Ecuador Wanderings

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June 15th – July 1st

They say, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground,” and this phenomenon was painfully apparent during the period following our Parvati escapades. Ben had departed on his multi-day journey into the heart of Nepal, so the three musketeers were stranded once again with chocolate brackets, mango strudels, and street cappuccinos tempting them at every turn in the Israeli-dominated, laid-back streets of Old Manali. We had planned for some short down-time, but tantalizing comforts and conveniences got the best of us. I had a few caffeine-charged marathons of blog-jotting and picture-sorting, but I easily transitioned back into grilled-cheese cook-offs and movie binging when I ran out of fuel. We became such regulars at our favorite German bakery location that the man behind the counter, RJ, hooked it up fat on our last visit (but I guess a few free coffees and chocolate balls is nothing compared to the loot we dropped during eight days of lethargic lounging). It didn’t help that the World Cup had just P1080413started, and because of the time difference in Brazil, the first game of the day didn’t kick-off until 9:30pm. We would have to wait around the hazy hashish dens until 3:30am for the last game to even start. Because most of the customers were too blazed or sleepy to stay up this long, the restaurants usually wrapped it up before the final scores were in. The only night we had an opportunity to catch the American team play, we plowed through some nonsense matches, were denied pizza that we waited two hours for, and eventually, were shut-out of every establishment in town because they either forgot to pay their cable bill, the electricity couldn’t hold a steady flow, or the businesses couldn’t keep enough people conscious or interested in the game. The night came to a disappointing end in our last viable hang-out spot surrounded by half a dozen other disgruntled Americans (more than we had run across in months). A rainstorm had ruined any chance of watching the match, and we were all forced to trudge through the soaking streets in search of refuge at our hotels. These kinds of late-nights obviously completely impeded any chance at a normal sleep schedule, and it was a miracle we even escaped the time-squandering black-hole. Continue Reading »