Then it was time to "Quit Quito" somewhat reluctantly as it is a nice city.
We left BMW Motorad where the bikes were serviced and started the long journey south.
Time to go
But to where?
As we left Quito it was hot - very hot. Then a strange thing happened. It cooled down to a delightful temperature as we climbed out of the Quito valley. Then -
Hey the heat is going
Hey it is getting cooler
Hey it is getting fresh
Hey it is getting wet
Hey it is getting very wet
Hey it is bucketing down
Hey it is getting cold
Hey it is getting freezing cold
Hey there is white stuff on the side of the road
Hey it is not a chemical spill
Hey it is sleet and ice and snow on the road
Hey it is hailing big hailstones
Hey, Hail Mary ( three times )
Hey it is bloody freezing!
Hey, are we not half a degree from the equator ?
What is happening here
It is colder than Prudoe Bay in Alaska ( again !)
We did say the trip was "ice to ice"
Well, the only nice thing you can say about being soaking wet and freezing and bombarded by hailstones is that things can only get better and slowly they did and by nighttime we were so thawed we only needed four blankets on the bed !
And thus we left Quito dear reader.
Now for the next day. We were on the road early towards Cuenca. At the town of Riobamba we turned left ( as you do !) and instead of climbing on the direct road to Cuenca we headed over a high pass at close to 4,000 metres then in about one hour we went down and down and down and down and suddenly we were in banana country and almost at sea level !
Early afternoon and we look at the maps and the road leading back up into the lofty highlands of Cuenca. How about we stay down here and take the coastal route to Peru? Decided unanimously ! So a hasty reprogramming of the GPS and down the coast to Machala we go.
Now Machala would truly drive you bananas as it is the banana capital of the world ( according to Lonely Planet so again it must be true!). Apparently it is the largest banana export port in the world. Certainly the road was lined with solid banana plantations for mile after mile. And just to reinforce the point at the hotel instead of the usual flowers in reception there were two huge bunches of green bananas.
Bananas, bananas everywhere
So then it was a case of banana mañana as in mañana we headed south again thru more banana country ( even the bends in the road are shaped like banana bends ! ) and thence to the border crossing with Peru. Again the usual two hours was taken with paperwork at the border although there were less visible guns here.
In Peru they arrange their climate differently to Ecuador and suddenly the lush tropical greenery went to be replaced by dry arid coastline where the rainfall seems to be just a few inches a year if that.
Along the coast there were hundreds and hundred of small Peruvian fishing boats all anchored at sea. Of course it was the Peruvian fisherfolk who coined the household names " El Niño" and " La Niña" to explain the different weather patterns that affected their herring fishing out in the area of the Humbolt current.
And although we are must about six degrees south of the equator and at sea level it is pleasantly cool and almost pullover time at night. I like it so long live El Niño and La Niña. Again I like it !
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