Indiana June is the main character in a real-life Pick-A-Path Adventure story. She is cycling the globe and letting people vote to decide what she does next. Her fate is in your hands so get voting to choose how the story unfolds. Read more…

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Flat road, long days & fairytale romance



Distance cycled: 55km

After having a night on my own in Montanita I cycled further down the coast of Ecuador to the beautiful beach town of Bellenita.


But there was one small problem, how would the guys find the hostal I was staying in when they arrived in town? Answer... Put my Indiana June shirt on a chair outside. Eddy's hostal had a pool and air conditioning for $12 a person, including breakfast.

Ecuador uses the US dollar, but NOBODY has any change. You can't buy anything with a $20 note that doesn't cost at least $17.

Generally they will take the big note and tell you to come back for change later, which if you're me, you inevitably forget to do.

1findme  1jose

During dinner I was perplexed by all the plastic bags I saw, filled with water and hanging by a string. The restaurant owner explained it is to freak the flies out. When they get close they see their giant warped reflection and fly the other way. Interesting concept, I think if we left Jose there the flies would definitely  pack their fly-bags and leave town. 


Here's a team photo before we ate ridiculous volumes of seafood. From the left: Enriquie, me, George, Lee, Jose, Gunther, Dick, Robert, Phil and Charlie, plus a little friend we met.

This is the view from the boardwalk restaurant, as the sun neared the horizon everything was bathed in a beautiful golden light.




Distance cycled: 135km

Water bottle refills: 8

Times I got saturated and dried off again: 3

When we reached Ballenita it was a gorgeous day but by the next morning it was wet and overcast. We  were headed for the coast to Playas but the road deteriorated and the rain was hammering us, so the group decided to plough on to Guayaquil, an extra 55km on top of the 80 we had planned.

I was happy to stick with the original plan but democracy rules when you're travelling with 10 cycle-crazy old men.


I spotted this Daffy garbage can and had to stop for a photo. My friend Pat has a great blog called Bin there, seen that:

The idea is that people post photos of rubbish bins (garbage cans) from all over the world. So this one's for you Pat. Another Ecuador trash fact is that the garbage trucks play music just like the ice cream trucks do in New Zealand. Weird.


When the sun comes out you really roast so we generally stop for a refreshment break every 20km or so. There will often be a small household selling water and cola on the side of the road, the kids here were so cute I had to get a pic. Indigenous people are quite short in Ecuador, with many of them less than 5 feet tall so I'm a bit of a giant as you can see from this photo - the guy in the lavender shirt is on his tippy-toes!


MAN DOWN... 135km after setting out, we arrive at our hotel and George is flat out on the cool tiles in seconds. (Check out his permanent bicycle grease mark tattoo, very cool.)


Guayaquil: REST DAY

Distance cycled: 0km

Number of steps climbed to old town: 444

Beers consumed: 8

Pastries consumed: 4

I dragged my tired legs and body out of the hotel room, it had been raining all morning and it would have been easy to lay in bed and watch b-grade Spanish movies all day. But I was in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and there was exploring to be done. I was rewarded with the best custard pastry I've had in my life, hands down, no contest, with chewy sticky treacle dripped over it. Next stop was Bolivar Plaza where there were turtles cruising around in the pond, this one popped up to say hello.

3turtle  3igu

There were dozens of Iguanas chilling out in the trees, laying there lifeless, hoping for the sun to come out to recharge their batteries. Next I walked along the impressive Malecon tropical gardens and boardwalk and found a little café. I was taken with the ducks so started to draw them, they moved a lot but it was fun trying to capture their frenetic search for food from snap-happy tourists.


A guy sitting opposite me kept checking me out and when we finished our drinks we both went over to pond. I didn't have a 25c coin to buy fish food so Adam, the Polish seaman came to the rescue. He offered to take me for a walk up to Las Penas, 444 steps up to a lookout with a beautiful view of Guayaquil and the paintbox cloured houses perched on the hill.

3444  3colourhiuses

It was hot and sticky so we stopped for cold beer halfway down and Adam bought me a rose from a young girl who was quite the saleswoman.

Like a Cinderella fairytale he had to be back onboard his ship by midnight and instead of losing a dainty glass slipper, I almost lost a plastic croc, it was so slippery in the rain.

Later that night I met up with Santiago, a local couchsurfer and his gang. We ate microwaved Empanadas and watched the twinkling lights of the big city. There's so much to explore here and the people are really friendly, I definitely recommend a visit if you're in Ecuador.



Distance cycled: 90km

Frogs and toads:

In Ireland when you have a deadly day, it is considered to be brilliant, in Ecuador it means you have had to smell and witness a lot of road kill as the tally above indicates. I mean, how often to do you see dead horses? The dead snakes varied from approximately 60cm long up to big whoppers, which left me wondering if they could bite me while pedalling from their hiding place in the sugar cane fields.


One theory about the dead horses is that they drowned, as you can see a lot of the flat tableland is flooded at the moment. Occasionally we'd see someone in a canoe trying to get to their house.


The long flat road was a joy but the mountains kept getting closer and closer.


Another 90km cycled in 35 degree heat. If sweating was an olympic sport, I would have been awarded a gold medal today.

4beans  4birthday

Gunther kept putting things in his mouth that he shouldn't today. First it was the drying cocoa beans on the road and then it was Jose's candles on his birthday cake that he mistook for candy.

Latest Poll Results
New York: What will Indiana June do in the big apple?
21% Track down and visit Oliver Jeffers:
Renowned Children's storybook writer & illustrator
11% Walk the High Line:
A linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated NY Central Railroad 
11% Be a NYC detective for a day: 
Part game, theatre and tour to discover some of NYC's most off-the-beaten path spots
13% Explore the City Hall Subway Station: 
Abandoned & hidden from the public for 60 years
12% Flying trapeze class:
Hone her circus skills learning how to fly on a trapeze 
30% NZ Flag + Statue of Liberty:
Bodypaint the NZ flag on her body and go up the Statue of Liberty
2% Go to Queens and find a 'Nanny' sound-alike:
Video someone with the nanny accent saying "noo Zealand, i love that place"
Voting closed | 204 VOTES
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