Sunday October 23rd ~ Guayaquil, Ecuador
Everything worked the way it was supposed to yesterday, flights mostly on time and smooth with little turbulence, no problems with short connection time in Panama City, quick-moving lines in the Customs hall upon arrival in Guayaquil, a Gate 1 representative met us as we departed the terminal with our luggage, and the hotel check-in was smooth. WiFi here at the hotel is strong, there are numerous free hot spots around town.
Our accommodations for the first four nights in Ecuador are at the Hotel Oro Verde. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, beds firm, plenty of hot water, refrigerator with complimentary bottled water and sodas. The breakfast this morning was more than adequate if not spectacular. This hotel is rated number 1 for Guayaquil according to Trip Advisor.
A couple of minor glitches at the hotel. The room safe is to be locked and unlocked with a credit card. Initially it did not unlock, however a maintenance person used a key and some magical reset and it works fine now. The sink in our bathroom stopper is closed so the water will not drain. We have pushed, pulled, looked for hidden lever, and sweet talked, but to no avail. Feeling foolish that we can not figure out how to raise the stopper, so another person is on the way to the room to help.
We are situated right on the main Boulevard 9th de October which is within a reasonable if not short walk to the waterfront. Upon arrival our representative advised us that the city is safe as long as one stays on the major streets, but thought it best if we did not wander off in unfamiliar territory and to avoid alleys or off the beaten track streets. Crime is not overly prevalent, but it is a big city so similar precautions one would take in the USA in large metropolitan areas should be followed.
Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador with around 2.7 million people. It is the nations main port, located on the Guayas River. We are scheduled to have a more complete tour of the city with Gate 1 two days from now, so we simply got out and walked around today to get some fresh air and a local meal.
The origin of the name “Guayaquil” derives from the love story myth of Tribal Chief “Guayas” and his wife “Quil”. There is a rich history here that includes native villages, Spanish settlements, plundering pirates, both English and French looters, great shipyards, and annexation to Simon Bolivar’s Colombia.
In 1830, the Southern part of Colombia decided to leave the union and create an independent state called “Republic of Ecuador”.
Here are a few random observations from our several hour walk-about this afternoon:
We saw probably at least 50 mostly young males selling cold bottled water for 80 cents. It seems that each has their own territory or block, but I could be mistaken on that. Our thoughts are that the bottles may be recycled, filled with tap water, and caps glued back on, but that has not been confirmed.
Motorcycle riders all seem to be wearing helmets. Cross walk signs are ignored.
There is a very visible police force with two spotted on most street corners along the main boulevard.
The local fresh fruit is delicious. Mango trees are prevalent and loaded with fruit.
We have heard what sounds like many parrots in the trees, but not spotted them.
My very limited Spanish plus the translation app on our cell phone is coming in handy as few of the locals here (outside of our hotel and recommended restaurant) speak English, or are at least reluctant to do so.
The main square reminded us a lot of our favorite square in Antigua, Guatemala but the grand statue in the center was much taller here.
The waterfront (Malecón 2000) is the main gathering point of the areas we walked today. There are not many foreign tourists here, as least that are obvious. We stick out, me with my blond hair and Tim due to his height.
Juan Pueblo is “a popular character and icon of Guayaquil, created in 1918 by cartoonist Virgilio Jaime Salinas. …The character represents the modest man, the worker who struggles to succeed.” ~ Wikipedia
It was Sunday, and most businesses were closed. We saw a lot of families out walking together, with quite a few children.
The US fast food chains have made their mark including KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Papa John’s Pizza.
We saw very few cell phones. They seem to be almost a rarity here. The ones we did see were often the outdated flip version.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for safe travels, a relaxing day that allowed us to get acclimated and refreshed in our new city.
I know you said you had gotten kind of used to being a homebody, a statement which scared the Beelzebub out of me! So glad to see the start of another trip. Plus this trip you will be visiting places I have always wanted to go, so I am excited!
HaHa, don’t panic just yet dear friend. We have not retired our passports, but may be a bit more selective on the number of trips we book next year. We are not quite ready to be chained to a rocking chair, but yes, home life is also feeling more and more comfortable. Finding our new balance will somehow work its way out. It always does…
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Eat and blog about delicious food, please!
So far nothing spectacular, but I will be happy to make note of, photograph and share anything that is unusual or stands out. It is still early in the trip, so I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll be able to find a few nuggets along the way.
Oooh Oooh, Street Food! – I would vote for pictures of some “Cuy” and “Chonta kuro” 🙂
Cuy (Guinea Pig) we are familiar with from our time in Peru. We made a choice to not eat anything that has been a pet in our home, so have to pass on that one. I had to look up Chonta kuro as that name is new to me. I’m still not sure if those are silk worms or some other grub. We ate both in Thailand, but can’t say I was a big fan. Lunch today was a fabulous mixed seafood ceviche. Loved it!
I’m glad you are finding the welcoming parts of this basically commercial city. In the early ’90’s I spent 5 years going throughout the Caribbean and all Latin America for Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Pan American Health Organization setting up laboratories in the hard fight against hemispheric cholera. Went all throughout Ecuador, including Quayaquil for several weeks where we made a laboratory video on cholera for world distribution. Of course, I didn’t get to see the more welcoming parts of the country, but from Quito, across the Andes into Amazonia and down to Quayaquil was a good experience with the Quechua and the Latino populations. Most of my time was with sick or dying patients in army tents or, if they were lucky, in hospitals. But, those were several weeks well worth spending. Marco
Marco, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I can only imagine the number of lives your efforts changed and saved. Perhaps our pictures and stories along our journey will fill in a little the areas here in this beautiful country that you missed.
So happy to read this post with all the useful information and look forward to more since I will be heading to Guayaquil and the Galápagos in a month’s time!
Then by all means, we hope you will enjoy following along with us. Hoping this will provide you some insights and make you even more excited for your upcoming trip. Welcome!
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Well, thank you.
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Goodness, you are off again! I look forward to reading new posts from a part of the world I have never visited.
Yep, just getting started on our trip to Ecuador. Hope you will find our write-ups of interest.
So far, so good, eh! Pleased to hear that your journey is progressing smoothly. New places are always interesting.Take care and enjoy along the way.
Thank you Joy.
Beautiful place and lovely pics.
Thanks for taking us along. I am thankful to be able to go vicariously with you.
So glad to have you along for the ride!
I am curious about which translator app you use? Have a great time,
Google translate is darn good.
Alright got my reading glasses set and ready to follow your next adventure, have fun.
Terry, out Internet connection is very poor or non existent in the islands, so my posts are delayed, but coming soon. We are having an incredible time and can’t wait to share our pictures and stories.
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