Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pallatanga to Machachi - March 26

We had a late start this morning.  I had a bad reaction to my anti-malarials and was knocked off my feet for a few hours, so we got underway after 10am.
The road north from Pallatanga was a long ascent into the Andes.  It was a beautiful, but surprisingly cold ride at 14 degrees - especially after the last week of 35 to 40 degree heat.
We stopped for lunch at a traditional restaurant in Mocha. I had Cuy for the first time - it's a Guinea Pig like animal that's actually the national dish in Peru, and also very popular in Ecuador. What can I tastes like chicken!  It's a little fattier, but really does taste like a delicious roast chicken.
More tollbooth drama of a different kind today.  I mentioned previously that motos are charged 20 cents each - so what could be easier than pulling up to the booth, paying 40 cents and being on our way?  Well, we'd been through three tolls doing exactly that when at the fourth, I paid, the gate lifted we proceeded and the gate crashed down on Petra!  She was OK, but the gate was made of plastic and literally shattered to pieces!  We can't get over all of the bizarre incidences we're experiencing at tollbooths.
Darkening clouds were chasing us from Ambato, and we rode into Machachi in a downpour and soaked to the bone.  It's still surprisingly cold at only 16 degrees, so cold and when we searched for a hostal only to luck out again! We are in a beautiful 180 year old hotel with tudor style beams, and antique furniture.  The bikes are safe and secure in the garden coutyard, and the owners have been very friendly.

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