December 26, 2011
I loaded up my bicycle and got ready to leave. Francisco had left for the coast yesterday and we already said goodbye to each other. While I was loading my bicycle outside I got to say goodbye to Andres and then headed to the Pan American highway.
The road out was a very challenging first five miles. After about three miles I could really feel it, I had started in the heat of the day when I prefer to leave early in the morning. I was gaining in elevation making it very difficult to breathe and it was very hot! I had to stop as the temperature had just reached 106 degrees. I felt dizzy and weak from pushing myself over three miles uphill in this heat and unable to get enough oxygen in me. As I stood there I realized if I tried to do any more at that moment I would fall over. It was a similair feeling I got when I passed out once after being a hot tub that was a little too hot and I was in it a little too long. I had fallen over and passed out for a few minutes and it felt like that was about to happen again.
After drinking some water and resting I pushed on knowing it will get cooler as I keep gaining in elevation. Soon, with the combination of clouds covering the sun and the elevation gain the temperature decreased to a nice cool 88 degrees. After five miles the road had leveled out and the cycling became much easier. I already decided I would not make a long day of it. I just wanted to get a few miles down the road. After 13 miles I stopped in Otavalo and found a decent hotel for $12.00.
In the evening I decided to try to find a restaurant, I found a small store and decided to try my luck at getting something from there. Some of the small stores here have an open front with bars across the front. You have to stand on the outside and looking inside the small little store tell the person what you want. I stood looking around and I saw packages of peanuts on the back wall. It seemed like an impossible task to direct her to the peanuts when I did not know the name of them here. It would be so much easier to just grab what I needed and paid for it. But this was an interesting exercise for me. I have also noticed that a common practice for people is to repeat the same word slowly over and over, even though I did not understand it the first time. When saying it slower doesn't work they say it louder. So then I start hearing these loud and very slow sentences coming at me that I still don't understand. Of course I have seen this many times in the US, I think it must be human nature. Anyway, by the time I got through it, I had two bananas, two cans of tuna, a bread roll, a medium sized container of yogurt, three small packages of peanuts, and a gatorade, all for $4.00. By the way, tuna is callaed atun here.
15.23 miles today
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