The World is big enough

“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it” (Mahatma Ghandi)


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from Canoa to La Tola

Hi there

I made it, I made it from Canoa to La Tola and I made it even further than initially planned. But in order! Leaving Riobamba on a Monday morning the adventure started right on the first bus ride to Quito as my seat and all other seats on the bus where occupied and I was seated next to the bus driver in the front and while he was telling me about his life, his two marriages and his kids and during the 3 1/2 hour ride I met his actual wife and his youngest son. The rest of the day was less exiting as I had to pass the time until the departure to Canoa close to midnight. Good thing though, that this should be my last cold and rainy day for the next weeks. It was 5 am when the ticket inspector announced the arrival in Canoa and together with one of these typical Aussie Surfer Dudes I was searching for the first accommodation on this tour. After some hours of sleep I started exploring Canoa, but there’s not much to explore so I ended up in a bar run by an american couple from Colorado having my coffee and chatting with them and some other people running businesses there. I had the impression that there’s more expats than Ecuadorians living in that place and, and that luckily accompanied me during the whole trip, almost no visitors as it was low season, which is weird in that sense that the weather this time of year is generally more sunny and warmer than in high season. Good for me though! Anyway, to cut a long story short after spending one day here I started my walk up north. I already new from my day here that north of Canoa the rocks where reaching into the ocean and therefore would have to walk the first part on the street. No sooner said than done I found myself walking up and down on the Ruta de Spondylus one kilometer after the other and was expecting to see the Pacific after every next turn. This shouldn’t happen for the rest of the day and after walking more than 30 kilometers I decided to catch one of the every 30 to 45 minutes passing busses to my todays destination,the city of Jama. In contrast, the next day I was able to walk the same distance all the time on the beach. Quickly I figured out, that most of the locals have no or just little idea of if and where and to where you can walk along the shore and more than one time I was in front of impassable rock formations or rivers that is to say that I slightly changed my plan using a bus for certain parts as well. Another thing is that between Canoa and La Tola there’s just 3 or 4 cities that have at least one ATM. Having said this I zigzagged along the coast riding the bus to certain destinations and exploring the areas from there by walking. It have been roughly estimated more than 300 kilometers of walking and countless beaches, villages and places and so many different encounters, people and adventures. Can’t tell all of them but just to mention some:

because they didn’t have change in one hostal I was offered Kokain in exchange / when coming back from a party in one of the villages the owners of the hostal left for partying and the hostal was closed so I spend several hours trying to sleep in front of the hostal with some stray dogs, cats and crabs accompanying me until the owners returned several hours later / trying to find the main square in Esmeraldas I was sent in various directions and even the police couldn’t really help but finally I found it / circling the island of Muisne I endet up in mud up to my knees with some pigs around me / one evening a security guard on the beach offered me weed / another evening in a beach bar a guy offered me his sister and his cousin –  I just took the beer he offered me though / just few minutes after I found the only accommodation in Tonchigüe I was welcomed by the mayoress and warned to not go alone to the beach/ and when walking on the beach between Same and Tonchigüe a gang of 4 young men armed with a big knife tried to threaten me and rob my stuff, but I was smarter and faster 😉 / and… and… and…

In the meantime I’m back in the Andes planning my next move. See some impressions of the trip in the video and sorry for the bad quality of the voice recordings maybe I should get one of these windbreaks microphones!

Yours

Carsten


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The Waltoneer (Volunteer)

Hello and welcome back

after spending three months in Riobamba I changed location and got myself to the coast. Ok, the weather is currently not perfect but there’s many days with sun and if not, it’s not as cold as in the Andean highlands, especially at night! Via a volunteering network I found a place in Montañita where I was supposed to do a two-day painting job for bed and food in exchange and now I’m already a month here. Joos, the owner of this place called Punto Verde exchanged her houseboat in Amsterdam with a piece of land three years ago and started building a house and not too long ago started to convert it into a hostel the Punto Verde. And after the first day I decided to stay longer here and help with whatever needs to be done. And that was not because of the real coffee that is served here, or at least that was not the only reason. And there is a lot to do. Not only taking care of the customers and everything which needs to be done in the hostel business, no, there’s way more to do. Currently we’re building a new kitchen-bar-lounge and everything is handmade. After brewing beer and filmmaking it’s now design and carpentry. This was missing so far in my curriculum. And I guess I’m not too bad in that! Ok one of my first projects was a shower cabin made of plastic foil and bamboo and when trying to cut the first trunk of bamboo i cut my left index finger with an ax and the cut got down to the bone and through the fingernail, but it is almost fine again and a few hours after that I continued already working on the project and finishing it the very same day. Now we’re almost professionals and in a few days the place will be ready. And we’re kind of proud of our work and especially of the result.

