I packed up my troubles in my old kit bag (large backpack, small backpack and satchel), and bid farewell to Quito. It has been my base for a month. I got to spend some time with Lillie and Lukas which was wonderful and they taught me enough Spanish to wave me goodbye as I board a bendy bus to take me to the South Terminal, Quitumbe. It gets packed and I start to wonder if I could get off through these people. The answer would be no. I wouldn’t have been able to but my stop is the last one so it works well. Some school girls laugh at me trying to pick up my backpack as I hoist it on my back without falling backwards and rolling around like an upside down tortoise. B¡tçH3z!
The terminal is big and well sign posted. I grab some cash (from my bank not someone’s pocket) and go to find where I buy my ticket. There are around 60 different ticket offices. That’s ok. I can speak Spanish now. “Disculpe señor, dónde está el billete de Cuenca?” He replies and points. Hand gestures are always welcome. Not the rude kind. I find my ticket office and purchase my ticket for the 8pm bus to Cuenca. It’s about an 8hr journey to Cuenca. The ticket costs me $12. Bargain. I go and get a roll and a bottle of water for the journey. $3. Great! I carry my huge bag to the bus and I find the right one. This is easy. I get my seat and relax. We leave around 8.15pm. I have a double seat to myself. Lovely. We hit the road and I settle in for the long journey.
They put a film on, ‘San Andreas’. I haven’t seen it before. It has The Rock in it, playing a loving Father who has separated from the Mother and then the whole of America is pretty much being destroyed because of earthquakes. Oh and he’s a pilot so he saves people. He’s just badass and even though I couldn’t understand the most of it as it was in Spanish, you didn’t really need to. The Hoover Dam got destroyed. The Golden Gate Bridge too! That would be devastating. The worst part of the film was the opening scene where a young girl is driving along and then something hits her screen and she crashes off the edge of the cliff and is plummeting to her death. Which is REALLY helpful when riding the death bus late at night. The plus side to a night bus is that you’re travelling through the night so not missing out on daytime events. The down side is that everything is scarier in the dark!! I kept feeling like we were gonna tip over. He went fast on some bends. I didn’t sleep much. But the little nap that I did have resulted in me losing my nigh on £400 x-ray vision Ray Bans… I looked everywhere for them and yes, go on, I couldn’t find my glasses without my glasses. So the next two months will be trying. Hopefully my insurance will cover it.
We arrive in Cuenca at 4am. I’m slightly early for my hostel but they have a bed for me anyway, so I creep into my shared room where two young ladies are sound asleep. I become a stealth assassin, but one that just wants to get into bed and sleep, without anyone hearing. I get around 4hrs sleep before other travellers start to rise. I always wake up early here though. I’m gonna go for a wander and get some pics for the blog. I spoke with the chap at Happy Dogs in Cuenca and he’s out of town. Gutted. My dog mission will be on hold for now.
I went for walk to see what I could see and it is absolutely beautiful here. The old town is gorgeous, boasting cute little artisanal shops and markets and stunning old churches and various other buildings. It has a flowing stream which kinda of separates the new from the old. It feels really safe and friendly here. Especially in the old town. There’s so much to see. Tomorrow I’ll go to some museums.
I went to a coffee shop for coffee. Before I had a chance to say anything, he had put a lentil and chicken broth in front of me. I knew he was doing the whole $3 combo thing but I wasn’t hungry. I ate the soup and left. I paid, obviously. I just felt like I’d been tricked into eating, was all. I found a beautiful park and sat there for a bit. A chap playing guitar and singing in Spanish was my backing track.
It’s not too bad without my glasses. Although, I can’t tell you what I missed…
When I was younger I used to wonder why someone would be on their own for dinner, and now here I am at the ‘Number 1 restaurant in Cuenca, Fabianos’ (thank you Trip Advisor), on my own. I’m never really on my own. As I write these blog posts, and even before, this is what I was doing. Conversing in my head. Thinking about what’s going on around me. Not in a crazy ‘oh my god she has finally lost it’ kinda way. But in a way that I just feel very comfortable with myself. I don’t need others to make me feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I love and miss all my friends and family and significant others (only one of those), but I learnt that if you can’t enjoy your own company then how can you expect others too. So you’ll be pleased to know Me and I are having a wail of a time and I expect you to enjoy me this much when I get back! Ok?
I’m loving the busyness of this place. Reminds me of working at The Pelton on a Sunday lunch. The service bell would go and if you weren’t there within 0.5secs it was ringing again. I’d love to have shoved that bell up Jason’s arse. In a nice way. Now I’ve made that sound weird. I kinda have that Pavlov Dogs situation. Not sure if you’re familiar. It was when he trained his dogs to come to food with the sound of a whistle, or bell. So does that mean we’re all dogs? No. That’s not what I mean. You know what I mean.
I wish my Spanish was better. I always wanted to run before I could walk. Try to imagine me talking in English as I am Spanish. “Hello. How are you? (That bit is good). Glass of wine. Pizza Especial. One more glass of wine. Take away (points at remaining pizza thinking of breakfast). Pay here? Thanks. Bye”. Still, so much more than a month ago. I got off the plane able to say hello, thanks and bye. That’s the same amount of vocabulary I used working behind the bar.
The hostel I’m staying at is called Hostel Alternative. They deserve a special thanks after I was due to arrive at 10am (when I booked), but I actually arrived at 4am and they let me have a bed right away. And it’s really clean!! I can’t imagine what I would have done without that. If I can give any advice when booking a hostel, make sure it has 24hr reception, unless you are 100% on what time you’re going to arrive. My plans are changing all the time.