I am in this very nice hotel, however what an adventure in mixed up and confusion to find this place.
Arrived by taxi from Guano to Riobamba early on Sunday morning, this is maybe a good time, however I believe most of the Hotel were full of clients or Ecuadorian people using the hotels for love Hotels. Therefore, they full at the lower end of the spectrum, and on the midrange, they were empty or vacant. I hung around hoping to snag another foreigner with a guidebook for some advice. I have so far only seen two in the city, the fall of the government a month ago has scared off maybe 70 percent of the tourist or I am confused.
However, my goal was to find a safe and secure hotel, this is the funny part, I entered various. Normally a more expensive hotel is not the safe hotel in a city because the management will have a key to the room.
I entered one and there is this sliding glass window with no lock next to the door, so you could enter through the window; however, it does have a hasp for a padlock.
I go to the next, it had a nice room with no hasp or padlock, however the lower priced one with out a shower has the hasp and padlock. I go to the balcony open the door and realize the neighbor can climb over and enter though my balcony.
I entered two or three more and assorted problem, however the mainly the management was hostile and had no interest in being friendly.
I enter a very nice one on the recommendation of a boy selling papers in the street. It is friendly, service is nice, has an internet café inside and they have a great room with color TV, however no bath for 5 dollars U.S.A.
This is the fun part; the house cleaner goes to enter 404 and accidentally puts the key to 404 into the lock of 406, and open the door. A girl screams,
“I am in here.”
I am happy because I hear English and think, great there is one person in the town that is not from Ecuador.
However, I say,
“That is the key to 404, however it works in 406.”
The girl did not comment and I repeated in Spanish, she says,
“Not very secure, is that a problem?”
I am laughing and there is a comedy of errors.
I finally find out the TV has no cable in this room; there is a room with a private bath, color TV, and Cable with all the normal movie channels. HBO, Cinecanal, etc.
I take the room know very well the door locks are a joke a best, however this is the normal five star method, the owner can enter as they please. I go down stair to buy some bread, leave the TV on and when I return the TV is off.
So no security or privacy, normal in South America, however the kicker is I have this huge closet where I can lock my computer and things of value, This will stop them and I know the management is by my instincts safe, unless too much temptation.
Photo of closet, the handles are close enough to put my long padlock on.
The security of hotels on the planet are always bad, it seems that the whole world feels the management of all hotels are honest. They are honest providing you do not give them temptation.
I have a TV, remote, and can drift off into never never land of movies.
Ecuador uses USA Dollars for the money of their country; this means that the USA prints the various types of papers money. However, it appears that Ecuador makes and stamps the coins, this I maybe ok, or probably the value of the metal in the coins may equal the value of the various USA coins.
I asked the Press Attaché in the United States Embassy how the Ecuadorian government discussed or asked about prior to using the USA dollars as the money of their country, he said,
“We read about it in the newspaper, they just went to the USA and purchased dollars and came back, we read it in the paper.”
These are above ground vaults for dead people, this is normally in done in areas where there is no land or where the ground table permanently keeps the soil saturated with water, in this particular situation I have no idea. This is in Guano Ecuador.
This is a bus stop in Ambato, Ecuador and if you notice closely, there is a propane gas tank and they are frying some form or disgusting looking meat, probably pork, hard to say and for sure, I am not going to try to find out.
Sunday May 8, 2005 7:17 AM
I am thinking about getting on a bus in Ecuador and going somewhere, not sure where to go as my destinations are becoming vague. I know that if I hurry I will get nowhere fast, so better to slow down and think about this, in many ways I am dreaming about the beach.
My friend in Riobamba appears to me to be on in left fields somewhere and reality it back at first base, as is common with many Expats, I guess time to find some sanity in a world where ever body wants to be insane.
