Where are we?

More Toucans!

Friday Nov 15th

This morning we drove to the main square in Mindo and walked around a little to check things out. LOTS of tourist places for those looking for guides etc.  Also many restaurants, I think maybe this weekend it will be busy here :)

I've never seen this before, bananas when they first come out. Unless this is some decorative banana tree in the yard of where we stayed overnight??

In town you can buy different colored eggs 😄

The local church looks different then most

Found outside of a ceviche restaurant Blue crabs from the coast!

And they have one claw bigger then the other - look at those eyeballs! LOL!!

Painting on the outside of a restaurant

Lots to do in this area

Dwayne's chocolate bar - with coconut- from where the chocolate is made but didnt take the tour ;)

And my white chocolate bar which is made with cocoa oil instead of cocoa to keep it white when mixed with milk and sugar.  Each bar was $3

Another nice looking restaurant 
We left around 10:30 and had an interesting drive once we left Mindo and headed west.  We were in the cloud forest - or I would call driving thru heavy thick fog! It wasn't the best drive so far that's for sure since we are back on a 2 lane highway!! I wanted us to stop but every time there was a place to pull over the cloud would lift and it was clear again - but only for awhile! This went on back and forth for probably an hour. Thankfully everyone drives very carefully and are not passing when the cloud is thick.

But the exciting thing was when we saw a toucan fly infront and above us as we were driving! Dwayne quickly pulled over. I could see at least 5 of the Fruit Loops toucan AKA White-throated toucan :) in the trees and flying about. It was so great to see!! Of course I tried to take pictures but their color doesn't show up plus still to far away.  But it sure was cool to see!!

We continue on to the city of Santa Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Not much to see here it's a stop on the way to the coast. But there is a propane place so thought we should try it out and see if they can top up Vanna's propane tank. When we find the place we have no luck, he only fills regular propane tanks not vehicle propane. Oh well we're still good for awhile. Hopefully near Quito we'll find a place.

Along our drive there is an area that has really tall palm trees that stuck out from the rest of the trees. But they weren't tall like the wax palms, but they did look out of place

Along the highway there are many waterfalls
After leaving Santo Domingo we head back towards to east to the Pan American highway again.  We drive for about an hour and I see a place that we should be able to park for the night right by a river below the highway. Dwayne turns off the highway and we find a place to park. It's going to be noisy though with the truck traffic.  We get our chairs out and watch the river and read for a bit.

The river we are going to park next to

We park on the side just past the house

This goose didn't like me getting out of the van to take pictures LOL!!

Then I see a local across the river looking so I wave. He waves back and then gives us hand directions to come over the bridge to his place. Really??? So I wave back and give him a thumbs up while Dwayne puts away the chairs.  We cross the river and turn at the first road and follow it. Before long we can see him standing in the driveway :)  We drive up and he points for us to park near his house. We get out and shake hands and greet each other. His son is also there and we greet him. We "speak" to each other as well as we can. I can understand the son a little better then the dad.  The son tells us that he makes vases and candle holders out of pieces of wood beside the house. He has a lathe there and lots of precut pieces of wood. He says he also paints them and then brings out his phone to show us pictures of his work. Very nice stuff.  Unfortunately all the work he just completed are in bags ready to go to town.

This is where he does his lathe work after cutting wood into  smaller pieces
Then a big truck drives up, this is another son and he is bringing his mother back home. So we greeted them too. They all wanted to see the inside of Vanna and were pretty amazed at how we had everything in this car!  The dad's name is Emiliano Cuasqer - and the reason I know his last name is because he showed me his phone number on his cell,  which also showed his last name, to give it to me.  Not sure why but I entered it anyways on my phone. I kidded him that if we have problems with the policia I will call him :)  Then he asked us inside his house and to sit down. We "chatted" a bit. I asked if he had any cattle and he said he did but on another farm. Oh course it becomes awkward to try and have a conversation going when it difficult to understand and speak. He wife comes over with a bowl of oranges and offers us to have one.  After awhile we went back outside.

Seems the son with the big truck went down from the house and got a pig from somewhere and put it in the truck,  because when he came back to put bags of his brother's finished wood vases into the truck the pig almost jumped out of the truck!! I tried to get a picture but they were busy "shooing" it to the front of the truck.  Once the bags were loaded the brothers said good-bye to us and off they went.  We talked a little longer with Emiliano and then I said I had to get into the casa rodante to start cena. But first we need to take a picture of him and his wife and us. So he goes and gets her for the "photo" he says :)  His wife also brought over a huge bag of oranges for us. After the picture we got into the van and they went into the house.  That is the fun part of travelling like this, you never know what the day can bring. This was such an awesome afternoon having Emiliano wave us over from across the river to stay at his house.😍

Emiliano and his wife

A parrot they have outside their house

Saturday Nov 16th

We got up around 7 so we could leave early and get to Quito before noon.  Had a great quiet sleep! The son can back to work around 6:30am but he wasnt really too noisy. We go to the house to say good bye. I have some packages of chocolate chip cookies that I give the wife and we pay $5 to Emiliano for letting us spend the night. We hop into Vanna and wave our good-byes 😍

We have about 2 hour drive to Quito.  We stop after about half and hour to make coffee and have breakfast. We were also able to fill up the water tank some more. 

While we are driving we get to 8800' and there are peaks still way higher than us! 

We hit the summit of the highway at 10,900'. It was quite a climb, at one point there were only 2 lanes and we had a very slow fuel tanker in front. At one point we were completely stopped, Dwayne said he probably missed a shift so had to start over again.  At least it didnt take to long before we were back to 4 lanes and humming along. 

Low clouds over Quito

We get into Quito and head over to where a hardware store is suppose to have a propane adapter. We go to the address on IOverlander - but can't find it.  So we first stop at a big grocery store and then we drive to a restaurant I read about in Lonely Planet. It's in Old Town and suppose to have a great view. We got to within 4 blocks of it when all of a sudden the road in front of us is closed. We can get around but there are sooooo many cars and it's all one lane oneway, to congested for us so I say forget it, we'll go do laundry instead. 

Found bread my grandson Cruz would LOVE!! Totally crustless and white!! LOL!!
Quito also has bus lanes only and the bendy buses

We go down one block in Old Town and there were at least 4 different stores on the same block selling their cones like this. I guess not many melt before they are sold!

Just a little of Old Town before we headed out 

So we drove to the other side of the downtown area to a laundromat - an actual laundromat where we can put it in the machine and also into a dryer. Huge washer $4.50 did everything in one load. I'm now doing laundry like a teenager - forget sorting! LOL!!! And the dryer took 40mins at 25 cents for 8 mins.  It was great! Plus FREE WIFI!!! That let me get my blog done again 😍

Now that we are finished we will go check out a parking area for Overlanders near the huge park Parque de Caroline. Suppose to be only $2 for the night. 

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