3. Ecuador
November 09, 2008 GMT
6. Ecuador

The Colombian-Ecuadorian border day was charged with lots of stress.

First, the Ecuadorian customs official was reluctant to give me the standard Temporary Bike Import and asked for some bi-countries agreement paper that is only for visitors between Colombia and Ecuador. I turned back to Ecuadorian consulate in Ipiales were they were clear they had to retain my bike documents in order to give the paper. I went back to the border, and this time the official finally understood and gave me the temporary import. I checked my personal and bike information wrote in the permit, but It was not up to latter that day that I realize he had given me only three days to cross Ecuador. Three days would be enough in perfect conditions, but no in my case as I’ll explain. My partner since yesterday, Arthur Ferrari, BMW 1200 from Florida, USA, was given 90 days.

Second, just three kilometers away from the border I got a front flat tire. “Coincidentally “, it was in front of a tire repair kiosk. I pushed the bike though a slippery ground to get the bike close to the kiosk. It did appear the tube was punctured and sliced several times. And I had not spare because I was trying to go as light as possible. The man offered to buy one in the nearest town, Tulcan. I ordered two. One hour after, the man turned back with a pair of tubes of non-reliability quality, unknown brand name, but “the cheapest I could get for you”. Installed the first one, failed! Split in two along the internal side. Second one installed, this time OK. We parted, but by this time I already knew about Suzi,s time-limit, so I rode as relaxed as the Golden Bridge cables.

Third, because at the border I got only a few dollars (US dollar is the Ecuadorian currency) looking for a better rate, I stopped at the first big town to get some money from any ATM. Answers from several banks/ATMs to three different cards, Canadian Debit Visa, Canadian Credit Visa, and Colombian Debit Master-Card were<: Wrong code number; Unknown card; Card not read; See your EAMI (??); Invalid transaction; Transaction couldn’t done at this time, try it latter; card swallowed for 4 minutes with no answer. So, with only 15 dollars I happily rode to the south. No stress!

We got Quito at the best time of the day, 5 pm, but managed to get the recommended hotel, just in the old city. Hotel San Francisco Quito was a pleasant place with parking for the bikes in the first floor patio. I had to resolve three different problems: money, bike permit time, spare tubes. That night I couldn’t resolve money problem as ATMs were already closed into the banks.

Early morning I tried several ATMs/Banks. I was lucky in two of them but only with Canadian Debit Card. But at least I had enough money for two weeks.

Several calls to Colombia were not productive. My father had to go to the bank branch I had opened the account, and loaded with IDs I have in Colombia, but mainly with my card code number, solved the problem: the card was not activated. That night I got money from it.

The second problem turned to be easy to solve. I went to airport customs asking for a time permit extension. They said yes, but I had to bring the bike for inspection. Why do they have to re-inspect it ? ( Suzi numbers were checked at the border and they are written in the permit!). I went with Suzi in the afternoon. The official tried to give me 30 days, but the system allowed him only to duplicate the initial time: he gave me another three days. It worked for me. Second problem solved.

To get the tubes was easy though only the rear one. I would buy the front one ahead. I also got the shift lever that bent the night before as the biked felt down when a hotel worker tried to move it while locked.

Zero degrees latitude
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Latitud cero
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Amigo: ahora puedes leer la historia completa en mi libro "La Suramérica que recorrí". Ve a www.palibrio.com. Las fotos, míralas aquí.
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El día de la frontera Colombia-Ecuador estuvo cargado de mucha preocupación.

