Devil´s Nose to Quenca

So we left Baños cos you can´t stay in Baños for the rest of your life (there was a sign saying as much when we first got to town).

So what does one do in that situation? I am not sure, but we two caught a bus to Riobumba, stayed the night and got up at 5.50 in the morning to catch a train.

The train is called the Nariz de Diablo, which means The  Devil´s Nose. I don´t know how they picked that name. Anyway it is a train that you can ride on the roof as it winds its way from Riobumba to Alausí in 7 hours. It is very cold when the train starts off (full of westies with their Lonely Planets in hand). Very cold..

Cold Train 1

Indeed, it is so cold Fionn was a little delirious…

Cold train 2

The train winds its way through some pretty impressive terrain. And all the scruffy country kids come out and wave to the train as it passes and we all buy lollipops from a guy on the train to throw to the kids.

There appear to be two schools of thought amongst the kids on how to deal with this.

1.The kids are very clever about it. They stand there and wave and ignore the lollipops that land near them (playing it cool), they just keep on waving to the train until the last carriage has passed (thus encouraging more lollipops to be thrown) then they scamble like crazy to collect all sweets in the vicinity.

2. The second school of thought seems to be to clutch, scramble and run for anything and everything in a frenzy of sugar lust. This theory is prevelant when one or more kids are together and therefore there is competition for the falling lollipops. (Namely, if you play it cool, encouraging more lollipops, you will most likely get none as those around you "lutch, scramble and run for anything and everything in a frenzy of sugar lust" as described above.

I wonder if a threory of economics could be based on this study?

Here is a pic from the roof of the train…


and one with us…


After the 7 hour train ride, was a 5 hour bus ride (it was a long day of travelling, from 7am to 7 pm) to the pretty city of Cuenca. Full of colonial architecture it is the perfect place for us to continue our "Park ´n Church" tour of Ecuador.

The "Park ´n Church" concept is that, in every Ecuadorian town there are a number of town squares that have a church on them. So, of course you have to visit everyone of them. We even went to one town (Ibarra) on a 50 minute bus ride just to taste their famous ice-cream (very nice and 80c for a bowl of 2 flavours). Of, course you can´t travel that far just for the ice-cream and there were about four town squares with churches in this little spot. So, we saw them all. Which was the launching of our great cry of this trip so far: not another "Park ´n Church".

It makes sense if you say it fast.

Here´s a picture of a park ´n church to help you get the drift…


Well, so far Cuenca has been good food (for $1.50) and I am finally getting a little bit of drinking in, what with martini night at the Eucalypt café and the bar strip we just located.

Things are going really well. I even found a group of local musicians to help me record the afro-cuban Family Mule album I´ve been thinking about for so long…


 Unfortunately, they all work at the museum and are made of wax.

 John and Fion (but mostly John)


One Response to “Devil´s Nose to Quenca”

  1. peter H. Says:

    Hello John and Fion, I’m really enjoying your accounts (and theories) of your journey. Perhaps if the kids were to somehow derail the train (unhindered access to capital and resources) and then take the lollies from the bloody corpses manglated between the iron carnage (extracting the capital) This would be an apt demonstration of neo-liberal economics. Not that I’d wish this theory upon you.

    Hey most people like Parks.


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