Chugchilán, Ecuador
0° 48' S 78° 54' W
Oct 14, 2006 04:14
Distance 8km

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The Central Highlands, Chugchilan

For $12US we went for a 5 hour horse ride with our guide Pedro. All our horses were all special in their own way. Elise's horse - Linda- was absolutely starving. It did everything it could to stop and eat...and even if I couldn't stop it would rip off branches and leaves on its way. Elise could do little to stop her and throughout the day weveryone had their turn at yelling ¨Linda!!!!¨from either the delay, being whipped in the face, arm or leg by a richoshaying branch or trying to assist Elise in her persuasion. Elaine's horse - Sarah- had a severe faltulance problem and farted the WHOLE way, she also had a foal that came along with us and therefore she was completely forgiven as this was wonderful. And I had the oldest horse in Chugchilan - Bolcha was 25 and took things extremely easy...this was disappointing for me as I was so keen to have a go at galloping. But there was no two ways about it...she knew where to go and what she did and did not want to do I just went with it.
This interesting group of girls (both us and the horses) had a pretty hilarious time. We started wearing our full waterproof gear (including our waterproof plants...which was a laugh in itself). I wripped mine getting on the horse ...a rouge nail. We traevlled to a cheese factory where Elise wripped her waterproof jacket (and that was not so funny - Macpac). But we bought some wonderful cheese here and got to witness the local mozerella manufacture.
The countryside of chugchillan is beautiful. Our trailride took us through green farmland, where children yelled ¨hola' from a far mountain side. They ran to follow our trail until they could see us no longer.  It was such a pleasant relief from Suchasilli and Zumbahua. We also traveled through a cloud forest...very quietly we walked through (although there was the occasional ¨Linda¨!). There were many beautiful flowers and moss encrusted trees. The rain never bothered us as it was only light and it really added something special to the cloud forest. Cloud forest is slowly being protected in Ecuador as farmland has fragmented it so much there a few large segments left. After the 4th hour I was pretty ready to get knee was killing me and I could not find comfortable position anywhere on my rock hard saddle. For the last hour I stood up as much as I could. We were happy again to arrive to our friendly hostel where we met out friends again and all exchanged stories of our different adventures form the day. Lee and Scott had had the most interesting trip. Scott who had never ridden a horse before, got stuck under it when it fell (which I thought was incredibly rare in the first place for the horse to fall let alone to get stuck under it). He was so scared that he could hardly get back on and we an absolute mess by the time he got back...he sware he wouldn't be getting on a horse any time soon.  While waiting for a shower, I went into town to look at the local tapestries and came across a volley ball competition. It was very serious and almost all the people from the town were out to watch the match in the rain. Volleyball is a huge sport in Ecuador and no matter how small the town they always have a court to play.
At dinner, we were enetertained by the local children. Who did a dance around a pole with a selection of coloured ribbons. It was bnice for 5 maybe 10 minutes but then it just went on and on. Then it got worse because they got rid of the ribbons and one by one dragged us in for a dance. Again this was fun for 5 mins but 15mins of the same song and the same dance (which consists of a group of people dancing in a circle holding hands and skipping right) was so tiring. Elise names it the forever dance (which was a useful thing for the rest of our journey as it is a common custom in South America and we have done everything we can to not get stuck in it. Again it was 4000 degrees in the room and we were all dripping with sweat and tired from our days adventures. We all retired with a communal agreement to get the early bus to Latacunga the next day. The three of us were very scared of going the same way we had come the day before but after a lot of discussion it did seem the best option. Elise was really struggling with the idea and went to bed early and very quite.

Photos / videos of "The Central Highlands, Chugchilan":

School children performing a traditional dance for us. Dancing around a pole with coloured ribbon The maiden voyage for the waterproof pants (I wripped mine getting on the horse and Elise wripped her jacket getting off). The mountainous countryside of Chugchilan An sad looking church near the cloud forest Elise and our guide ? Behind is the 8 month old foal that came with us Elise's horse "Linda" eating The foal Elise coined the communal dance to follow - The forever dance. Stopping at the cheese factory for some very nice cheese Linda eating again Entering the cloud forest Red flower A wonderful shot of how it felt to be in the cloud forest Moist plant growth Red flowers