It is the
unpredictability of travel that makes it both a joy and, at times, a horror. One of the more common, unexpected
surprises that can put a real damper on your travels is the inability to travel itself—such as when the local
train network has been shut down by strikes. Less common is when protestors create a series of illegal roadblocks
that crash local infrastructure and result in the government declaring a state of emergency. This is
what is happening to my friend Tom right now as he tries to make his way through Ecuador with his wife.
I’ll let Tom explain the situation in a short email I received from him this
We flew back to Quito because of the ever increasing
road blocks. In fact, our bus trip down to Coca (normally one bus) ended up being 2 buses, 2 pick-up trucks, and 2 long
walks because of a road block. I’m assuming the news is not headline in the USA but the country here has
essentially shut down most travel in the areas we wish to see because the indigenous communities are protesting the
free trade agreement soon to be signed. In fact, they are threatening to overthrow the President if he signs.
These road blocks consist of rocks, burning tree limbs, abandoned tractor trailers, etc. The country has really shut
down all travel by road.
Just met 3 young guys from England who walked 25 km then got a military escort to return
from one town to Quito. Rocks were thrown at them, tear gas too…. So our plans have been ever changing. Instead
of going to the largest market in South America this past weekend (Otovalo), we made plans on Thursday to go to a
cloud forest reserve….
…This shouldn’t damper our plans to go to the Galapagos on Sunday AM though
– knock on wood.
Ah yes, travelers perseverance; motor onwards despite internal conflict and strife. Go Tom!