After the unexpectedly long stay in the small border town of Macará, we hope that the car will survive the mountains. The road is often very steep and I drive slowly. I’m just waiting for the engine to get hot again. But nothing happens. We slowly crawl two thousand meters up the mountain and what the navigation system shows as an hour. It takes us two.
The landscape is very beautiful. We have a nice view of the mountains all around and some giants are looming on the horizon.
Day 1 Without a Breakdown
At lunchtime we find a really good restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
The owner is extremely friendly, the toilets are clean, like everywhere else in Ecuador, two small children invite Leon to play and the food is both excellent and cheap. The man introduces himself as Jimmy and proudly shows us an oven in the ground where he cooks goat. We tested one of them.
The trees have no leaves, although it is very warm. The forest here is a Bosque Seco Natural dry forest. This forest only greens during the rainy season, which runs from December to May. This drought is dangerous. We see many forest fires on the way that nobody does anything about.
From Wikipedia I get the following information. As we can see for ourselves, the situation in this biosphere is very bad and strengthens my feeling that in many things we still have the last chance to see them before they are gone forever.
The Ecuadorian dry forests (NT0214) is an ecoregion near the Pacific coast of the Ecuador. The habitat has been occupied by people for centuries and has been severely damaged by deforestation, overgrazing and hillside erosion due to unsustainable agriculture. Only 1% of the original forest remains. The patches of forest, mostly secondary growth, are fragmented. They are home to many endemic species at risk of extinction.Wikipedia: Ecuadorian dry forests
We make more meters of altitude and drive down a small road to find a nice spot away from the traffic. A bulge off the piste, passing only tiny farms on bluffs, offers both space and fantastic views.
Sara makes pancakes, I open a bottle of wine and Leon is fascinated by the goats that stop by every now and then. Meanwhile, the clouds are gathering, making the mountain views even more dramatic.
The next morning the clouds are still hanging low and it is cool. I take Leon for a walk down the slopes while Sara prepares apple pancakes. There are a few farmers in small houses along the way and Leon is extremely fascinated by the goats staring down at us from above, curiously chewing. One or the other motorcyclist comes by and waves us back in a friendly way. A few women also come by with small Chiwawas. Leon is also fascinated by them and the women by Leon.
A young woman comes towards us and gives us a pot of Colada Morada. We are very surprised by the gesture. In our conversation, the woman introduces herself as Liliana and invites us to her courtyard. Her three children are in school and her husband works for a neighbor.
Liliana is an impressively positive person and is in a good mood. She shows Leon the puppies, chickens and their chicks, and pigs and their piglets. There are also fighting cocks in the chicken coops. Cockfighting is her husband’s hobby, Liliana explains. In fact, I’ve seen “Colosseo de los Gallos” in northern Peru and also here in Ecuador and, judging by the name, had the suspicion that these are arenas for this bloody spectacle.
We want to buy Liliana products from the farm. She is overwhelmed because the farm is geared towards self-sufficiency. But she can spare a few eggs, and when we want to pay a few dollars extra, she gives us pressed sugar cane to snack on.
After the dry forest we come back to greener areas and it seems as if we had been teleported to the Black Forest.