Monday 24 August 2009

Is is a bus? Is it a train?

The Chiva Express is a bus that runs on the railway lines from Quito south, and we rode it for about two hours. It was better than a movie: people all along the line going about their everyday lives, that look so exotic even though they're only doing shopping and looking after their kids. We had two motorbike outriders who were thoroughly enjoying themselves roaring alongside to stop the traffic at intersections, which didn't stop the driver from using his horn to full effect as well. One of the outriders was wearing a Royal Mail badge, which was a bit incongruous. Despite their best efforts, a box truck lurching alongside managed to swipe off the driver's door handle, causing some consternation.

The countryside was pretty and very like parts of NZ, apart from the tethered cows and pigs, the waving children playing on their own by the line, the people working in the fields with mattocks and other old world tools. We were agog. Then suddenly there were cowboys cantering alongside in hats and furry chaps - from Hacienda Alegria, where we had lunch and a tour. The cowshed left us unmoved, but the lassoing of bulls and the herd of llamas and alpacas we saw afterwards were great to see.

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