Desert Stimulants

I flicked a bead of perspiration off the Red Bull on the table.  Ahead of me was a hundred and seventy kilometers of desert.  I figured with the help of some stimulants I’d be able to cover that in three days if I walked into the night. “I’ll need another,” I said to the young […]

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Afternoon Tea

Somewhere down the long stretch of road between the Ecuadorian border and the first Peruvian city I looked over my shoulder to see a cyclist rolling across the lane to me.  The man moved his glasses to his hat and revealed a pale face with sunscreen smeared over a few day old beard.  It had […]

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Descent from the Páramo

Beyond the Páramo I set my tent on the edge of a cliff bordered by pine trees and tall grass.  The grass hid me from the road and the trees gave me some protection from the wind.  Through the bug net of my tent I could see the massive Andean gorge splitting two mountains.  Following […]

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Cuy

The indigenous woman held up a clump of dirt and cocked her arm back.  She hissed something in Quichua, the Incan language which sounded most akin to Parseltongue, then raised her arm higher.     I didn’t understand, the moment before I was laughing as the herd of sheep approached and Savannah pounced around them as […]

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Generosity

By four-thirty on my third day from Quito I’d walked twenty-seven miles.  I’d been searching for a place to set my tent for an hour but nothing cropped up.  There weren’t any woods or nooks to hide in.  All around me were pastures, each acre marked by a cottage.     I paused at an empty […]

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Araza

With every border crossing I’m amazed at how much difference the laws of men can make. Each country varies greatly, not just in infrastructure, but in mood. Crossing from Colombia into Ecuador felt similar to when I crossed from Honduras to Nicaragua. The biggest difference being the danger in Honduras was known and palpable, while […]

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Local Advice

I was roughly a hundred kilometers from Popayán and the landscape was transforming from farms to desert.  Gradually the trees turned prickly, and fat cattle were replaced by gaunt horses roaming the dusty earth.  Cars were rare.  Houses were rectangular blocks of dried clay. In the unbridled heat, I crossed a long yellow bridge above […]

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Axle Woes

I had a spectacular view; each mountain taller than those in front of it, winding paths arriving at isolated farmhouses, and a clay-colored river cutting through the valley far below. La Plata, the last city I passed through was sixteen miles back.  Belén, the next town was some undetermined distance ahead, and beyond that were […]

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There are Flying Cars in America

The hotel’s rusted gate was swung open.  To my left a plywood sign hung over an old plastic one.  The place didn’t seem like it was open, but I was decidedly finished with the day so it was worth checking out. I stood a little straighter to make myself as presentable as possible as I […]

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