20 July 2012

Near Camarones

At 4 am I was awakened by voices in the hallway. There were laughing and talking loudly as if it were the afternoon. What is with the people of this country? I also was burping up acid from my stomach and felt bloated from gas. I didn’t feel good at all and laid in bed hoping all the loud talking in the hallway would stop. It didn’t. The Ecuadorians went on like that until dawn.

My stomach felt awful and I was tired. I hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep since Ibarra. Every night had been interrupted. My left knee was a little tight but there was no sharp pain. I cooked up a cup of coffee for myself on the stove. I would soon be out of fuel and I was trying to conserve the little I had left. Everywhere I asked about new canisters I was looked at strangely and directed to shops that sold things that had nothing to with camping. Stupidly, I should have bought a few extra canisters at the camping store in Ibarra. After my coffee I packed up my gear and took the bike down the stairs.

The road left the town and broke inland from the Pacific and it was green, lush rolling country. I re-crossed the Equator to the south, stopping at the simple marker to rest. In contrast, on the Pan American Highway there is a large monument to mark the Equator and one must pay an entrance fee to get near it.

Then there was climbing and all the while I was burping up acid and had an awful taste in my mouth. Perhaps it was the fish I had eaten for lunch yesterday. Descending the road turned back to the ocean and there was the Pacific, stretching out in front of me, the blue gray water breaking along the beach. The sun broke through the clouds and it was hot now and the road followed along the water through little pueblos.

My stomach felt too bad to eat anything and by the afternoon I was exhausted. There was a sign for a park along the beach and I turned off down a dirt road and found a few empty thatch-roofed cabanas. I parked under one of them and took a long nap in the hammock, the waves breaking along the sand.

After I awoke there was more climbing and I took it very slowly and saw a sign for a cabana along the beach. There was a lady at the reception and I asked her how far it was to Canoa. From Pedernales the distance was about 50 km. The lady told me it was 40 km. I laughed. I had been riding all day. I told her it was closer than that and asked her how long of a bus ride it was from here to Canoa. She said she didn’t know. Then I asked her if I could camp on the cabana property. It was $40 to rent a cabana but maybe we could negotiate something for camping. She told me to call the owner using the telecom.

I called and reached another woman and explained that I was traveling on a bicycle and wanted to camp on the property. She said she would ask the owner. I waited 5 minutes. She came back on and told me the owner wanted to talk to me. There was a long dirt road that descended to the beach. The owner would be at the end of the dirt road. I said I would come down and got on my bike. Then I thought to myself, why would I go down this long road? What if this guy wants an outrageous amount to camp? Then I have to ride back up. I’m way too tired to do that. Why couldn’t this idiot tell me the price over the intercom? I thought to call back and explain I wasn’t coming down the road, but then told myself to forget it. I scowled at the woman who told me it was 40km to Canoa and started back climbing in the sun.

Next I saw a colorfully painted sign advertising an Ecolodge with gourmet pizza and camping. This looked perfect and I turned down a dirt road back into the brush. There were more signs and in English and a Swiss flag indicating this place was operated by someone from Switzerland.

I came upon a pool surrounded by a complex of cabanas and I rode up to a young Ecuadorian at the reception area. I told him I wanted to camp and he went to ask the owner what would be the price. He talked to a bald big gutted guy in a purple shirt and returned to tell me it would be $10 to camp. I laughed. I said to let me talk to the owner and approached the big-gutted guy who was talking to two gringas in English. I was tired and annoyed and interrupted them in Spanish telling the owner this was some kind of joke charging $10 to camp. After all I was providing the tent. But you get to use the swimming pool and the services, he protested, and I told him I wanted nothing to do with his swimming pool. I would bath in the ocean. He didn’t think he owned the ocean too, did he? Okay, $5 he told me. Fine. And that’s still too much. This is Ecuador, not Switzerland, I said.

The Ecuadorian kid was laughing as he helped me push my bike up the hill. He didn’t believe I had talked to his boss that way. His name was Miguel and he showed me up to the mountaintop to a spot overlooking the Pacific. It was going to be a fine spot to camp. I was too tired to go on anyway. I put up my tent, placed my gear inside, locked my bike to a tree, and went down to the beach with my valuables in a bag and went for a long swim in the ocean as the sun went down.

Later I changed and went to the restaurant and looked at a menu. This Swiss idiot wanted $20 for a pizza. I had nothing to eat and hadn’t eaten all day and figured I needed something, but I had less than $10. So I ordered 3 slices for $7.50. What a joke. I thought of Spanish Harlem and living a block from Patsy’s, the best pizza in New York City. I bought slices there for $1.50. The Swiss pizza wasn’t great but it was edible. I went back up to my tent and watched the sun go down beyond the water. Then I went to sleep. It was great to be back in the tent again and there were no Ecuadorians to awaken me during the night.


Post a Comment

Copyright © S O U T H