And because I’m not doing any tourist things right now I decided to dedicate this video on what I’m doing here at this beautiful place. The village of Montañita is a ten minute walk away from here or a few minutes with the bicycle shown in the beginning of the video. By the way, this was one of the smaller projects, the promotion sign on the bicycle. Currently it’s off-season therefore the village is usually not busy, only on weekends and then we can here the music from the outdoor bars even here on the hill but usually it’s the sound of the waves that lulls you to sleep.  So this is the perfect place to relax and from the balcony or the stairs next to the house you sometimes can even watch the whales in the ocean. And once ready with the bar I will do some relaxing as well.

So have a look at the video to get an idea of what I’m doing here and hasta luego.

Yours, Carsten


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Galápagos – Welcome to another world

Finally I’m online again! Finally here’s the new video! And most important, finally, after 7 month in Ecuador, I made it to the Galápagos Islands the only destination I had on my list on places to go when leaving Germany! And there’s no words to describe this unique place.

After leaving Quito on Saturday 30st early, very early in the morning and arriving at around lunchtime in Puerto Ayora, I started visiting several Tour Agencies to find an affordable cruise to explore the archipelago. Thanks to my Spanish and my pertinacity I got a good deal for a 7-day cruise visiting some of the Islands as you won’t find a cruise visiting all accessible Islands in one trip and anyway the biggest part of the national park is not accessible for anyone, only scientist with special permission can go to these places. So the national park organization tries to protect and preserve the nature and the animals while allowing a certain level of tourism. On Monday I boarded a tiny little boat and started my journey into another world! It is just amazing! Every island has its unique landscape and wildlife and most of the animals you’ll watch are endemic and not to be found in any other place of the world. And because the human beings are not seen as enemies you get very close to all, and I mean all of them, sometimes even too close. Some tourists sadly don’t respect the wildlife and area of the animals appropriately. But thank god, most do! And because I was so fascinated during the first 7 days on board, I immediately started my successful search for a second budget cruise, this time on an even smaller boat and left again after one night in Puerto Ayora for another 8-day cruise.

The list of animals is too big to name all of them here, but surely, I do have my favorites which are the Boobies, mostly the Blue Footed Booby, but also the Red Footed- and Nasca-Booby. Especially the dance of the Boobies to attract the females is uniquely. But also the Frigatebird and the Magnificent Frigatebird is fascinating. Another favorite is the Marine Iguana, the Galapagos Land Iguana and surely the Giant Tortoises. But also the wildlife underwater is fascinating. Watching Sharks almost every day both on board the boat but as well when snorkeling.

My trip took me to the islands of Santa Cruz, Rábida, San Salvador, Daphne Mayor, Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Mosquera, Baltra, Plaza Sur, Santa Fé, San Cristóbal, Española and Floreana. My favorite definitely is Española the oldest island of the archipelago. Here and only here you can find the Waved Albatross for some months during the year and with a big portion of luck you can even watch their dance! Guess what, I was lucky!!! As well only here the Marine Iguanas are more colorful than on any other island.

Galapagos_Islands_topographic_map-en Kopie

You might imagine, that editing the video this time was so difficult because there too much to show. So find attached the first video of my trip and I decided to not talk too much, but just to show you the beauty and the singleness of this part of the world. Just enjoy watching! I surely will publish some more Videos from the Galápagos to show more of this magnificent place.

In between I returned to the mainland and made my way to Riobamba, my home for the next time.

Yours, Carsten

or on YouTube