QuickPeek: Rest. Craft. Missions. Planning. Tattoo. Cooking.

The last couple of weeks have been quiet, relaxing, productive and fun. I have been in Tumbaco, mostly researching my next leg of the journey and getting some stuff done. I think it’s a long time to do research, but the next leg is a pretty dramatic turn of events and we plan to take a boat trip on the Amazon River from Ecuador, heading into Peru, follow the river into the border of Colombia and then into Brazil. Depending on the boat schedules, which are not particularly well documented, it might take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. All this, toting our bikes and all the baggage along.

There have been numerous cyclists who have done this journey and seems to be a popular route among interpid backpackers too. Mostly, we stumbled on this idea while trying to figure out options to avoid the super rainy spells in Ecuador that’s expected to continue till May in Peru and Bolivia. It had been interesting looking at the different options and while we hung out here, we incepted the idea into other cyclists who had gone on ahead and sent us additional information to work with.

In the meantime, we cooked while we could, met a bunch of cyclists, did my regular shunts into Quito to visit outdoor stores etc. In Tumbaco, there is a really sweet Vegetarian restaurant that serves some stunning lunch menu’s. The lady who ran the place, Diana, was super nice and after we went there a few times, we got to be real friendly and I offered to show her some Indian recipes. She was excited and invited us to her place for a cook out, heh. Pressure situation. But we did go to her place and made some mixed veg curry and Roti. The food turned out pretty well too! Awesome.

I found some webbing straps in the pile in the bunker. It’s a sort of exchange of goodies between cyclists and with a few D Rings, I decided to make a bike frame carrier. It was a quick job and was fun to make. I hope it would come in handy at some point when I’d have to carry the bike with load on and will be strong wnough to not tear apart. With the time in hand, I wrote up a bunch of gear reviews that I had been meaning to write for a while. Some I had promised a couple of gear sponsors a year or so back, but all of them mostly for the benefit of people who are looking for information.

One of the cyclists had gifted me a long sleeve t-shirt. It was a bit too huge for me and on top of that, the material was super heavy too. I decided to repurpose that and decided to chop the sleeves and turn them into leggings. I found a small craft shop selling elastic straps and zippers and after a bit of work, I had pretty sweet leggings to keep the darn mosquitoes at bay and probably keep my legs warm on those chilly days too!!

One of the missions we had while being in Tumbaco, and given that our plans had changed, was to make a run to the Coast and get our bikes back. We synced up with Alicia and did a back to back overnighter bus rides to get to the coast, pick up our bikes and bags, made sure everything was in working condition and brought it back to Quito. Though it meant many hours waiting at bus stations and negotiating with the drivers about carrying bikes, we got the whole process done smoothly and it was nice to be back in Tumbaco with all out stuff in one place and ready to rock on.

The bikes stashed for nearly a month had been attacked by bat poop and mould and I spent a good part of the day cleaning up the bike and making sure all the bits and pieces were working well.

Following the reunion, we were ready to hit the road, but my old tattoo project was still undone in Ecuador and was at the back of my head. While walking along in Quito, we stumbled up on a nice Tattoo parlour and the artist there was super excited to work with me on my project and so that ensued. As is the case most of the times, I gave the artist free rein and he ended up doing a piece much larger than I expected. It was a marathon 10 hour session and I should say the most intense yet. But he was an amazing artist and I was glad to have stumbled on to him.

Now I wait for a couple of days of recovery and then hopefully we get on the road early next week.

Track Notes

Distance: 60 Km
Expenses: SG$ 543.60
Comments: It's exceptional to have a host, like Santiago and family, who let us live in their space and it makes all the difference in getting so much stuff sorted.