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Old 01-04-2013, 05:47 AM   #206
RexBuck OP
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
Oddometer: 1,089
Dec 29 Into Ecuador

Four of us left Pasto for the boarder today - the hotel we had the previous night

Pasto was a pretty good sized town but you still see these carts wending their way down the streets

Saw this thing parked next to a gas station. Looks like a giant tanker with a nozzle on the back. Don't know if it was just on standby for crowd control or they got involved in the Water Day festivities the day before . . . wouldn't that be a hoot to watch, bunch of guys heaving water balloons off a building and this monster comes lumbering around the corner blasting away?

Stopped at the famous Santuario de las Lajas, a Cathedral built over a gorge in a spectacular setting.

The story goes that in the 18th Century somebody saw the image of the Virgin Mary in the rock and the spot became a pilgrimage for many. Between 1916 and 1944 the Church was built.

We can certainly attest to the place being a popular Pilgrimage – we were there on a Saturday and there were tons of people making their way to the church.

The church was packed with quite a procession going in and out

The long pathway down (which of course was the pathway back up . . . "It's Wheezin Geezer Time" sung to the tune of the Howdy Doody theme song) was packed with vendors selling just about anything you could think of

This guy was selling Llama rides

The river gorge which the Cathedral spans

They have even built a nice park and picnic area at the bottom

The building is quite the structure with a massive foundation to the bottom of the gorge

This guy was carrying a large bag of something to one of the vendors on the other side of the river

This Priest/Friar/Monk with a funky haircut - looks like a crown

See a lot of groups like these guys. Usually have a dummy (more on that tradition later) with one dressed up as a "lady" collecting donations. I think these were a bunch of local cops

This little guy was quite enthralled with the bikes - so he gets a test ride

Got to the boarder at about noon. Check out of Colombia was straight forward – 15 minute wait in line for passport stamp then over to Aduana and that guy takes the papers for the bike and says “Thanks”. Done. In front of the Colombia Migración

Meet a couple of Colombians starting a South America trip and a couple of guys from the US doing the whole Americas trip. Ken and Ben – father and son riding GSAs. Ben has a motorcycle rental business in Colorado.

Cross the bridge to Ecuador, park and stand in line for over an hour and a half to get the passport stamped. There were busloads of people waiting to get in. Apparently a lot of Colombians travel to Ecuador for New Years celebrations. What a gong show. The line started around the end of the parking lot to the left and they would let you in to the Migración office under the blue and white sign one by one.

Run into our young German friends again - Lawrence is 6' 6" - handy for changing light bulbs

While we are waiting a whole bunch more bikes show up – I think there was 25 or 30 bikes waiting. All the new arrivals were from Colombia – real friendly guys as we try to tell them about our trips in our rotten Spanish.

Aduana was pretty straight forward. Get a photocopy of the entrance stamp, they fill out some paperwork and done. All together it was 3 ˝ hours – the longest crossing yet.

Decided to take the first hotel we find so we aren’t riding in the dark. Stop in the nearby town of Tulcan and find an ok place for $12 each. They use the US $ in Ecuador. Easier to understand but I was starting to think in terms of thousands of pesos in Colombia - 12 is not a number you hear in Colombia.

Ken and Ben joined us. A lousy pic of them - Ben on the left

Went to a Chinese Restaurant for dinner – had a kind of Chop Suey except they mixed French fries in it instead of noodles. Weird. Don’t usually put pics up of marginal food but this was so strange, here it is.

Tasted ok but what doesn't after a few beers?

__________________ - RexBuck's Latin America
Information on travelling in Latin America.
Includes links to ride reports to Mexico and to South America
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