So our next stop was Ecuador and what a pleasant surprise Ecuador turned out to be. But we had a rather insalubrious introduction to Ecuador and the only one thing I could complain about Ecuador was about the dogs, but i will get to that later.
The border crossing into Ecuador was pretty uneventful apart from a minor language misunderstanding. We waited for maybe an hour for what we thought was going to be a vehicle inspection and when I inquired as to how long it was going to take the border official looked at me and said “what are you still doing here ? With relevant documents in hand we jumped in our bikes and hit the road.
The next stop was a town called Ibarra and just north of this is where he had our unlikely and uncultured introduction into Ecuador. As we rode along dusk was descending but up ahead we could see flame torches alight along the top of a large white washed wall leading to a large gated central entrance. We stopped outside. On either side of the gate torches were burning and inside the cobbled courtyard a giant pentagram of flames was burning. Music was blaring from inside the building where scantily glad women shuffled up the steps to the entrance. We knew this was no ordinary bar. The whole scene in front of us resembled a scene from the movie From Dust till Dawn. Yes we had arrived at the mythical Titty Twister we had presumed.
It was electric and to 4 road beaten motorcyclist I don’t need to tell you it was like a dream come true, an oasis in the desert, a mirage. We looked at each other no words were even spoken we immediately pulled in on our bikes and drove right through the flames. Girls were calling out after us as we did. This was going to be EPIC!!.
If the movie was anything to go by there would be hot girls everywhere wearing next to nothing ready to serve you what ever drink you desired. A live band, that may or may not later turn into blood sucking vampires would be blasting out loud rock music. Girls would be dancing in cages that would probably be on fire. Everything would be on fire. George Cloney would be no where to be seen and Salma Hayek would be dancing aloft our table wearing nothing but a giant python and would pour whiskey from between her breasts that would flow down her body, down her creamy thighs to her perfectly formed outstretched foot placed firmly in my mesmerized gaping mouth and I would suck the whiskey greedily from her foot before she would kick me in the face knocking me off my chair to the floor. Without a minutes hesitation I bought my ticket. This was going to be awesome!!!.
We were all giddy with excitement. We stepped inside. The first thing I noticed was that nothing was on fire. OK that’s a little disappointing, I thought. I can live without that I suppose. Health and Safety being what it is today. H&S regulations must even be enforced at the Titty Twister I suppose. But there were no dancing girls in cages. In fact there were no girls dancing anywhere. There were lots of scantily clad women around alright, though most of them were all over weight and sitting around like they were waiting for the bingo to start. Heck there was no band even blaring out heavy rock music and no Salma Hayek. What the hell? This is not how it’s supposed to be. Whats going on? Why isn’t anything on fire? Where’s the music and hot girls and where the hell is Salma Hyack and why is her foot not in my mouth?! This was so disappointing.
I did see George Cloney however he was in the corner with some chick 1/4 his age. I had seen him earlier in the toilets too he was applying grey hair dye to his full shock of black hair. That bloody fake I thought.
Disappointed we left. The place turned out to be a road side brothel and the only dancing that was going on was the horizontal mambo off in some darkened room upstairs. We jumped back up on our bike and burned out of there before they all turned into zombie vampires, after all it was still possible that it was the Titty Twister and maybe Hollywood had just been kind with the truth. In fact I was suspicious as to whether some of the women there had already turned zombies vampires. We hauled ass out of there… and I followed slowly behind. “Hey wait up you guys””.
The next stop was Otavalo. Where we met a couple of girls in our hostel called Amber and Micky. We took them off for a spin around the beautiful crater lakes near Otavalo. This time I didn’t have the pleasure of carrying the girls on the bike. El Burro was designated as the food carrying picnic bike. That day El Burro reached the dizzying heights of 3850m, but it wouldn’t be the highest we’d been. later on I went over 4000 m on El Burrito albeit very slowly.
We also paid a visit to the spent market in Otavalo also doing some hat shopping.
We left Otavalo and headed for Quito. But just before Quito we would pass the Equator. After 14months exploring from the Arctic Circle in Alaska to the Ecuator El Burro and myself had covered almost 30,000 km. A major milestone for the bike.
From a tourist standpoint Quito consists of a very beautiful old colonial part of town called ‘Old Town’ surprisingly and also the more affluent area of Mariscol with lots of expensive tourist bars and restaurants. Mariscol is referred to by the locals as Gringolandia for obvious reasons.We spent a few days there where I met Anne Nagel a fellow Wexfordian by complete chance working in a restaurant bar I called into one night.
Gavin and Gordon decided to head off for a cruise to the Galapagos Island. Me, I had my fill of Quito and decided to leave Ben in Quito who was getting his fill of city life and I headed off by myself for some offroad exploring and some hiking and climbing around Quilatoa and Cotopaxi.
After Cotapaxi I decided to head back to Quito to meet Gaving and Gordon and surprise Gordo for his birthday.
I managed to convince the lads to come back with me to the Secret Garden in Cotopaxi. A very cool eco lodge close to Cotopaxi National Park. By day we went for hikes and by night we all sat at a large table and ate great food with some other travelers and sat around a log fire telling stories and having a beer. It was a great place and highly recommended.
And so we made our way down south and visited Cuenca and Villcamba. Cuenca for me far exceeded Quito as a relaxing colonial town.
Ecuador had been amazing and far exceeded my expectations. A very beautiful country with beautiful beaches, majestic mountains and immense amazon jungle. But before we left Ecuador we had some awesome off-roading expeditions and a run in with the Ecuadorian border officials.
I finished my last blog by saying next blog would be about the curse of the motorcycle gang and titled this one accordingly, but in hindsight there’s not a lot to say about the curse of the motorcycle gang and it would be unfair to dwell on the fact that most of the lads in our motorcycle gang had been dumped by their girlfriends during their trip. It seems being an International Adventure Motorcycle Hero (to use Erik’s phase) is not enough to keep the ladies interested these days, surprisingly being in the same country helps more.