Friday, February 3, 2017

This week has been non-eventful for the greater part of it. I got sick toward the end of last week and it has persisted all this week. While I have been run down, going to bed early, or being in bed during various parts of the day, the rest of the family has stayed healthy. Chase and Easton have been running on schedule, and now they are also working out on the equipment in the new park across the street. Heidi has even started working out with them too. Maybe next week I will feel like joining in as well.

Michelle (Chase’s friend) decided to visit Vilcabamba this weekend. She rode the bus from Puerto Lopez (on the coast) and stopped in Cuenca to see us along her way. We decided to go with her to Vilcabamba for the weekend too, so yesterday we all got on the bus for the six hour ride from Cuenca.

The weather in Cuenca has been rainy and I am hoping for sunshine and warmer temperatures in Vilcabamba. I’m still congested and coughing but I figure, if nothing else, the change of scenery will do me some good. Besides, Vilcabamba is supposed to be the city of longevity with residents routinely living past 100 years old. Maybe I will find the secret sauce to turn back a few years. 😉

The bus ride was long, but the scenery from Cuenca to Vilcabamba was fantastic! So many lush green valleys with sloping grass-covered mountain sides. In every valley there were a few simple homes built on the steep slopes, with black and white spotted cows dotting the green landscape. It reminded me of a Swiss Miss chocolate milk commercial.

The bus ride was typical…a  crazy bus driver speeding around curves like he was driving a Corvette, and not a 45 foot metal container on wheels. What made this ride easier to bear was the lack of sheer drop offs around each bend. If we flew off the road we probably wouldn’t die. This little boy on the bus didn’t have a care in the world about it. He was only interested in eating the chicken and french fries his mother had for him on his plate.

boy on bus to vilcabamba

Boy on Bus

When we arrived around 5 pm in Vilcabamba the sun was beginning to set behind the up-close mountains surrounding this valley. Our hostel was not far from the bus station so we walked the few blocks to it. As we walked through the main plaza of town I was amazed at how many Gringos I saw.

Vilcabamba is a small community of about 6000 people. Surprisingly, about 2000 of them are Gringos who live here in some capacity. As I was making my way to our hostel, the people I saw sitting at the outdoor tables of the restaurants and bars we passed were all Gringos. The ex-pat community is small enough here that we must have stuck out as unknown newcomers walking through town. Everyone’s head looked up our way, but strangely I didn’t see anyone smile, or hear any hellos. It is going to be interesting finding out about this place.

We checked into our hostel and Heidi was less than impressed. I will leave it at that. I know she was hoping for a Wyndham experience like I got to enjoy in Quito, but that isn’t this place. The mattress feels like a slab of concrete, there is one hangar on the exposed wooden dowel rod attached to the wall, the pillows on the bed are extremely flat, but the room is clean…or at least appears so.

When we checked in we were handed two towels and a roll of toilet paper. Honestly, what more could a person want? 😉

Next week I will post pictures and share stories of our weekend here in Vilcabamba.