Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ipiales (Ipi' al ez)

We left Popayan to ride to Ipiales.  We intended to stay the night, cross the border and make it to Quito, Ecuador by the afternoon.  We got to Ipiales around 4:30p, before dark, which is good.  However, it seems we have a nack for finding the Farmers Markets as they are closing down.  And for Ipiales, this was no different.  Cars, taxis, buses, trucks, vendors, pedestrians, people carrying stuff; all in a hurry to beat the now nonexistent traffic flow.  In the middle of this, here we are "the Gringos" on big and wide motorcycles.  We don't get a lot of people honking at us, because I guess we are a novelty, something more to be observed.  

I didn't take many pictures here and what I did is on my camera coming back from the Galapagos.  If I get it back soon I will post them up here.

Anyway, we stopped at one hotel, who unbolted their three locks on their door to let me in, and inspect the room.  The room was fine, but they had no safe parking.  So on to the next hotel.  We had several in the GPS but there were a lot more just on the road.  We found one of many on a little traffic circle.  I went in to ask the price and look at the room.  It was 20,000 COP or about 11 bucks.  I looked at the rooms quickly and we decided on two or $22.  The parking was down the block for $1 / night.  

Of course after doing the deal, the rooms were on the third floor, 35 steps, three trips, all our luggage ...arggggh!  Once the bikes are parked and we are in our room, Chuck comes by to ask; "does your room have a lid on the toilet, not just porcelain?" I laugh and say yes.  He says his doesn't.  He went down to inform the female desk clerk.  I finish unpacking and meet him downstairs, where Chuck has drawn a picture of a toilet with no lid and also he informed me that he took her into her little toilet behind the desk to show her what his was missing.  I am still laughing.  He said he got it all worked out, but never did get a lid. :-)

So, I am thinking I got the best deal with the room because of the toilet lid.  But then I went to take a shower and didn't have any hot water and no shower head, just a pipe.  Chuck says he has hot water and a shower head so I borrow his shower.  

Let me tell you a little more about this hotel, on the walls were pictures of naked women, veiled and posed in  very suggestive manner. That was the first hint.  The second seemed like the desk clerk was surprised that a couple gringos wanted the room all night.  Finally about one in the morning a man with a couple of women came into the room across the hall, turned up the music and started partying.  Mean time the traffic in the circle was building, honking horns, loud music, people yelling.  Thank goodness for ear buds.

We were out of there fairly early, and on our way to the Border.  The border crossing was really a non-event other then standing in a long line at immagracion.  Then over to DIAN for checking off for the motocycle.  From thirty yards away, he looked at the serial numbers on the forms, then the bikes, "si! no problema!, ciao!"  And we were off!

The two gringo's.  Actually we heard something today that is probably better than the two gringo's, a man in the old town square of Quito came up to us and called us Los Gigantes!  The Giants ... hahahaha.  

We made it to Quito, and stopped for a quick bite to eat and some help finding the address we were given for the Hostel.  The mapping program would not find the address.  Quito is a city with a population about the same as Houston.  We drove from probably eight or ten miles into the heart of the city, finally stopping at a little Panaderia.  Had a quick bite and trapped a fellow customer into helping us with the address.  He looked at the address and said tres bloques directo y dos bloques izquerda.  We were within five blocks of the hostel.  Try doing that in Houston without any idea of where you are or where you are going.

We made it to the hostel, met Maja, got the motorcycles secured, got unpacked and ready for our trip to the Galapagos.  I have photos, but I left my camera in the van coming back from the islands.  They found my camera but another of the guests is bringing it back with her when she returns today.  Hopefully then I can add some photos.

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