Just about eight kilometers away from Riobamba, Ecuador is a small city by the name of Guano, I found this quite curious. My friend lives in this city, maybe I should say village, and I am trying to clarify the name. Guano I believe means excrement or dropping of animals. I first heard the word in some caves by the name of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico when I was about 16 years old. There were bats in the caves and they excrement was minded for fertilizer from the cave.
I am pretty sure this is the same word, however the Spanish language changes dramatically from country to the country, plus the language is very vague and is used any way they wish. Languages are not specific, as people would think, more they use a word to mean an abstract concept and the word needs to adapts, the person do not need to adapt. If everyone agrees the world means something, then the word means what he or she wishes.
The evolution of languages especially when coupled with another language is extremely interesting to me, as when you can speak their language, and then you start to understand how a culture thinks. When you can start to talk and think the same, you can empathize with them. Once you empathize with a culture, you probably should go home… hehehe
Languages are almost always mixed with the indigenous language of the area, I believe here the indigenous language is a variety of Quechua.
Cultures to me are not logical; they are more illogical, hard to say a person should understand a culture, more you should feel a culture and stay out of the story. Cultures do not make sense, what makes sense is how close they are too water and how they go about finding food. The rest of culture is sort of hogwash.
Example, why would a person wear a tie on the necks of men?
Nonetheless I am in a small village what I believe is named after the excrement of an animal. There has to be something profound in this or maybe something very mundane.
The village is lying next to a very high cliff, so the village is maybe in a valley and mountain peaks look down, I am not sure yet I understand the place. It is very quiet so far, and all I have seen is a few people in trucks hauling sheep wool to the woman across the street, I guess she is a broker of sense for the sheep wool that comes from the outlying villages.
The internet here may not exist, I may have to return the five mile or eight kilometers to Riobamba to publish this mess, who knows what is possible and I am sure there is a way eventually.
I am making a joke, there is no walking tour in Guano, and however there is always a walking tour wherever I travel. You stand up, walk out the door of your room and walk around the city, probably the best value in the world, and for sure more interesting than any tour I have ever paid for, I have discovered the best places wandering around with no destination in mind. I discover mostly tourist when I follow the guidebook, and they all look the same.
I am trying to go to Riobamba, Ecuador to meet a friend that has been emailing me for years, interesting expatriated guy from the USA, with many opinions on everything. More or less retired I believe however he is definitely keeping his mind busy.
I do not like to be called and Expat or Expatriate as these words have two meaning, one indicating that I am abroad or outside the country, however the other is about try to give up being a Citizen of the native country of the Expat. I would for sure say my friend is trying to give up on the USA citizenship thing; however, this is not me, as I would do about anything to try to keep in good grace with the USA. I am not going to say his name or take photos as I think he is probably trying to keep his identity quiet, this is an annoying need, and hard for me to know when or what to say.
I meet many people in my travels that are hiding, they have secrets, and suddenly I am involved in their mess by accident. They write me, please remove this, I cannot do this, I want this, aagh, you wish you never spoke with them, and all I did was take photos or write about my experiences. They happened to cross my path and not thinking they one day realized oops, he has a website and he does do what he says, he takes photos and puts them on the internet.
I am never secret, I just do as I wish and take photos as I wish, however if a person says to not take their photo, I respect their wish normally, however not always. If you listen to what people, want there is a never-ending list of requirements. I find friends that do not care about anything are better than the ones with any or all the boundaries to obey.
This man is very smart and I am interested in hearing his opinions on how to live outside the USA. The USA is a great place, and I will forever say I am extremely lucky to have been born in the USA; however, the USA is also able to reach and touch any person’s life on the planet in often an annoying way.
I am inside a country that has different laws than the USA, however I feel and believe that the laws of the USA apply to me here, and in reality I need to obey the laws of the USA, and even though it may be legal here to do something, I am for sure not going to go along with the gang. You would be surprised at the number of people traveling that leave their home country so they can break the laws, there are many people with a lot of strange fantasies and desires, and I would guess about fifty percent.