Primero, el oficial de la aduana ecuatoriana no quiso darme el Permiso de Importación Temporal que se usa en los casos en que uno va a cruzar un país. Me envió de vuelta al consulado ecuatoriano en Ipiales a conseguir un permiso bi-lateral entre Colombia y Ecuador. Allí se hizo evidente que ese permiso no me servía toda vez que ellos deberían retener mis documentos. De nuevo en la frontera, el oficial por fin entendió y me concedió la importación temporal. Verifiqué mis datos personales y los de Suzi, pero no fue hasta mas tarde ese día que me dí cuenta que sólo me había otorgado 3 días para cruzar el Ecuador. En tres días era casi imposible cruzar hasta el Perú, teniendo en cuenta el pesado y lento tráfico en largos trechos, la lluvia, y los percances mecánicos. A mi compañero desde ayer, Arturo Ferrari, BMW 1200 de Florida, USA, le dieron 90 días.

Segundo, a tres kilómetros de la frontera tuve un pinchazo delantero. “Coincidencialmente“ ocurrió frente a un chuzo de reparación de llantas. Empujé la moto a través de un patio empantanado y liso. Resultó que el neumático se había perforado en varias partes y además estaba cortado la lo largo. Y yo no tenía repuesto porque quería viajar lo mas liviano posible. El tipo se ofreció a ir a comprar uno a Tulcán, el pueblo cercano. Ordené dos. Una hora mas tarde apareció el tipo con el par de neumáticos de marca desconocida, pero “los más baratos que encontré, para usted”. Instaló es primero, rajado a lo largo. Instaló el segundo, al menos infló. Salimos, pero en este3 momento yo ya sabía del plazo de Suzi para estar en Ecuador, por lo que conduje tan relajado como los cables del Golden Bridge.

Tercero, no había conseguido muchos dólares en la frontera Rumichaca esperando por un mejor cambio. Paré en Ibarra para retirar dinero por cajero automático, pero obtuve las siguientes respuestas a mis tres tarjetas, Visa Débito canadiense, Visa Crédito canadiense, y Master-Card Débito colombiana, en diferentes bancos y cajeros: Clave inválida; Tarjeta desconocida; Tarjeta no leída; Vea su EAMI (¿?); Transacción inválida; La transacción no se pudo hacer ahora, inténtelo mas tarde; tarjeta tragada durante 4 minutos sin respuesta. Entonces, con sólo 15 dólares en el bolsillo, felizmente continué hacia el sur. Sin preocupaciones!

Llegamos a Quito a la mejor hora del día, las 5 de la tarde, pero logramos llegar sin problemas al hotel recomendado, en la ciudad antigua. El Hotel San Francisco de Quito es un acogedor lugar con parqueadero para las motos en el patio del primer piso. Yo tenía que resolver tres problemas diferentes: dinero, permiso, y neumáticos de repuesto. Esa noche no pude resolver el problema de dinero porque los cajeros cercanos se encontraban dentro de los recintos ya cerrados de los bancos.

En la mañana siguiente ensayé diferentes bancos. Tuve suerte en dos de ellos pro sólo con mi Débito canadiense. Pero al menos ya tenía suficiente dinero para dos semanas.

Varias llamadas a Colombia no resolvieron nada. Tuvo que ir mi papá a la agencia donde yo había abierto la cuenta, armado con mi identificación, pero sobre todo con mi código secreto, y resolver el problema: la tarjeta no había sido activada. Esa noche saqué dinero con ella.

El segundo problema resultó fácil de resolver. Fui a la aduana del aeropuerto a pedir una prórroga. Ellos dijeron que sí, pero debería llevar la moto para revisión. – Para qué tienen que revisarla de nuevo si ya había sido revisada en Rumichaca y los números están escritos en el papel? Regresé en la tarde. El oficial quería dame 30 días pero el sistema le permitía máximo duplicar el permiso original, así que me dió tres días adicionales. Funcionó para mí y resuelto el segundo problema.

Conseguir los neumáticos no fue difícil, aunque sólo el trasero. El delantero podría conseguirlo mas adelante. También tuve que comprar la palanca de cambios que se dobló cuando un trabajador del hotel tumbó la moto tratando de moverla mientras estaba asegurada.

