Tulcán, Ecuador - Polarsteps
Nov. 11, 2022, Entering Ecuador
I left Ipiales and headed for the border of Ecuador. I walked because it was only about three kilometers. On the way, there were people, mostly taxi drivers, parked alongside the road wherever a bit of water flowed down from the hillside, and they used to wash their cars. I thought that was interesting, I've seen that before. But, apparently, it's something normal for them.
I reached Rumichaka, the border crossing, and I must say it was with a little bit of trepidation—my entry stamp was long ago expired. At the immigration center, I told the guy that I wanted to self-deport. He said we should talk about it and was very friendly with me. We talked there at the immigration counter for a couple of minutes then he said we should meet again at 2 pm (it was a couple of minutes before 12) when he would be back from his lunch break. Yeah, lunch breaks here are 2 hours, that's the norm for Colombia (I don't yet know about the other South American countries). So, during his break he and I talked a lot about many things, he's a really nice guy and very helpful. He said the process for me to get a legal exit stamp would take 3 days, but with the weekend, that meant staying until next Wednesday. I suggested passing a little extra money under the table to get the stamp today, and he agreed. He talked to another guy and the two of them got me a legal exit stamp with no deporting problems. I just had to pay the fine for the expired entry stamp plus a little extra for the two of them. And now, all is well.
In Ecuador, in the town of Tulcan, I had only a couple of hours before the bus for Ibarra would leave, so I explored the famous Tulan cemetery. The cemetery is incredible! It is a topiary of sculptured shrubs like I've ever seen. It was created in 1936 with Mediterranean Cypress trees. It has been actively maintained ever since. They say it is the largest topiary in the New World.
Tucan has a population of about 55,000 (2010) and was founded in June 1535. And it's a bit on the chilly side with an average daily high temp of only 16.5 degrees C (65.6 degrees F). -- Not a place I want to live in.
My South America Journey