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10 years ago

Personally driving in Ecuador

10 years ago
This thread is soliciting experienced drivers' experience in Ecuador and their tips or knowing drivers and their experiences and tips. I have done a search engine search and results have been sparse. Not so about why NOT to drive which is not what this thread is for. Because of the rarity of the subject, I will reboot this thread some times to catch a fresh set of eyes. I have 6 to 8 weeks to do so. I would much appreciate something.
For those who live in country, I would appreciate you soliciting tips from drivers you know and conveying them here.
Also if you have found through search engines on this board or elsewhere any info that has been published that be relevant, it would be welcome with link or as appropriate.

Additional subjects for fair game, is where to get excellent maps....large scale in size for detailed navigating through towns.
Also, GPS service. Satellites are overhead. I know that. Has the demand been sufficient enough to develop the software on earth for mapping ?
I would also welcome the occasional good tip about the renting process, even though some good posts exist I have read already on this board in recent years. It is the most complex of the overall subject of renting, and any rebroadcast is welcome.
Again, anything found published at this board or others or on the net would be welcome.

Ecuador:
Two years ago in March, I rented an SUV in Loja one morning, and in one day drove north to and around Cuenca and very north to further than Quito. TIP 1: Have a Spanish friend negotiate the deal. I continued to hard ball to get a decent deal, but he carried out the orders successfully when I never could have. TIP 2: I had no decent road map; only a crude one for the country without detail. Try never to do that. TIP 3; Surprise...there are no road signs out of small towns and cities to the highway. Speak the language or have someone who can better than me. TIP 4: Be prepared to get directions out of town three times; once when arriving, once when half way out you figure, and once when nearly out you think. Everyone wants to help if they do not know specifics. Prepare to average your way out. Tip 4: Carry everything out of the car when over-nighting and leave your own blinking flashing light inside appearing to be associated with theft deterrence. Or...sleep in the SUV,but have air matresses.


Optional reading .... for amusement ? :
A little insight on past experience driving in Spain. Spain is tangentially relevant but is what gives rise to the questions I posed above. My wife and I put ourselves in the worst of all situations. We drove in a car we rented 4 years ago in spring eastward along the northern coast of Spain in excellent weather through coastal cities. We were told language would not be so difficult as many talked some English. That turned out not the case for who we met the few times we stopped for directions. Few times, because it was almost useless. I studied Spanish 40 years earlier in college when I didn't want to, and it came back to bite me. Out of desperation I remembered right and left. I learned later for right I was saying in Spanish straight, and it was just as bad when I heard directions that turned out "not to be right" because of my misunderstanding. We had a destination address, but only a thumbnail map of the city in a small paged travel guide not meant to navigate with and under poor light. Usually at dusk and commuter hour is when we got off the highway and into the city. We managed to not have any accidents while fighting to change lanes in round-about intersections. Again, near darkness with poor to no street lamp light, medium heavy traffic, and only a few street signs not probably readable even if there were full light and no traffic. I have an excellent sense of direction; many do. Doesn't matter when (1) the streets are not laid out checker board and one finds them self driving in navigational loops with little to no sun for reference and (2) coming to the unexpected, one way streets preventing the necessary directional turn you want. Finally, the Spanish names on the few street corners with signs are on building corners that were oxidized bronze, and hardly readable and didn't give an opportunity to make an educated guess what that name was even when we caught a few letters. We counted 6 challenges that did not include end of day fatigue and hunger. We always found our destination, including more than once with a local close enough to his curb side car, jumped in and led us. We understood why they did when they took us through what was the most difficult streets we had encountered, in spite of us having gotten close before being led the last few blocks. Surprise ! After 4 or 5 experiences like that, we didn't get divorced.

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