Horses and Guinea Pigs

Best sleep of the trip. Cool air coming in through the window and cozy under the weight of warm, heavy blankets. Felt like waking up in Scotia.

The hostel serves up a fairly simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit and a bun. Again we get the worst coffee ever. Warm milk. Add your own instant coffee mix. Blahhg

Time to play shower roulette. We’ve seen it all in the places we’ve stayed. Especially if you count the showers MacKay and I graced on the Mongol Rally. Lots of showers with only cold water, some that didn’t run, some so scummy you’d never step foot in them, sometimes filed with broken stuff, sometimes no shower at all. Around 25% of the time you’ll actually have one with hot water and a nozzle above your belly button. When it happens it’s heaven.

I grab my towel and go to scout things out. Come on hot water. Come on hot water.. rip back the curtain and spot this big black electrical device attached to the nozzle. Yesssh! A bunch of places have these too, they heat the water as it passes. Water on and its working. Ohh nice and warm. Hop in and get soapy. Suddenly things get quiet. No No noooo, the heater went off. Freezing water starts dumping on me. Damnit. Hop back. Look up at the thing and notice all the wires are tapped together with electrical tape. Oh that’s great. I start wiggling the wires. Hmmmm nada. Standing in 2 inches of water and I’m just asking to get electrocuted. Again. I move the hot/cold lever all the way to cold, then all the way to hot. The heater sparks a giant blue crackle. Whoa fuck. Alright fine. I do the whole stand out of the freezing water thing and splash clean yourself all goose bumps and why is the coffee so bad here cranky pants bullshit shower montage. Moving on to my hair, I’ve got near dreadlocks after a few days going skanky. Shamp up and duck my head under the freezing water. Kraaaaveerrp. The fucking heater kicks in and melts my brain with scalding hot water. Yeeeow I jump out of the stream and it’s all wet tiles. I slip and grab the shower curtain and pull it right off the rod and we both tumble into the tub and the water is screaming down on my shin burning burning the hair off. “[Insert every known curse word]”. I scramble up and turn this cursed shower off. Reassemble the shower curtain and get out. Jeeeezas. Start putting clothes on and realize i haven’t rinsed the shampoo out. Awww fuck it.

Back in the room i tell Drisdelle about my convo with MacKay last night. Grab my phone and look up used cars in Quito. Yikes! Looking expensive. Sort low to high. At the top of the list, cheapest car in Quito, is a 95 Hyundai Accent with 250 thousand kilometers on it. That’s gonna be a piece of shit. Whoa It’s 7800 bucks!?? Wtf! Guess that plan is shelved.

Alright Teleferiqo time. We grab a cabbie and it turns out to be the same cabbie as yesterday that had brought us here. Short ride across town and we start climbing up towards the cable cars. Despite my haunted shower experience and the lousy coffee in Ecuador, in feeling great. Rewired. Elevation maybe?

A return ticket up the Teleferiqo is $8.50. The gondola rips you up 4100 meters to an overlook above Quito and just below a big black volcano (whose name I’ll have to look up).

Our cable car companions consisted of a nice older Ecuadorian couple and a fashionably gay German dude whose lips were all tinged the color of Macdonald’s orange drink and he incessantly chewed gum like a cow. The girl in the Ecuacouple buries here head in her husband’s chest. She’s terrified of heights. “Ohhhh, it’s not even my first time”.

When we get to the top there is an immediate view point overlooking Quito, and it is spectacular. 3 dudes in Megadeth shirts are jamming out with a couple guitars.

We walk around the cable station to a view on the other side. Some dude on a wooden pan flute is tearing up Sound of Silence. More scenery shots and we’re off down the only path out of the complex. Walking up it we can definitely feel the elevation, but the air is crisp and clean. A nice change from the black Diesel haze we’d been sucking back on the road.

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We pass by a local vendor and grab some water from her for the hike or whatever we do up here. Another lady is hanging out with some alpacas and selling alpaca themed trinkets. Kinda cute we nab a few. And get some pics

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Nailed up along the trail is a sign that just says horses. We all get pretty excited. Can you rent horses up here? That would rock. Sure enough around a corner and up a little ways is a horse corral with some colorfully adorned locals running it. One girl comes over to us and she speaks English all good and stuff. You can rent horses for an hour, go up around the trail to see the volcano, and have a guide. 10 bucks. We’re in. Do you want ponchos? Oh hell yeah!

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Horseback riding turns out to be the best thing we’ve done yet. Amazing views of both Quito and the Volcano. A cute Horse dog came with us. At one point it was rolling in the grass happy as can be. Horse back photography skills need some work but we got lots of good pics. I took my first horseback selfie.

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MacKay got a big grey power horse who took the lead most of the time. I had a pretty brown horse with a black mane. He kept pretty close to MacKay’s horse. The guide taught us to make this choo choo choo sound to get the horses moving. Choo Choo Choo! Vamanos! I keep trying to pass MacKay with some Days of Thunder shit. No dice. Alpha horse always cuts it off. I’ll get you MacKay!

Drisdelle’s horse kind of had a mind of its own. At one point it just start galloping away from the trail and down a steep incline. Drisdelle was scared shitless. “Whoa! Where are we going, man!!” The horse kept going off the path and off roading it, or lagging way behind.

I had a stoner horse that had the munchies. Kept eating grass all the time. On the go or would stop and chow down. Choo Choo Choo vamos. This horse was hungry.