I have fun traveling however, everything is legal here and in my own country, I suppose for me the big benefit is life is cheaper. I really like being rich in a cheap country. The ability to live on 15 dollars a day is a windfall, making life so convenient.
I am going to move Hotels today; I will pay two dollars for a taxi and move very far away with no hassles. This will be a very easy task, however to make a telephone call in this country can be an act of God, not very easy and extremely confusing. There is a trade off some situations are very simple and others are impossible.
I miss the telephone in the USA, most countries the telephone cost per minute, like here in Ecuador it cost me 25 cents USA for every 1.5 minutes, so a 6 minute phone call is going to cost me one dollar. This is very annoying and outrageously expensive; I can take the taxi to the other side of the city for the cost of the phone call.
What this means is you cannot afford to call and ask questions about the prices of anything, you need to go and talk in person at the airlines, the tour companies, the bus stations, anything and everything is done in person. I spend all of my time going to find out how much something cost or how to arrange something that could have been done from home in the USA over the telephone.
Oh well, I am going to go to Riobamba, Ecuador, try my best to stay separated from this mans world, be his friend, not try change the world and listen and learn about his life outside the USA. I believe I can learn a lot by listening to him complain about the USA. If you have traveled, you would thing that comment is funny, I realized it the second I started typing. Most travelers would say they learn a lot listening to Europeans or the world complaining about the USA when they travel. I personally learn about zilch about the USA from Europeans, I learn why they are jealous, angry, confuses, opinionated, and many many hostile feeling they have, however for the most part I just learn they know nothing about the USA, and I get to listen to their prejudices.
Most people traveling from the USA, do not know much about their own country and do not know how the Constitutions of the USA functions so this why they believe they are learning; however they need to learn the USA first before they allow their brains to be manipulated by other countries.
I love to tease the Brits when they complain about the guns in the USA, and I say,
“But it your fault we have the right to bear arms, if your country had not abused their own people so much, the new country would not have demanded these bill of rights.”
Of course, they do not know history, and do not know their own history, so they are just repeating opinions and following up on opinions that in reality they are clueless about, so annoying at best.
The USA, the great experiment in Democracy, which is working, while the rest of the world’s governments are not.
I will go to Riobamba soon and listen, I am sure from the man I will actually learn and not just listen, and there is always room for improvement.
I am in one of my favorite Hotels in the world, it is a family ran hotel in the the older section Quito, Ecuador.
This small Quechua girl is pushing or maybe helping her father to walk round on Calle Rocafuerte in Quito, Ecuador to deliver or sell bananas.
Small girl following who I presume is her father.
This is the Iglesia Santo Domingo with a statue of Mariscal Sucre in front, someone of some importance in Ecuador, however I am not sure who… however he rates a statue.
Wednesday May 4, 2005 5:10 AM
I am in Quito, Ecuador and hoping to change the melody of my travels in South America, time to feel a different channel on this television.
Quito has changed a lot in the last few years, however I cannot explain so easily, the neighborhood is different where I am staying. Now there are few Indigenous or Quechua characteristics and more of the Ex-slave or African Heritage people.
I am going to observe for a couple of days; however, my instincts tell the changes are not better here in the older parts of Quito. There are two major centers of Quito, the new and the old, and travelers more or less can choose.
90 percent of the time, I choose the older sections of any city I wish to visit. The modern areas are easy, convenient, and cleaners, probably safer, however it only makes life less interesting. The architecture in modern cities is boring and predictable, sometime outrageously flashy, however for me lacks any true character. Stale and bleak, like most faceless cities. I enjoy the haphazard manner of a city that was create with no master design, accommodating the horse and cart paths of a time long past.
I met a man from the Netherlands and we shared dinner, he said is name is Swedish and he is very well traveled. He works as a business analysis for a German Utility company. I caught my self saying,
“It is nice to hear you describe your job.’
“Why, because I have a normal job.”
So few of the travelers along the path have an defined life, they are more searching and confused, only defined by what they do today or tomorrow no long term substance.