Left Pasto at 0800 found my way to the highway without any wrong turns, new road all the way to the border beautiful scenery mountains with crops growing on them at +3000m got to Ipialles at 0930 looked for gas but all the petrol stations were out of petrol, parked bike and then Columbia Immigration queue a mile long took one hour to get a stamp in my passport free and no forms either then Aduana that took one minute they just took the TVIP off me and that was it, changed money and the guy tried to rip me off $5, idiot.
1030 now, rode a couple of hundred meters to the Ecuador side parked and went to see the Aduana, he said Immigration first and a copy of that page of my passport, plus the face page, registration, title and drivers licence so went and stood in the Immigration queue which was even longer but time passed talking to an American lady Anita who lives in Guatemala and runs tours there right now travelling with her partner John in a 4×4 with trailer to Argentina, finally after 2 hours of standing in the queue, got to the Immigration window, no forms to fill in and free, finished with that at 1230.
Then Aduana had all the copies ready, guy inspected the bike very nice no hassels at all entered it into the system and printed off forms all I did was sign twice and done, then the Aduana guy asked if I had any Australian currency, he collects notes and coins so I gave him a $5 Australian note, he wanted to pay me seemed genuine, I said no, all very easy except for the wait in the queues a new record 3.5 hours.
I was drinking a Pepsi (caffeine and sugar my riding medicine) and waiting to leave, talked to some Colombian bikers one WeeStrom, met the old German guy whose bike came in on the same plane from Panama he could not believe how little luggage I had and he does not have an email address, left at 1300 stopped at the first gas station there was a queue of Volvos from the Netherlands all ages sizes and shapes waiting to fill up, on a Panamerican tour, so I rode on stopped for gas a bit further but no Super so just put $2 in, only $1.48 a US gallon unbelievable, again good roads through the mountains 3000m at first, down to 1800 where it started feeling hot hahaha, arrived at Ibarra at 1500, found a basic hotel, the one I planned to stay in was full because I did not book, checked in 1545 and 224km.
Left the hotel at 0715 same sort of countryside 3000m cold early in the morning good road all the way to Quito but a steady stream of traffic and winding roads and slow trucks meant constant overtaking and lots of small villages and towns forgot to stop at the equator arrived at the outskirts of Quito at 0915 meandered along asked for directions a couple of times finally started seeing street signs so stopped and looked at the Google map jpg on my phone and worked out where I was after that looked at the map every time I stopped and got to the hotel.
Unloaded and cleaned panniers and top box noticed the right pannier damage so the bike must have gone down on the right side where I fell off then dug in and flipped onto the left, plugged laptop in and it was not charging again!!! So packed it up and asked about a computer shop, caught a taxi there where they tested it and said it was the power cord no charge and told me where to go to buy one about a block away walked there and bought 2 cords and an adaptor so I don’t have to cut off the earth pin all for $6.44 cheap compared to the $10 for the used cord from Mexico.
Next checked out the Galapagos websites the lastminute one had some listed so called them, Fabricio answered spoke English and we worked out a couple of options so I went to the office and found one for tomorrow leaving Thu 12th at 0740 and returning Mon 16th at 1315 for $1100 (half price) and because it is last minute I will probably have the cabin to myself if no one else books the other bed, airfare $480.79, called the hotel to see if it was ok to park my bike and leave my stuff there so withdrew cash from 3 ATM’s and got all the paperwork done back to the hotel to reorganise my stuff for another side trip. This is the boat I am going on, check the price for a 5day 4night cruise and add airfare to that, crazy
Like Cuba if this boat does have Internet it will cost an arm and a leg so no more posts until I get back.
How terribly exciting it’s been! Can’t wait to hear of your Galapagos trip. Relax and enjoy your time there; you’ve had a rough few past days!