Ecuador 3: Salinas

As the first to arrive at 6pm, after an optional thirteen hour rest period, Simon and Ang left the pit stop at 9am.   Breakfast was had at an overpriced cafe run by an annoying and abrupt German lady who was afraid they would steal her wifi without buying something (which they didn’t), before they raced to the bus terminal and boarded a bus to Ambato.  There they changed to another bus to Guaranda and raced up into the Andes.

Roadside store selling paper mache cartoon characters

Climbing to a heady height of 4000 meters, the team drove past the even higher Chimborazo, the highest mountain on earth when distance is measured from the centre of earth, before they descended to the outskirts of Guaranda.  Their final change was into the back of a collectively owned shared pickup truck taxi which drove them back up to 3500 meters and the town of Salinas.

Mighty Chimborazo

Walking to their accommodation in the late afternoon was a difficult journey. Simon said that “you could really feel the altitude.  My head was spinning and I was short of breath by the time we had walked 200m”.  Ang was seemingly unaffected.

Misty Salinas

With accommodation found, the team received the list of sites they would be required to check out.  These included the local textile shop, salami factory, tannery, mushroom farm, cheese cooperative, dairy cooperative, soya product factory and importantly the chocolate factory.

Owing to the late afternoon arrival time in Salinas, the team was only able to locate the textile shop where a new beanie was purchased by Ang.  Returning to the nearby pizza place, they completed the first food challenge of this leg of the race with Ang eating a delicious mushroom pizza.  Simon of course could only look on, but was lucky enough to drink a thick tasty hot chocolate.  Also in the restaurant was a solo Team Germany racer.  He completed his pizza challenge and chatted with Team Australia about earlier legs of each other’s respective exclusive races.

A local donkey

The next day was spent walking around town locating the various challenge locations after a long walk into the countryside.  First on the list was the chocolate factory, where supplies for upcoming legs were purchased.  Next were the salami factory then the tannery and mushroom farm.  Last was the cheese cooperative where a sample platter of cheeses, olives and salamis were purchased.  A quick stop at the dairy cooperative and soya factory finished the challenge and the team was directed to their accommodation, the pit stop for this leg of the race.

A panorama of Salinas’main square
Who needs a pack horse when you have a pack Llama?
A panorama of Salinas town
Brothers from different mothers Storehouse of cheese!
Bird on a wire Dogs on a roof
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