When all’s said and done… 

Filed under: Expedition Blog on Wednesday, August 16th, 2006 by Wce-Techy | No Comments

Woah the last post was a long time ago!!

In the end we couldn’t do the day trip to the Inca Ruins because there was a protest or demonstration in Canar, a region the bus would have to drive through. In fact, we saw it on the news on tv, just didn’t understand the Spanish, DOH!

Instead we took a hour or so bus ride to a big shopping mall outside Cuenca. A bit run of the mill boring i know, but better than mooching about round Cuenca some more! Some of us bought official Ecuador shirts, some of us bought Cd’s $15 compared to £15 pounds!

Ruby bought a pair of Converse (shoes for the older readers). I think they were purple lol.

We did spend some time checking out Cuenca and some of us visited the Inca museum and ruins there, others watched people washing clothes at the river and most of us visited a reptile and fish place at different times. When the alligator snapped it made the boys who where there, including me jump out of our skins!

By the end of our stay in Cuenca, we’d checked out most of the restaurants!
Finally we took a coach to Macas (very near the jungle). That was a gruelling 8 horas (horns), with only a twenty minute break in between, and you have to ask to open the Banos (toilet).

We stayed in Macas that eveining, at a nice hotel, except for turning the water off at 10pm. In the morning our guides briefed us on the Jungle trek, and then we set off, brandishing wellies we had been loaned (pick and mix sizes!).

Jungle phase was excellent save for having to carry out big packs. Luckily for us, we left our daysacks at the hotel in Macas which saved some strain. We took a bus into the jungle, and then hiked to our campsite.

The hike was a couple of horns through fairly neat cut paths; the jungle was not too dense, although the path was very muddy and squelchy in places! We were glad for our wellies as someplaces you could go in halfway up your calf. Most of the way there were half rotten wodden planks and beams to step on though which was handy. Of course being a rainforest, it rained at 1120am, just as we were hiking along. We all got drenched. The guides had set up a neat camp site for us although they had to clear a bit of harsh grass to site some more tents on! The meals they fed us were very nutritious and filling although some of our members didn’t particularly like the staple foods, they had no choice but to put up and eat up.

While we were eating it started tipping it down, and the guides had to dig trenches round our tents. A stream of water flowed accross the groundsheet in ours for a while! All our stuff got muddy as wed carelessly left it about! OOPs!

We went on a couple of hikes into the jungle and a night hike to see some of the wildlife. Several insects and cockroaches were spotted, but even in small groups i think we probably scared the bigger animals off, although the noise was amazing. One ?monkey? even sounded like a elastic band guitar lol.

We went by coach onto several other spots where we camped and explored the jungle. The guides showed us many useful and medicinal plants including one that could be used as a knife!

On the last two days there, we stayed in two Cabanas which was cool. We played football against our guides (the men at least), including the leader, and beat them 8-5 i think! Woo!

On the Sunday, groups went out canoeing which was awesome I went in the morn, and it was soo cool just chilling on the river, checking out the fauna and stuff!

In the evening we had a giant party and did our dance thingy mygig (if you know what i’m talking about, you’ll know we embarrassed ourselves though it was all fun). We had some firewater stuff and fruit wine which was cool. A few of us got a bit tipsy.

I think we left in the afternoon, i was feeling ill that day…

We did a short hike and a bus picked us up and took us back to the hotel. After staying a night, we took another 11hr coach back to Cuenca (not fun, many of us including me had diohrea :( ) and stayed there a night, though this time the boys had a nice hostel booked (better than the girls :p). Two of our party stayed there as they were too ill to travel. They met us earlier today, having travelled west after us.

At the moment were in Montanita, in a small touristy surfing part of town, and will be shipping out later today to Puerto Lopez to do our whale watching on what will be our last official day, i think we fly out on Friday (don’t quote me on that, i aint checked the itenerary!).

Hopefully the bookings are sorted (it was my job!), and we’ll have a great time and see some whales.

All of us have had a fantasticall time sofar and are looking foward to getting back home to catch up!

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Trek & Hostel 

Filed under: Expedition Blog on Monday, August 7th, 2006 by Wce-Techy | No Comments

We started the Inca Trek from a primary school.

Kellie and Karina's Hike through a farm
Kellie’s menagerie

Shaving without a Mirror Ed, master tent constructer
Teamwork Ed putting up our tent

We spent a day hiking, and got to our campsite about 3-4pm, then spent an hour doing lazing about and eating lunch. Obviously the mules had beat us there with our bags.

Eventually we pitched our tents and got on with some work (digging the loo). As the sun set about 6pm it got very cold. We had pasta and Mc Dougles for tea. Some of us went on a walk up the cliff of the valley to explore a cave. In the end the cave was tiny, but there was a cool hay hut which we checked out, and there were some high rocks to pose for photos on!

Guys in the Hay House
Guys in the hay house…
Alex D and his Hay Hangout On top of the World Charles, King of the Hill
(Click on pictures to open album)

We went to bed about 7pm! Nothing much else to do you see.
We were woken up in the morning by Chris who was leader that morning shortly before 630am and it was freezing. Porridge for breakfast, and my tent were the slowest at getting moving packed up ready for the days trek.