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Next day we leave early morning for Cuenca, 470 km away from Quito. Half of the road was in good conditions, but after Riobamba it begins to deteriorate. The rain came while traveling at 3.000 plus m and 12°C, so I enjoyed so much using for the very first time my electrical jacket, which worked very well. Thanks so much Robert for your advice.

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Al día siguiente salimos temprano para Cuenca, 470 km desde Quito. La mitad del recorrido fue en buenas condiciones, pero después de Riobamba el camino empezó a deteriorarse. Y como vino la lluvia andando a más de 3.000 m de altura y a 12°C, disfruté mucho estrenando la chaqueta eléctrica que funcionó muy bien.

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We paid a visit to Ingapirca (meaning Inca’s Wall), a construction in the northern Tahuantinsuyo (meaning the Inca’s Kingdome of the 4 regions). Ingapirca is 12 km off from the main road close to the town of Cañar.

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Nos desviamos de la carretera para entrar a Ingapirca (que significa Muro del Inca), una construcción en el norte del Tahuantinsuyu (el Reino de las 4 regiones de los Incas). Ingapirca es a 12 kilómetros de la carretera cerca a Cañar.


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Cuenca is a lovely city with architectural character. Here I got the spare front tube, grease for the chain, and crown wrenches, as the open-side the bike bring with are not reliable when working on very tied nuts.

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Cuenca es una agradable ciudad con carácter arquitectónico. Conseguí el neumático delantero de repuesto, grasa para la cadena, y llaves de estrella porque las boca-fija que trae la moto no son confiables en caso de tuercas muy apretadas.


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Next day, a few kilometers before Loja, I had a small accident when a car I was trying to pass over, sent us to the ditch. Nothing happened, but I learnt a very important lesson, represented in Arthur’s saying: Piano, Piano, se va Lontano, Italian for Slowly, Slowly, you go further. I considered myself luckily with this incident as I learnt the lesson in an early stage of the trip and in a very cheap way.

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Al día siguiente, pocos kilómetros antes de Loja, tuve un pequeño accidente cuando un carro al cual me le estaba pasando, nos tiró a la cuneta. Nada pasó, pero aprendí una muy importante lección resumida por Arturo en italiano: Piano, Piano, se va Lontano, que significa Lento, Lento, se llega lejos. Me considero muy afortunado con este incidente pues aprendí la lección en una etapa temprana del viaje y a muy bajo costo.


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We stop in Vilcabamba, a village in the middle of a beautiful and tranquil valley, known time ago for the longevity of its inhabitants.

Wellcome to Vilcabamba
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Bienvenidos a Vilcabamba


Today, some interesting aliens live here, as Mr. O, who don’t use shoes.
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Hoy en dia viven algunos interesantes personajes, como Mr. O, quien no usa zapatos.

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Hotel El Jardin was a very nice place with a central patio full of trees and flowers, making you feel in the middle of the jungle, with lots of birds in a permanent symphony. One full day was enough for repairing things and soul, too stressed as I already told you. I worked on the bike and also putting the pictures into the computer, a forgotten task. Arthur remained in Vilcabamba when I left for the Peruvian border.

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Paramos en Vilcabamba, una aldea en medio de un bello y tranquilo valle (semejante a Supía), conocido tiempo atrás por la longevidad de sus habitantes.

El Hotel El Jardín es un amable lugar con un patio central lleno de árboles y flores que te hace sentir en medio de la selva, con cantidades de pájaros en sinfonía permanente. Un día completo fue suficiente para reparar algunas cosas y la mente, muy estresada por los asuntos que ya les conté. Trabajé en la moto y también pasando las fotos al computador, una tarea que había sido olvidada. Arturo se quedó en Vilcabamba cuando yo salí hacia la frontera con Perú.


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A few kilometres from La Balsa, the Peru-Ecuador border. Hot and humid land.

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Algunos kilómetros antes de la Balsa, frontera entre Ecuador y Perú. Tierra caliente y húmeda.


Posted by Santiago Lema at 02:38 PM GMT
 


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