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.