September 4-7, 2007
It took another whole day on two different buses to reach Cuenca. At least I was back on paved roads so the trip was more pleasant.
I decided to try some Couchsurfing in Ecuador and stayed with a guy named Roy. He's a computer programmer and is currently working on a Spanish website written in Flash, which is very cool technology. He's done a lot of traveling all over South America and wants to go to Spain soon.
Roy also lived with his sister, nieces, nephew, and a couple roommates. There were a lot of people in the house, but I was made to feel like one of the family. We had some great conversations and I learned a lot about Ecuador.
Roy and I went out for a beer when I first arrived in Cuenca on a Tuesday night. He couldn't figure out why so many people were out at that time of the week, but then he remembered. Ecuador's greatest sports hero happened to be from Cuenca and had just returned home after having competed in the latest international games. There was a big homecoming celebration for him because he was returning to Cuenca as the world champion of fast walking! That's right, nobody on Earth could walk faster than this guy. Why not just run instead, you ask? Apparently walking requires the athlete to pace himself more. Hmm, I guess I understand, but it still sounds like a lame sport to me. I think Ecuador needs a new sports hero.
Cuenca seemed like a nice city, but I didn't get to see much of it because I spent most of my time preparing for my upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands. I now have my plane ticket and lots of information about the islands, and I'm planning to meet an old friend there. I've already decided that I need to return to Cuenca and the nearby national park after getting back to the Ecuadorian mainland, so Roy will be getting another visit from me in the near future.