Road Closures, Police Escorts and Mudslides

Several days prior on our way to Otavalo we encountered a temporary road closure. Not because of an accident, but due to “potential accidents” from the rain. With the slick roads a police escort had been arranged for sections on the Pan American highway. The highway was well maintained and appeared safe but yet we had a police car zig-zagging in front of us to slow traffic. This isn’t so unusual here and with limited infrastructure probably an important way to keep the major routes open.

So today as we left for the Devil’s Cauldron by way of Puyo Banos or E30 highway, it was not surprising that once again we encountered another road closure, but this one was due to mudslides. We waited patiently as bull dozers cleared the road of mud and debris from the surrounding mountains.

Then after about 30 minutes we were allowed to slowly proceed in an organized procession like fashion…. until….. What was this? A local commuter bus was squeezing merrily inches on our left. At first our driver Ermis appeared to hold his ground not allowing the bus to pass. I mean think!? Where did they expect to go? Then what made this even more amazing were the passengers hanging out the front door of the bus as if look outs and begging for mercy. Crazy! But hey! It’s Ecuador!

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