The journey South continues
Next stop Popayan.
I take the bus from Cali and it takes about 3 1/2 hours.
There are big buses and minibuses, not a huge difference in price, and I got accosted pretty much as soon as I arrived at the bus station and was in a minibus before I knew it.
Not knowing the language kind of leaves you at the mercy of whoever is there to bulldoze you along.
I had booked into the Arte Hostel which was walking distance so I hiked my way there.
I met 2 English girls there, which turned out to be an enormous stroke of luck which I was yet to understand.
There was a hill a few hundred metres from the Hostel and we took a beer up to watch sunset.
On the way back we were lured into a local bar by bright coloured lights and good music. We ended up staying there for quite a while as a band came on to entertain us and a bunch of locals gave us shots of the local hooch.
A few days there then on to Ipieles which is the border town.
I left Popayan early in the morning as the bus was 8 hours and I wanted to be tired.
An hour into the journey I realised I had left my UK plug, camera and kindle charger and batter pack charging on the wall.
I knew that Holy, one of the English girls was maybe coming the next day, so I thought I would get her to take it or have it, if we could not meet up.
I got a nice hotel there, got a good rest to face the border crossing which we had heard brutal stories of up to 16 hour queues.
Holly was arriving the next day around lunchtime, so I decided to wait on her and get my things. There are tons of shops and a market so I went out to shop, only to realise that my card no longer worked. Long story short I had to order new pin numbers for my new cards, and they had obviously cancelled my old one.
Holy shit. WTF.
Then I thought about Holly, she would have a UK account, I could charge my laptop when she arrived and transfer the money and she could pull it out, if she was willing.
I messaged her, she was totally cool, said we would work something out.
I remembered that to set up a new recipient they would call you with a code. I had no signal. Ahhh Nicky I thought, she said she would sort it out. Great. TheN Holly arrived and her account is in Spain. Nicky would have to go to a bank to do it.
This was Wednesday and I had 2 more days for the pin numbers to arrive before the weekend would finish that plan and I would have not access to cash until the Monday.
Holly paid my meal, bus, coffees etc and then in Ecuador lent me $50.
A total godsend.
We arrive in Otovalo Ecuador and meet another English girl, who is also happy to help me as putting the money into her account would be easier
Then the pin number arrived and I got cash out, OMG did it feel good.
4 days here in Otovalo and money to pay for it and spend on their famous market.
I seriously do not have enough clothes, I really had not packed for the Mountains, God knows why. No yoga outfit of any description either, so that had to be sorted.
It is an gorgeous little town with an indigenous population in traditional dress.
A lot of the women carry their babies tied on their backs as they did in Uganda, but there are also fancy buggies too.
The people are tiny and fascinating to look at, I would love to take pics of their beautiful faces and clothes but it seems rude.
The market is colourful, wonderful, busy, crazy and I am so tempted to buy for my grandkids and friends kids, but I understand it will all be cheaper in Peru, plus I wont need to cart it around.
Put Otovalo on your route if you are coming this way, there are beautiful hikes too, and it is just fascinating to people watch.