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Ecuador 2001

Climbing, Pub-crawling & Girls with Guns

South America

This page is about visiting Ecuador in 2001. The climbing exploits open in their own
windows from the thumbnails displayed here. This time I went to Ecuador with Steve
Harris. I was a married with five children. My wife said I could go, even though I was
going to miss her birthday, as well as our youngest son's birthday. Also, she
wanted me to come back in one piece, alive, or else. This time I was heavily-insured.
Like Squeak always says, if I should die, my wife's new boyfriend would have a nice place
in which to park his car. That's supposed to be an incentive to stay healthy & alive!

I flew down to Houston to meet Steve for the flight to Quito, stopping in
to visit my folks in Crosby briefly. Then came an orgy of re-packing for
the overseas flight at Steve's. Lorraine convinced me to shave my head
like Steve, saying she likes her men bald. The three of us then went to
a Navy Seals PT graduation party (Lorraine completed the course). All
around us were highly-trained athletes, drinking things such as vodka-spiked
wheat grass juice and eating fresh salmon sushi. Steve and I stuck to the
table with the fudge and cupcakes, and to bottled beer. I did my 4 push-ups
(all I could manage) and when the party was over, I was collected and slid
into a car like a floppy mannikin. I think.

A quick stop-in before going overseas
With sister Tami
in Crosby, Texas
30 November 2001
The earlier trip, but still a good photo of the city
Quito & Cotopaxi
from El Bosque
5 November 1993
Photo from the internet, author unknown
Hotel Real Audiencia,
where we stayed on
1 December 2001*
Photo from the internet, author unknown
The reception desk
at the hotel
Undated photo*
Photo from the internet, author unknown
The hotel, secured
for the night.
Undated photo*

I dreamed I was floating in beer. When I figured out that I was on a sofa in
Houston, Texas, the sun had come up, and Steve was rushing around
our duffle bags, stuffing them beyond capacity. Lorraine dropped us off at
George Bush Intercontinental Airport just in the nick of time. We were in
the air by 2 PM, in Panama City by 7 PM, and in Quito by 9:30 PM. We
checked into the Hotel Real Audiencia at 11 PM, and I gave Alissa a call.

Photo from the internet, author unknown
The upstairs dining
room at the hotel
Undated photo*
Photo from the internet, author unknown
Plaza Santo Domingo
from the dining area
Undated photo*
Steve's quest
Steve fearlessly
enters the skate park
2 December 2001
Skaters are a funny bunch.
Hey. Gimme back
my board, bro.
2 December 2001
Trannies are the bad side of this skate park
Skater versus tube,
Quito Skate Park
2 December 2001

December 2nd: Bread & coffee in the hotel breakfast room, then out into the streets to,
as Steve put it, immerse ourselves in the local culture. It was the Viva Quito festival!
All around were celebrating Ecuadorianos. We walked and rode buses. I was pickpocketed
by a team of three experts, losing $25. Chicken for lunch, chicken and rice for supper. I saw
alot of anti-gringo graffiti. Gone was the local currency, the Sucre, replaced by the stronger
US dollar. There's a story to that, much like our own present-day budgetary follies. The high
point of the day was when we went to the vast Quito skate park, where Steve felt right at home.

Yes, there's trash. Yes, it's urban.
Location, location:
Parque la Carolina
2 December 2001
There's a 15,000 foot volcano beyong the smoke
Loma de los Antennas,
& distant Pichinchas
2 December 2001
Not bad for a 40-year-old!
Steve on a borrowed
board at the park
2 December 2001
I guess they can look after a head injury here...
Over the edge:
In Quito. No helmet.
2 December 2001
Good recovery!
No helmet today.
Don't need one today.
2 December 2001

December 3rd was alot like the day before. The blisters that had formed on my scalp
from being hatless began to suppurate. We found the Turtle's Head British pub, which
would soon become the center of our daily operations. I was sad to leave the Mariscal
Sucre area of Quito, where most Americans stay. Back at Plaza del Domingo, the party
continued at full tilt, day and night. Steve had no trouble when he went out alone to take
photographs of the city, but I seemed to be magnetized to every gringo-hating jerk in town.

On the 4th, we took the $3 bus to Machachi, hiring a camioneta for $25 to drive us up
to La Virgen, at 12,790 feet. Then we started walking, in the rain, arriving at the Nuevos Horizontes
hut (15,250 feet) some time after nightfall. After we'd climbed Iliniza Norte on the 6th, we caught
a ride back into town with young Sebastian. Outside the hotel, I nearly got into a punch-up with
a drunken gringo-hater. Sebastian got us into the hotel, and the hotelier had us step away from
the doorway once inside. He expressed a concern for our safety, and suggested that we find a
place to stay in Mariscal Sucre tomorrow. A late supper at the Turtle's Head, where Alberto
helped us find a number of alternative flops, was a welcome nightcap to a long day.

Mosta had a lot of bravado.
Mosta (left) offers
a local's wisdom.
2 December 2001
Photo from the internet, author unknown
Alberto's authentic
British pub, Quito
Undated photo*
Photo  2001 Steve Harris Photography
Protecting my head
from the sun today!
3 December 2001
Photo  2001 Steve Harris Photography
Wish I'd seen this
guy the day before!
3 December 2001
The long hike up to the hut beneath the Ilinizas
Steve Harris plods
to the Iliniza peaks
4 December 2001

December 7th, we left Hotel Real Audiencia for Crossroads Cafe & Hostel. It cost a fraction
of what we were paying downtown. Besides, it was just a few blocks from the pub! I phoned
home often on the new Net Phones available seemingly everywhere. Our gear was still quite
damp from our climb on Iliniza Norte, so we didn't pack it up until the next morning, just before
leaving Quito. We were back in Quito by the evening of the 9th, having climbed Cotopaxi. By
the following afternoon, I was nearly out of cash, and my home sickness had swelled to huge
proportions. I managed to talk Steve into trying to get a flight home the next day, four days
earlier than our booked return. We were going to fly back on a Continental Airlines flight, not
tomorrow but this very night. Somehow, I felt relieved, but for my dread of flying at the time.

New window will open
Our climb on
Iliniza Norte

6 December 2001
You are safe at the Turtle's Head.
Don't fret none.
You're safe here.
Undated photo*
Aye, & we've got food for your belly too!
A pub-brewed ale
just for you. And me.
Undated photo*
New window will open
Our climb on

9 December 2001
Down the hill is the rest of the city.
Alberto's favorite place
for lunch & ricochet
10 December 2001

A pre-flight visit to the pub was helpful, where Alberto broke out his single malt scotch for us.
This helped a bit, atleast until it wore off, somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico. It was a stormy
night, and the stewardess was glad to be rid of me when we landed in Houston!

Images 2001 EBBoykin, Jr, except for
Images 2001 Steve Harris Photography
Used with permission

* Images from the internet, unknown authors

Contact Me especially
if you want your
photograph credited
(and thank you!)