Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Nariz del Diablo

Okay, I recently mentioned something about riding on top of a train, and that made a couple of folks a little nervous (Mom and Auntie Em, to be specific). Well, obviously I survived. The Nariz de l Diablo train is now a tourist attraction, where you can pay $11 (and rent a cushion for another dollar) to ride on top of a train for anywhere from five to seven (or more) hours. (Our trip was seven hours, due to a certain situation I will explain more about in a bit). No worries, though--the train does not zoom through the Ecuadorian countryside--it chugs along at a nice pace. The Devil's Nose itself, with two switch backs, is not as terrifying as certain guidebooks make it sound, Still, the trip was well worth the money, and I'm glad I did it.

We started in the station in Riobamba at, what was it, 8am, I think. I met up with several friends I had made during my trek around the Quilotoa Loop: there was a Dutch couple, a New Zealander (the Kiwi)--though he found a group of Kiwis to drink with on the train (which should not have happened, as the sale of alcohol was prohibited, it being an election day), a fellow American (born in Maryland, I might add!), an Italian couple living in Switzerland, a Dutch girl traveling solo, and an American dude I met while on the train itself (who may or may not know one of my relatives in Oklahoma). We chatted and shared food (fried bananas! Yum!) and took pictures of the scenery and , well, had fun. No danger. (Well, I take that back. There was one time when I did get a little bit nervous, and that was only because one of the conductors riding atop the train looked a bit nervous. We were passing next to a mountain--just plain dirt, no ground cover or anything--and some dirt and rocks started to fall towards the train. But nothing major).We passed several families--children tending sheep and mothers doing laundry in the rivers.

The advantage of being on top of a train is that you can take pictures of people without them knowing it.

The train only derailed once. Just be glad that you can't really see the condition of the bridge it is on in this picture.

Ah, Ecuador. It really is a beautiful country. Here you can see the train tracks where we will be going. Down, down, down...


At 10:42 PM, Blogger STAG said...

Looks like they can sell both sides of the same acre there.

So the deal is...its a freight train...that you ride on top of. I thought it would be like one of those Indian "Terrains" (as Kipling called them) that were passenger trains that were so full that people rode on top of them. These don't look too bad by comparison. Did you at least have somthing to hang on to?

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Yeah, there were rails on the top. And we were packed pretty tightly in. When I get to India, I´ll let you know how this train compares to the trains there. But this was definitely a tourist attraction...



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