There are more buses in Ecuador than what the hotels and travel agents tell you.
↑ Early mornings in rural areas ares are quite dramatic!
Waking up at the crack of dawn I stepped out of my room to a bright silver fog that had surrounded the Luna Runtun resort high up in the mountains. Baños town is a five kilometers downhill drive from here and I was told that the only way to get to the town was by taxi. Ofcourse that isn’t true.
The asphalt road spiralling down to the base of the mountain was drenched in morning dew and appeared like a dark black snake slithering somewhere far away. Thin patches of fog breezed through the mountain pass, filling little flowers with dew and making them droop from the acquired weight. Birds were chirping excitedly as they usually do early in the morning and I was singing to myself because there was nobody listening.
I never give up opportunities to hitchhike and each time I heard a vehicle approaching, I stuck the thumb of my outstretched hand upward. Five or six vehicles glanced at me thoroughly but showed no interest in picking me up. Thirty minutes later a jeep carrying folks from the resort stopped and they held up the power chord of my macbook which I must have forgotten in my room. I thanked them profusely as I got off at the bus station and finished my breakfast of cheese rolls and milk cake.
A bus from Baños to Quito was about to depart and this bus would be dropping me off in Latacunga, but I was being aggressively tempted by some other attractions; sugarcane juice for example. I told the driver it will take five minutes to grab a glass of jugo de caña and since nobody is paranoid about punctuality, he helped himself to a glass of the drink and held the bus. For me. I thought I was special but then he did this for several other passengers on the way, much to my annoyance and delay.
↑ Entrance to Latacunga town.
Latacunga is a quiet little town and I had nothing to do but kill time until boarding supposedly the only bus going to Isinlivi, my first stop in the Quilotoa loop. Again a lie told by tourist people. There are numerous buses going to that village, so don’t be fooled.
I got into the dusty and fragile bus and grabbed a seat behind two prominently German girls and began snacking on a bag of cream cheese filled pastries I had purchased for $1. I am realising it just now that bakeries are aplenty in Ecuador and I my sweet tooth had a very satisfying time.
After four (five?) hours of rattling, shaking and zooming through dusty dirt roads chased by barking dogs, my bus made it to Sigchos village and then to Isinlivi. By now I had become good friends with the German girls and we made plans to spend the next two days together. Deviating from my itinerary and spending three days in Baños had kinda made me anxious to get back on the Quilotoa loop. Now I was back, and happy about it although I would only get three days in the Quilotoa loop with a Quilotoa lake dayhike.
Moral of the story? There is always a bus going from somewhere to somewhere and one shouldn’t worry too much about these things. Hitchhiking is pretty safe and common too!