in Europe and the USA.

The best place I know to eat Chocolate is in Spain as the Chocolate is cheap and plentiful; however for sure other countries have many varieties however diminishes the pleasure because of extreme expense.

They are drying the seeds in the sun, the same as coffee beans,

These boys are lying in their hammocks and watching television, this room smells like fermentation or possibly rotting fruit.

Although you may think this is some form of serious or educational experience to learn about the Cocoa or Cacao this to the locals is more of a laugh. They enjoy me taking photos, however about the same as if a city boy wanted to take a photo of a cow in Indiana. Nobody would be serious and laugh, they consider me the naïve city person.

Similar to how city people also would look or think in converse when they talk about the farmers.

This makes learning about Cocoa, Bananas or any farm crop difficult. It is an arduous task to meander through the cultural bias and preconceptions that are roadblocks to learning. Either they show me what they think a tourist wants to see or they show me what makes them money. I endeavor to find the proper way to approach people of the world so they present reality without interpretations of me or of themselves, however what we are looking at, the best people do not wish to talk with me.

Delirious and Stir Crazy

Delirious and Stir Crazy
May 15, 7:05 am Thursday May 12, 2005

It has been a terrible night; I am in a more or less good Hotel in the city of Santa Rosa, Ecuador. Every part of my body hurts, lying on my bed hurts my back; there is no way to be comfortable. I strangely have an air conditioner that is for a short while too cold and then I am too hot, there is no balance.

This is not the way I wish to feel, and only time will make it go away. I have no idea what is wrong with me; I have a fever, chills, and cannot concentrate. I think I am delirious; the stir-crazies are driving me crazy, the itchy, shaky, nerve wracking feelings. I want them to stop.

I have been thinking all night too much, I am sick enough I know that I should be careful and not do too much. I am going to stay here until this passes; I think the fever is breaking. Now I need some exercise to gets the blood flowing.

A good walk will flush out the body of all the impurities and oxygenate the blood.

I am so human, nice to know I am fallible and can have multiple problems at the same time. It would be terrible to be perfect.
The Independent Traveler or maybe the Solitary Traveler is a fantasy for people to wander the planet, seeking adventure, life, and whatever the world may give. I do not have this fantasy, I know that sharing a trip, friendship and not being alone in this room is the goal, Not to be solitary or independent, I do not thrive on independence, I thrive on my never ending Traveler Curiosity.

Not a good day, however life is good.
I know I am alone today.

Bananas in Machala

2.45 pm Saturday May 14, 2005

I left Machala in search of Bananas, strange it cost me 60 cents U.S. to go by bus to Santa Rosa, however the taxi cost me two dollars to go see the Bananas. I need to be in a smaller city where the Bananas were closer; a friendly Taxi driver took me out to take photos of Bananas up close. I wish they could empathizes with a person that has never seen Bananas up close, I am wrong, I have, however they do not know this, I still think the world should see the novelty of where they live and stop looking outside.

The put a fundo or plastic bag on the bananas, most are very young and I would think it would be at least another month before they are ready.

The bag is for bugs or insect they say, however I am not talking with experts and they agree with my guesses.

The spore like thing hangs down out of some of the bags, I am not sure, there is not bottom to the bags, and they are open.

Bananas irrigation or large canals are run through this field of Bananas to provide water. I paid two dollars for this trip in a taxi, I believe if I was with another person I could pay the taxi driver for an hour and take a better tour, they need convinced and have very little motivation.

Cell Phone Tax

I suppose this will be confusing, I was reading a blurb or article by the New York Times on a city that is collecting taxes on Cell Telephones.

The USA and most of Europe are very good at collecting taxes, so no worries.

However the rest of the world has a big problem collecting taxes, what this means is there is no money available for Schools, Roads, Social Security or anything that is normally paid for by the government in places like the USA.

I was talking with a girl that earned 200 Soles in Cuzco per month, this is about 60 Dollars U.S., however she was trying to see if she could spend 200 Soles to buy a Cell Phone. I did not say much, however it is a obvious that the temptation to have a cell telephone outweigh the realities of life.

Governments both legitimately, however normally corruptly figure out ways to extract money from their people for their private use. I am not including the USA, Europe or Australia and New Zealand in this mix, however many countries have methods to make the people working in the government rich.

Never thought about this much however Peter in Pak Bara Thailand was always talking about the King of Thailand owning all the cell telephone companies in Thailand. Here in Ecuador there are multiple toll roads or not so much toll road, they are stop points where the collect money. Like Robin Hood and the tax collectors these toll bridges are able to collect money from people and they have no way to stop this.

Salinas in Mexico was suppose to make a fortune off the toll road between Mexico city and Acapulco.

Now it appears that fashion or the need to feel important by having a cell telephone is now becoming the way to extort taxes or extract monies.

On a funny side, if I call a person in Ecuador, I have to pay, not the person with the cell telephone, so what happens is a girl will often give me their number. They do not want to talk to me, they want someone to call them and pay. I have learned never to call, take a taxi, it is cheaper.

Cell Telephone the way of extracting money from the masses.

Agro-Tourism could Save Eco-Tourism

6:58 am Saturday May 14, 2005

Agro-Tourism could save the environment and Eco-Tourism is destroying the ecological systems of the world. A good Eco-Tourist stays at home; otherwise, they build a Hotel on top of the Eco-Systems they think they are saving.

I really am confused, probably angry, about how my fellow tourist can be, addle brained or lacking in curiosity about food. The will spend an unbelievable amount of money searching for a restaurant. However, there seems to be ZERO interest in the growing of food or where the food in the restaurant came from.

North of Machala and around Guayaquil in the plains of valley below the Andes in Ecuador is in my opinion one of the most fertile and interesting crop areas on the planet. Tropical weather creates for the mass growing of Cocoa, Bananas, and Sugar cane, I am told coffee, however I did not see any coffee. The land is flat, plenty of water and it looks like crops grow in abundance.

I am angry think about this because there is no tourism force that helps people to visit these plantations. In Costa Rica, volunteers go and work in Coffee Fincas and free labor competes with the locals. Silly behavior is everywhere, tourist mean well, however will do or purchase anything put in front of them.

I would love to figure out an easy way to go visit these plantations. I pass them in buses and look out the window, trying to figure out a way to respectfully enter a plantation and look around. The only solution I can figure out is to go to small village, stay, hire a taxi to go and visit a plantation. I almost need a truck or car to do this correctly.

Taxi drivers are not so honest on the planet and can cause many problems. They constantly try to maneuver either me or the maybe the owner, I will think about this.

I am considering leaving this morning for a city outside of Machala, my thought was that Machala was a small city and there would be a meeting of the plantations with the ocean. Machala is a very large city, they say around 200,000 people, and however my guess is more around 500,000 and too big to get close to anything but the city.

Machala is an excellent cultural city, full of diverse combinations of groups, or types of cultures. The markets are an interesting dirty mess full of many types of vegetables and crops of the area. Many lemons, and then there is the shrimps, it appears that on the way to Jamila or the area of Jamila is really more of a Shrimp farm area, then a resort area, the whole area smells of fish and my stomach is not good with the fish smells.

I will need to sort this out, I have been through this area before and feel remorse I have never seen a Banana Plantation up close, I am tired of looking at bananas from the bus window.

These are Platanos and not really Bananas, a Banana is smaller, the Platanos is more or less the staple type Banana that is used for cooking and such. A banana here is normally smaller and many varieties.

Bananas field at taken from the window of my bus.

Coco or Cacao the bean for Chocolate.

Sugarcane or Cano de Azucar.
The process of processing sugar or panela is interesting.