Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

The AmericasI have travelled the length and bredth of the Americas since I started this trip back in December, but the time has come for me to move on.

It also means that I will no longer need to keep butchering the Spanish language that I have learned to some degree as I have moved south from the USA.

There have certainly been plenty of highs as well as a few lows to keep me grounded on the road, but as ever it is time to move on because the planet has so many more waves on offer for me to enjoy along the rest of this trip.

Las OlasRather fittingly I saw this road sign next to the pizza place on my last night in Chile.

It translates to The Waves, which is an odd name for a road if you ask me, but the sign was pointing westward towards the east and that is exactly where I am going.

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the-andesFlying from Brazil to my next stop in Peru I have to cross the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes. 

They are over 4,000 miles long and extend through seven South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

The Andes range is the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia and I have learnt that the peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is actually farther from centre of the Earth than any other location on the planet’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from its rotation.

AliveIn October 1972 a plane carrying a rugby team from Uruguay to Chile crashed in the Andes. The survivors had to fend for themselves amidst the freezing weather at altitude with a very limited supply of food, after the search and rescue operation for them was called off. Only16 of the 45 on board actually survived, and they had to resort to eating the flesh of their team mates who had died to do so.

It is common knowledge that rugby clubs foreign tours can get a little out of hand, but this took things to a whole new level!

The movie Alive told the story of these events, but I am hoping not to have anything similar happen on my own flight. The plane seems to be full of Japanese tourists, most of whom are pensioners. I doubt they would feed a big lump like myself for long! 

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panama-hat-shop-2.tifI did a bit of research on Panama hats before I left the UK and discovered that they are actually made in Ecuador. They are only known as Panama hats because this is where the trade in them flourished (along with many other things) because the narrow strip of land faciltated easy trade from both Asia and Europe.

I was originally hoping to buy one of the hats made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica Palmata plant when I travelled through Ecuador in my car. However I am no longer sure that I will be stopping there at all. Depending on how long it takes me to sell the car I may well be just flying over it, so Panama seems like the obvious place to buy one instead.

MontecristiAll Panamas can be rolled up to make storing or travelling with them less cumbersome. the narrower the weave the easier this is and the most expensive hats have as many as 2500 weaves per square inch.

They are known as Montecristis, after the town where they are produced. A ‘Superfino’ Montecristi Panama has a weave so fine that the hat can hold water, and when rolled for storage the entire hat can pass through a gap as small as a wedding ring.

I would love one of those bad boys but cannot justify the £400 I would have to shell out for something I might wear at the cricket or for picnics in the park, but have picked up the one you see here along with its storage box, which does have a very fine weave, even if it is not quite a Superfino.

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