We left Cali behind early one morning, and headed for the border town of Ipiales by bus; not much choice, there being a paucity of train routes on this continent. Buses on this route are prone to bandits, and we decided to stay in Machala for an evening, rather than run that risk and arrive in the inhabited toilet known as Ipiales at 2am. We made the right choice, rolling into the dump next morning. Borders are never the prettiest places, that's for sure. Maybe residents on the borders of Switzerland would argue the toss on that one?
It was relatively painless though, and we were across in no time...running the gauntlet of crooks and money-changers: quicker just to say crooks, really...they all used fixed calculators, apparently. I always make it a point to use all my currency before crossing, and offer the cheeky bastards my coins.
Someone said to me that as son as you cross the border into Ecuador, the place looks completely different. My arse. The only difference I could see was that the women changed from 5'+ stunners, into extras from The Wizard Of Oz who appeared to have been hit in the face with a shovel. The only person I've seen with a flatter face was Feargal Sharkey. We'd been told that Ecuador and Peru were famous for Gringo Hunters; locals of either sex who chase after whiteys for sex. Sounded great, but as we headed for Quito and I gaped open-mouthed at some of the stumpy women crammed in the back of 4x4s and sporting bowler hats, one thought became firm in my mind: I reckoned I could out-run any one of these lot.