Tuesday, October 25th ~ Guayaquil, Ecuador
Our Gate 1 tour officially begins today. For this portion there are just the four of us, Tim and I, Rica and her husband Fred. Our local guide, Fernando, picks us up at the hotel at 10:00 and we are off to see the city.
First stop is Parque Centerario which Tim and I had walked through a couple of days ago on our way to the Malecon. In the center is the Monument of the Independence Heroes. We also got a small introduction to the local trees and birds.
Continuing to Seminario Park, aka Parque Bolivar, aka Parque de las Iguanas due to the numerous arboreal Iguanas roaming freely throughout the park. The Iguanas vary in size, but we did see a few robust males. I am curious how they will compare in size to the marine Iguanas we will see in the Galapagos.
This is also where the Catholic Cathedral is located which we took a few minutes to examine. Although this is Neo-Gothic style, it is relatively modern and not as gilded as many cathedrals are. It’s beauty was in its simplicity which I enjoyed.
A drive along the waterfront took us past the shipyards which are still in use today. At one time this was a thriving port for ship building.
Ecuador is a major exporter of petroleum, cut flowers, shrimp, bananas, coffee, and chocolate. The wages are low here with the average wages of $478 USD/month in 2011 according to tradingeconomics.com. I found a more recent survey (Numbeo.com from October 2016) that shows $502.89 USD/month here in Guayaquil.
With a walk along the Guayas River at the Malecon, we spotted a Moorish clock tower and took the time to climb the steps to the top and enjoy the view.
The clock mechanism was built by the same person/company who built the workings of Big Ben in London.
Behind the “Guayaquil” sign we had photographed on Monday is the La Rotonda Monument, which portrays Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martin shaking hands.
Departing from the banks of the river, our driver took us to the base of Santa Ana Hill, the area where the city Santiago de Guayaquil was founded in the 16th century. Our walk included a visit to a shop where we checked out hand-woven hats as well as an artists salon.
And at the end of the Old Town area, is a bright modern walkway.
The highlight of this area would be the light house on top of the hill. There are no roads for this section of town, so the only way to get there is to climb the 444 steps, one at a time. Our tour did not include the hike, but all four of us decided we were up to the challenge, so after Fernando and our driver departed, we backtracked and slowly forged ahead.
The neighborhood was charming, saturated in flowers including brilliant Bougainvillea, security personnel were readily visible, and the steps well maintained. Our weather, although overcast, was hot and humid so frequent rests in the shade were welcome.
The views from the top of the hill were expansive. Out one direction was the river and waterfront, and out the other direction a hillside of terraced homes very similar to what we had seen in Guatemala City.
Making our way back down was a snap in comparison and by now we were starved. A small restaurant, Mami-T, situated right on the bank of the water had been recommended and we chose the typical plate to share which gave us a nice sampling of a few local favorites.
Another specialty meal from Ecuador is ceviche.
Tomorrow we fly to the Galapagos Islands and will board our boat for the next 5 days. We probably will have little or very limited Internet until we return to Quito. I am hoping to be able to post a little from there, but it just may have to wait.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know Rica and Fred. We found out that they had celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary the evening before and have a son just a little younger than ours. I anticipate that we will have a wonderful time together the next five days on board the ship.