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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Cali, the capital of dance – or – dancing with a STAR

Happy new year to all of you! Wish you all the best for 2014!

And another anniversary! Yesterday it was two years, that I made my decision of changing my life and guess what, still enjoying it so much!!!

After leaving Ecuador end of October last year I had my first stop in Cali. It says that Cali doesn’t need you and you either hate or love this place, that the women are beautiful like flowers and that there is Salsa everywhere and most friends told me: “You will love this city!” Being honest, after a few days I thought, this is not my place! So after four days left for Popayan, a city three hours south of Cali. My next stop should’ve been Armenia and on my way I made a stopover again in Cali, cause it’s halfway to Armenia. Upon arrival I started loving this place, met wonderful people, started making friends and was offered a job at the place I was staying at and so it was clear, this is my destination for the next weeks/months. To get prepared for Cali and their people, I took some Salsa classes and thanks to Didier, my Salsa teacher, after some lessons I felt conscious enough to ask women for a dance. I was prepared for the Feria de Cali, the big famous festival starting on 25th of December. Loads of people told me, this is the time to be here and there’s party all over the city. Well, first I was a bit disappointed cause it was not what I expected, but after knowing about where to go it turned out to be just great. The hostel I’m currently working at was full and there was a lot to do during the day, therefore the days started early at around 6:30 am and by 5 or 6 pm we, a Mexican couple working here as well and me, went out for partying. Our customers always were welcome to accompany us and some did. Returning back home at night and same procedure the next day. This lasted up to December 30th and I closed this super exciting and special year with a party we organized at our hostel for family and guests.

Back to my Salsa lessons. It worked out and locals were saying I’m not too bad and so far I had the chance to dance with a number of Girls. La Gordita, la Boracha, la Chocolata, la Artesanía, la Señora, la Vecina – yes, at the beginning I gave them names – and more. Finally the city is back to normal and I had the chance to recover and being ready for more Cali, more Salsa, more Friends and ….

Thanks to Blanca, Edgar, Katherine, our clients and to everyone making this time so special and unforgettable

Now have a look a the video to get a bit of an impression of Cali – the capital of dance

Yours, Carsten