The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

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In South America The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

Now where are we going.. and where is that bicycle?


From:       Kirstie and Stuart
Subject:   The Spice Muchachas
Date:        21st September 1999
Place:      Quito, Ecuador


The Spice Muchachas

Dear all,

This is the new release from the Spice Muchachas. It goes to the tune of “MAMA” and has become very popular with two cyclists struggling in the high mountains, cycling in Ecuador.

Sing along while cycling in Ecuador

Una, dos, tres…

Estan muy cansados
Los bicicletas son muy pesados
El camino es muy malo
Vamos a Otovalo. La, la, la, etc

It roughly translates as…

We are very tired.
The bicycles are very heavy (hard work)
The road is very bad
Lets go to Otovalo. La, la, la, etc

We think it might catch on worldwide. It is sung with enormous feeling.

Hot Pools Ecuador The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

A moments respite at some hot pools in Northern Ecuador

The road to Otavalo

We met a tour guide in Quito who suggested an easy route for our first fortnight. She suggested a three day ride to Otavalo in the North of Ecuador. It took us five full days, three of those climbing 2.6 kilometres of vertical ascent on rocky tracks (more than twice the height of Snowdon). Who said this was a holiday!! For five days we thought Otovalo was a mythical place, meaning just the other side of these mountains.

Camping in South America The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

We are determined to keep our spirits up in spite of any adverse circumstances.

Did we tell you about your wedding presents?

And all of this with one of us on a hire bike. Oh, didn’t we tell you? …that one of our bikes never arrived. Yes one of the bikes that you all bought a little bit of as a wedding present.

If I were you I would call the airline KLM or fax them….. and ask them to explain this incompetence. We have but it didn’t get us anywhere. So we are biding time. They have paid for us to have a hire bike for two weeks until they can get their act together to do a worldwide search for it.

Yes, your present could be in Delhi, Bangkok, Sydney, Saudi Arabia, Madrid, Washington, New Zealand, Jakarta, Buenos Aires (six months early) or any other city on the KLM international route network. We suspect it is probably still at the check in desk at Heathrow where we left it two weeks ago. If anyone is passing through terminal 4 please look out for it. It is in a giant bike sized KLM box marked bike box. Easy to misplace!!! Apparently.

Saved by a biking Dutchman

Anyway, we have had some adventures already. When hiring a bike we found a guy called the biking Dutchman who gave us two dazers to zap local dogs. Brilliant. They come at you and you point and shoot. They leg it away howling. Better than space invaders. We take turns at being Darth Vader and Luke. Needless to say we haven’t befriended any Ecuadorian dog owners.

The biking Dutchman sympathised with our bike-less predicament, declaring his national airline a national disgrace. He said the only two things you need in life are a bike and a woman… and a woman was much easier to hire in Quito than a bike. So he lent us one of his own….. bikes that is… leaving one of us disappointed.

The tent is creating much local interest. They call it casa rapido (quick house). We always have an audience to watch us putting it up, and quite often a different audience (bussed in from surrounding villages) to watch us take it down again in the morning. The most alarming time is when they decide to join in and help. Tent poles everywhere.

School in Ecuador The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

School in Ecuador

We are going further North now.. to Ibarra and then back to KLM in Quito via Cayambe. We have arranged a picket at the Quito offices… until our bike turns up again.

Poor Mrs Murtinho

When we told the KLM rep in Quito that our bike was lost she said, “I dont know what to suggest.”

When we told her it was handmade and took six weeks to build and three weeks to test, she said ” I dont want to know.”

By the time we told her it was our honeymoon, that the bike was a wedding present from all our guests, and that it was our primary means of getting to Tierra Del Fuego (more than six thousand miles of cycling), she got up out of her chair, put her fingers in her ears and started to hum the Ecuadorian National Anthem.

We ring her every day and demand a full progress report. So far we haven’t had one. Should you wish to try her name is Mrs Murtinho at KLM Quito!!

Road to Otavalo The Spice Muchachas: Cycling in Ecuador

A further moment of despair on the road to Otovalo

Until next time..

Anyway, thats it for now… will message again with more news. Should you wish to be removed from this wailing list (sorry – mailing list) please drop us an E Mail and we will be as forthcoming as KLM in the future.

Please pass this on to anyone who might be interested…. friends, relatives, the press.

Adios para ahora
Hasta luego
Una, dos, tres…

Estan muy cansardos…la la la etc

Stuart and Kirstie
Las Spice Muchachas.

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Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project and is our chief photographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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