We had a great time on horseback. The views up there were some of the best on the trip so far and watching Drisdelle freak out is always a good time.

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As we got closer to the end i kept choo choo chooing trying to pass MacKay’s big grey steed. There was a slight downhill to the corral and all the horses picked up speed. Choo Choo Choo! Here I come MacKay! Whoa my horse was motoring now. I think he spotted the corral and got excited. Vamanos! MacKay angled over for the block. Nope! I gallop on passed, spurring my horse faster faster, poncho flitting behind. MacKay was in hot pursuit. Drisdelle’s horse was off looking at flowers. “Here I come Murphy! I’m gonna getcha!”. Swing the reigns right for the block, and we’re through the corral and into the midst of the other horses, slowing to a stop. Good horse. Nose pat.

We were all thrilled. That was the most fun we’ve probably had on the trip so far. Gotta do more stuff like that. Great view, great trail, great fun.

Back down along the path to the Teleferiqo we took a bunch of panorama shots. Kept running behind each other to get in the pic twice.

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Return into the city and we’ve worked up a decent appetite. We’d heard you could get guinea pig here in Quito so that was our next mission. We’d missed out on beetle tacos in Guanajuato. Cow fetus in Popayan. We did get to eat grasshoppers, which were good, but then I had one stick in my throat for four days. Now we want guinea pig.

It starts to rain a little. Agent Getz is directing us to a restaurant. Find one. Could be it. There’s a harp player. We sit down and grab menus. Groundhog Day is on the TV. What? That’s a weird thing to keep have happening. Not only is there no guinea pig, the entire menu is fish. No go for MacKay and me.

Around the corner we find the place Getz was looking for. Looks nice. We head in and up to the second floor. We order up a plate of nachos, some coffees, and a full guinea pig. Then we sit there for over a half hour. The nachos were weaksauce, the coffee was more terrible instant crap, and the guinea pig was.. interesting. It came to the table, flayed on a plate with little tin foil balls on it’s feet. It was fairly small and kind of charred. MacKay gives it a kiss on the cheek. We poke at it a bit unsure quite where to start. Then we each grab a leg and pry the thing apart like barbarians. Hands are getting all greasy, and we’re each making a pile of bones on our plates. I’ve pulled less bones out of my teeth eating chicken feet. Very little meat on the tiny fella and parts were pretty burnt, leaving a lingering char taste like if you licked your BBQ grill clean to start the season. Very disappointing. It was 30 bucks too. Total novelty tax.

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We head back to the hostel. Grab some blog supplies and decide to just take it easy for the evening. We get some skype time in with our biggest fan too

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Philip comes through the hostel gate with two other girls staying here as well. Katrina from Tasmania, and Marion an Asian Canadian from BC. We hang in the outside area for a bit, swapping info and joking around. Katrina is a kindergarden teacher who now lives on the sunshine coast. She’s pleasant and reserved. Marion is kind of a PR person for an eco-hostel in a remote area outside Mindo. She recruits people to go out there, learn Spanish, and live on a sustainable farm. She’s got the whole Vancoolerthanyou vibe.

Philip asks if he can use the computer for 3 minutes. Why is everything 3 minutes with this guy? It takes him 6.342 minutes to figure out the Internet is down.

A new dude shows up at the hostel while we’re there. Kind of a hippie guy nabbed Micha’el from Israel. Told him we’d met an Israeli guy in Medellin. “Oh, I’m sorry”. Ha, no he was cool, he was rolling super gaggers and could tame wild pink elephants. 2 minutes later Micha’el has a bag of weed on the table. No thanks bro.

We polish off our blog supplies and are hungry again. That guinea pig didn’t really fill us up. Philip recommends the magic beef. Magic beef? haha what? Nine! Magic Bean! Ahhh ok. He takes 3 minutes and draws us a map to it.

The Magic Bean is a swanky joint filled with gringos. The food is superb though. I got a chicken thing wrapped in battered bread and stuffed with veggies and sausage. Deeericioushh. We nabbed a bottle of vino and when the waiter brought it and served me the taster i said No. Take it back. Slight pause and then we all started laughing. The guy thought it was hilarious and kept joking around after that. Had a nice little time there.

Back at the hostel we’re all standing outside around the one drinking table with everyone again. It’s pouring rain. The conversation spins all over the place, some highlights being:
– How Tinder is the new sex tourist super app
– Strange fetishes like panty vending machines in Japan that come with vials of urine.
– That lead to White power milk.
– We invent the drink measurement system gloops and decigloops

People start heading in and we’re on another trip for supplies. So much for taking it easy i guess. We get back and After Hours Katrina is there. She’s going out of civilization tomorrow to learn Spanish in some remote area, so she wanted to stay up and hang with ‘normal’ people for the last time in a while. It turned into story time. We all swapped stories over some ron in between car alarms going off. (They must have the most sensitive car alarms in Quito. Seems one is going off every 20 minutes. Reminds me of that Dane Cook skit). The stories are mostly travel related. K tells us about the 2 times she’s been mugged. Miche’al comes back and joins in. There’s a huge discussion about tattoos, K thinks MacKay will regret his Fistandantilus tattoo. Micha’el says sure there are lots of stupid tattoos around, but totally understands getting something to commemorate an event or remember something by. I can get behind that.

At exactly midnight Getz houdinis to the room. MacKay and i are fired up at this point though and proceed to stay up with K and M until a large neon crane swooped down, grabbed us in its beak, and whisked us away to Pluto. Got back just in time for bed.

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