Later On The Equator
After drying out and chilling out in Salento for a couple of days with Uli, David and Mike we decided to head to Cali in convoy.
Before we left, the hotel owner helped me relocate the tool box on the Trannie as it had been bashed around too many times by the front wheel hitting it so after a bit of drilling and remounting it, we are now prepared for any pothole that we might encounter.
Trying to merge in with the locals ain’t so easy…
Some of us needed new tyres and other bits and bobs before leaving Colombia as they can be difficult to come by in other places south of Cali.
We had 3 days here, most of which was spent in several bike shops getting a service and spare parts organised.
Midday snack at “Crepes y Waffles” – yummmmm
Bikes now sorted, we rode from Cali to Popayan. It was only around 150kms so should have been an easy day but finding a hotel which had secure parking was a bit more difficult.
When we thought we finally struck lucky, the hotel manager moved sofas around in the lobby to make rooms for the bikes and ran around trying to find planks to get the bikes up the pavement and through the front door – then we realised that the handlebars were too wide for the entrance…eeek
Luckily – the hotel next door had a wider doorway and would let us park inside.
It was a tight squeeze getting past reception!
I wondered around the old town that afternoon, killing time before dinner. Traveling appears to revolve around eating and drinking and as we are on two meals a day – dinner time can’t come soon enough!
As there wasn’t very much to do in Popayan, we carried on to Ipiales which is the border town to Ecuador.
Some pretty nice scenery on the way but we didn’t stop as it’s Farc country and we were advised to keep riding through it.
Just outside of the town of Ipiales sits a unique church that was built in a canyon above the Guáitara River. We stopped off on our way to the border to take some pics.
An old guy walked over and chatted to me for about 5 minutes. Not really sure what he said as my Spanish is still rubbish and he was missing most of his teeth which made it even harder to understand him.
We were then on our way to the Ecuador border. We heard it was easy so didn’t feel the need to rush there early in the morning.
Checking out of Colombia was a breeze and took 5 minutes for both of us and the bike. Unfortunately the lines were down at Ecuador’s Aduana (customs) so they couldn’t grant us a temporary bike permit until their systems were back online.
As we waited, more bikers turned up and joined the queue. It was nice to chat to other travelers and exchange stories.
We had met Hugo from Argentina briefly before on a busy main road just outside of Cartagena. He was traveling around South America with his wife on their 1150 GS.
What to do when waiting around at borders?…..
……get your boots shined of course!
4 hours later and we were back in business – systems were online and they were processing the permits quick smart.
They didn’t even check the bikes and we rode into Ecuador with our stamps and permits although you could have crossed from Colombia into Ecuador without stopping as nobody asked to see our paperwork.
It was amazing how the scenery changed dramatically as soon as we entered a new country. Winding roads around huge mountains made for some good biking!
And petrol is cheap…….US$6 fills the tank!! 😀
We met up with Uli (Triumph Tiger 800) and David (BMW 800GS) again in Otavalo for food and drinks before waving them off as they headed south. It was probably the last time we would catch up with them as they are on a tighter schedule than us and Motomike, and need to get to Chile within a few weeks.
I wondered out the next morning to find an ATM and noticed a lady stood next to 3 goats tied to a lamppost. A guy was kneeling down in front of one goat and filled his bottle before paying the lady some money. Self-serve goats milk. I wish I had the camera on me at the time.
Later we walked around the markets.
I needed a haircut so popped into a barbers around the corner from the hotel. I forgot my Spanish phrasebook and was trying to figure out what I need to ask for when it came to my turn.
Then I realised that the other locals before me just sat down without saying anything and let the barber work his magic – all for $2. Sweet!
Deep fried bugs of some kind….
Mike decided to head south to Baños and we wanted to check out the Amazonian jungle so parted ways for a few days after visiting the Equator. It seems so long ago since we passed over the Tropic of Cancer in Mexico so felt good to finally reach the earth’s half way point.
We were the only tourists there so messed around sporting our best poses until we got bored enough to leave on our way to the jungle.
We arrived pretty cold and wet in Misahualli after riding across a 4100m pass and then through heavy rain for the rest of the journey. We’ve found a nice guest house so think we’ll hang around for while and see what the Amazon has to offer.