The local farmers transported the harvest to the main road, blocked half of it by placing big rocks leaving only one lane for traffic from both direction...
... so they produced a sand and dust free surface to separate the chaff from the grain.
(Farmers working in North Ecuador)
The streets of Quito reminded me of San Francisco with it's steep inclines but the culture and the history of the two cities are world apart.
Built in the year 1600 La Compañía is a magnificent piece of architecture. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I managed before they told me that I wasn't supposed to photograph. Quito.
I climbed from 400m altitude to 3400m within an hour taking the unpaved rugged road. The beauty is never ending.
Riding lonely roads of Ecuador.
The young doctor was in trouble at the top of a pass on a deserted and unpaved road. She didn't know how to change the spare wheel. I guess her guardian angel must have ordered me to take the same road.
Heading down south into Peru I took the wrong road but landed in this pretty little town. Everybody was enjoying themselves and it was carnival atmosphere. One part of me said I should look for a hostel and stay and enter the new year with celebration of firecrackers...
... but I decided against it. I wanted to ride a little more further closer to Peru border. But I didn't know what I was getting myself into. After about 20 minutes of riding, the heavens opened. I had climbed back up to 3400 meters above sea level and it was pouring with rain. But I continued hoping that the rain would stop soon. But it persisted for a long time until I had climbed back to 1000 meters level. As soon as I spotted the dry ground realizing that it hadn't been raining there, I kept my eyes open for a suitable place to spend the night. So I spent my new years eve under the stars alone surrounded by steep mountains in south Ecuador.
When I woke up I couldn't believe my eyes how arid the area was. There were hardly any plants compared to the previous day of riding. Withing a few kilometers the landscape had changed completely...
... apart from cactus and a few bushes, there was no other vegetation to be found here. This at 1000 meters above sea? No wonder why I couldn't drive any pegs into the ground to fix my tent. It was all rocky!
Arid landscape but pretty. South Ecuador
I met these two bikers of Ecuador at the border crossing into Peru. They were riding towards Bolivia to see Paris Dakar rally. Unlike many other nights, I didn't have to spend time in solitude. We had a great night. Went out to eat in a good restaurant and then booked ourselves into a hostel and slept in comfort for a change. I thought I was in a hurry doing my South American trip. But they were travelling even faster. Next day I woke up early to say goodbye to them. But we were hoping to catch up later somewhere down the road.
The deeper you entered Peru the straighter it became. The roads stretched as far as your eye could see. Lush green vegetation you saw in the north slowly thinned out and the sand, rocks and desolate landscape filled the picture.
I rode a painful 600km on this day. I shot this photo as things were still bearable. The side wind grew ever stronger and my riding style became that of a stuntman leaning against the wind by at least 30 degrees and sand finding it's way up every opening. Four long hours of agony in a sandstorm!
I was glad when the "zona de dunas" were behind me. The wind was still persistent but sand free!
A green patch of north coast of Peru. I never knew Peru had rice paddies.