A Travellerspoint blog

Holiday weekend begins

Santa Elena and Montañita

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24th May is a public holiday in Ecuador (commemorating the Battle of Pichincha) and this year that falls on a Saturday... so that means no Saturday classes tomorrow, and to take advantage of that, a group of us teachers decided to go to the coast for the weekend. Our destination was Olón, a little village not far north of Montañita.

The coast is a very popular holiday destination for Guayaquileños, so by the time everyone had finished work today and we had all got to the bus terminal, it was the evening and all the direct buses were booked out. No worries, we said, we'll just get a bus to Santa Elena and then get another one from there up the coast to Olón. We are a very chilled bunch. So that is what we did.

We had no problems on our journey to Santa Elena... but once we arrived, one finally appeared. The coastal buses had stopped for the night! Never mind; in Ecuador there is always a way out of any transport issue, and this situation was no different. There was a minibus on the other side of the road which was taking passengers up the coast for a couple of dollars each, so we all crammed onto that.

Before we left we waited around for a while for the thing to fill up. Our travelling companions were all locals; one incredibly drunk young man who was passed out in his seat by the window when we got in, a middle-aged, more talkative but also very drunk guy and two other younger guys who were only tipsy.

The way the interior was set out, there were four rows of three seats, split into two sets of two rows facing each other. There was also a seat to one side and one up front next to the driver. From our group, I drew the short straw by getting in last - the others filled up one set of two rows and the individual seat, so I was left sitting in the other set of rows, with the passed-out guy on my right, the other drunk man on my left and the other locals in the three seats opposite.

This combination meant that until the guy on my left got out at a village about halfway to Montañita, I spent all my time keeping the corner of my right eye on the passed-out chap on my right in case he was sick on me, and shaking hands with the man on my left, who kept offering his hand to me and mumbling in Spanish with a word or two of English thrown in! Although my Spanish has improved, it is still not great, and because he was mumbling I understood even less than I would have done in perfect conditions. He said something about how he was a guitarist by trade and could teach me how to play (I politely refused). He shook hands with me about every three minutes for half an hour, until he got off the bus.

After he left 'S' moved into the seat next to me, something I was grateful for. The other passengers got dropped off not that long afterwards, so by the time we got off the bus at Montañita our group were the only ones left. We decided to spend tonight here instead of Olón because we'd have a better chance of finding somewhere to stay.

It was very late by now and we were starving, so the first thing we did after leaving the little bus terminal was head to a pizza restaurant for some food. Then on to a back street hostel for a night's sleep.


Posted by 3Traveller 10:49 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast spanish hostel ecuador montanita guayaquil

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