Finally we moved off (9am!) and spent half the day trekking before stopping about 12pm for a break. Unfortunately it turned out to be a very long break because one of our members had the symptoms of altitude sickness. After much debate, the plug was pulled since we needed to get down to ensure their wellbeing.

travelling back to Cuenca
Going back to Alusi
ANIMATION: Charles & Alex Brappin ANIMATION: Charles & AlexANIMATION: Charles & Alex Driveby
Alex & Charles break it down in Alusi

So we went back to Alusi, and stayed there a night, our ill teamate was given some Oxygen and declared fine.
Next day we took a 4hour coach journey to Cuenca, where we are staying for a few days. Cuenca is the third biggest city in Ecuador i think, and the home of guinea pig food and panama hats. I was impressed at the bus station in Cuenca by a clean toilet with soap
and towel for only 10c !

We then accidentally ended up at the wrong hostel (two with identical names, one a Hotel, the other a Hostel), then traipsed over to the right one (its a lot cheaper) only to find out that its a bit minging (slang for nasty) and i don’t think anyone wants to use the showers.

Meanwhile the girls have a much nicer establishment round the block! Oh well. Its a bed and its com& even if we do need our sleeping bags! LOL

Tomorrow we plan to take a day trip to the inca ruins anyway. so we havent lost out on anything but the camping and cold mornings with rubbish food (our tent hadn’t bought enuf anyway doh!)

After that we have a long about 8-11hr bus ride to Maccas to start our Jungle phase which is the second to last bit!

How time flies!

Gonna be fun!
Adios Amigos!

Might be a while b4 i get to write again..

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Today – Devils Nose Railway 

Filed under: Expedition Blog on Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 by Wce-Techy | No Comments
Chugging along the view over the edge
Chugging along. The Nose

Today, we rode on the ‘Nariz el Diablo’ – Devils Nose.
People ride on the roof of the train to get the best views, and because
a)it’s cheaper
b)there isn’t enuf space in the coaches.
It was a very long and scenic journey, and I took hundreds of photos (only put the best ones on the gallery lol).
The funniest thing was that kids were dotted alongside the rails on the route, because people on the roof (and us once we realised) were throwing the kids lollipops and sweets! We even had on train entertainment:

On train entertainment

1 man band!

And the bog was interesting – a straight drop, so you could see the ground wizzing by, like a window u pee through! Aiming while the train is moving is tricky for us lads to lol. Its actually a long but cool zigzag down a mountainside, with death defying almost sheer drops off the edge, and some very old rickety bridges across ravines!

We were heading to Alusi, a small high town, even though we went through to see the devils Nose – came back up after stopping for photo ops and shuffling the carriages.

Heres some random pictures:
(click on the pictures to view the album)

The trainKellie poses with the hatThey let Charlie loose on the brakes!Nicola the Train driver
view more images from this album

Kid waving at the trainPartayStopped for the viewDon't look down!
view more images from this album

So far, we’ve travelled thru:
Central Quito, Rio Bamba – Quito,
been to Apuella for our Project phase,
Quito – Travelling through,
Climbed Ruminahui (about 4700m), staying here (very cold when the sun sets :( ),
Stayed in Otovalo and got to see the markets.

Currently we’re in Alusi.

Now we’re moving on to our trek – an Inca Trail.
We are stocking up and buying loads of food today, and then moving out. We’ll be staying in a small village for overnight before starting the trek.
Its going to be 5 days in total, through some valleys and stuff, round a lake I think, and eventually arriving at an ancient Inca civilization.

We going to see an Inca Sun temple – i believe, and catch sunrise over the ruins!

Hope to post when we get back.
EDITED 15/3/7 – Fixed corruption, added pics and some more detail.

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Update & Apology 

Filed under: Expedition Blog on Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Wce UK Admin | No Comments

Hi Everyone. Sorry about the downtime, my host moved my account accross to a different server. Everything should be backup now. In the meantime, Garreth tried to add a post, but failed so he sent me an email which was also lost :’(.

Sorry Guys!

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Tuesday 25th July (9:05pm) – Apuela 

Filed under: Expedition Blog on Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 by Wce-Techy | No Comments

Gazzat writes:

haha the alarms went off at 6am to get up for 7:30. Needless to say we weren’t up until nearly 8 which was fine because Alex D (today leader) planned to actually start at 8. Clever planning!

*Random comment – Everyone is getting annoyed with how long it takes the tarangias (cookers ) to boil the water for food. Especially the boys who had to wait ages for their rice to cook last night and not having enough cookers sucks too*

The day has been very busy, everyone painting, sanding, nailing, sawing etc. All of us have got ridiculously mucky and have paint all over clothes and/or hair, skin (especially Catherine!).

We were a little bit worried turning up at the restaurant looking like decorators, but they were probably just happy to have 19 customers!

After all that work we were all too tired to cook and wanted some real food. And what a bargain!

We got back from the restaurant at about 9pm and on stepping out, we instantly noticed the brilliantly clear night which is just stunning. You can make out the outline of the hill either side an the amazingly bright stars.

A few of us decided to sleep outdoors me included so we are laying in the middle of a school field/playground in Ecuador admiring the stars and chatting.

I am writing this sitting here under the stars by the light of an annoying street light which is the only thing spoiling the view (and will probably keep us awake!).

Unbelievable to think this is the end result of a 18month long journey! And that we still have so much cool stuff left to do.

Shooting Stars !
[hand drawn pic]

Ps James has the shitz!
13 times :(

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