A Travellerspoint blog

Ecuador

Goodbye to Ecuador

Guayaquil


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I had pictured myself having a nice relaxed time at the airport before my final flight out of Ecuador, but it didn't work out like that at all! I had no time at all to browse through duty-free or have a drink at a café in the boarding area, which is what I had wanted to do. Instead I had a very stressful time of it, as I will expand on below!

Just before I left the flat I realised I still had a tin of fruit cocktail left, so I took it with me to the airport. As soon as I'd checked in my big case I had the fruit salad and checked the Republica del Cacao t-shirts (they didn't have any fitted ones so I didn't buy one) before going through to passport control. As soon as I saw the massive queue I regretted the time I'd spent eating fruit salad because I only had an hour left before take-off. I felt increasingly agitated as I waited because I heard my name being called, telling me to identify myself to someone at Gate 10... the queue was going so slowly and every five minutes my name was being called, along with those of three others. The first official looking person I ambushed told me I still had to wait my turn at passport control despite what the intercom voice had said, so I carried on waiting, feeling even more agitated as the minutes ticked by. I was so afraid I'd miss my flight! Finally another couple ambushed an official close by me, saying their names were being called, so I jumped in too. This official let us jump the queue and go straight to a passport control person.

After getting my passport stamped I had to queue for the baggage x-ray; there were two officials checking passports in the queue and when they got to mine they asked how many days - I assumed they meant how many days I'd been in Ecuador, though I wasn't sure if they meant overall or just since the last time I´d left and come back. The woman seemed impatient and when I said "a year and two months" she just repeated "how many days?", and when I said, flustered, "um, about 420, 430?", she made me go into a little separate room to have my hand luggage checked. The guy took his time doing it. Every couple of minutes my name was still being called, until eventually it stopped. Then one of the onlooking officials said something about my rucksack being checked - I thought he meant I'd have to go back and check it in as hold luggage, so I said "but I haven't got time to do that! My name is being called!" - to which he didn't make any reaction. They let me go as soon as I'd said it though and I just carried straight on to the x-ray and put my stuff through OK.

As soon as my stuff came out from the x-ray I didn't have time to do up my bootlaces so I ran through duty-free and along to Gate 10 with them still untied. I arrived at the gate out of breath and extremely flustered looking, only to be told by the official there that I had to go downstairs because my bags had been identified as a security risk! I said in English "but my flight...!" and luckily for my state of mind the woman said not to worry, that the flight would not be leaving without me.

So in a relieved and more relaxed state of mind, I went downstairs to what turned out to be where suspect hold luggage is put aside and searched before being put on the plane. My big case was hauled out and then searched in front of me. There was a couple next to me having their bags searched too - the woman started shouting about it, which I mentally shook my head about because after all it wasn't the baggage searcher's fault. Not that I would start shouting even if it was her fault, of course. The guy who searched my bag was very nice and did a rather cursory search before saying that everything was fine.

When I checked the time as I sat down on the plane it was 18.16, a minute after we were supposed to have departed. We set off within 30 minutes. The sun was setting as we left Guayaquil. I felt excited about the fact I'd be back in the UK again soon and to be spending time in Madrid before that, but I did also feel sad to be leaving my wonderful Ecuador, a country that had been so kind to me. I will definitely return!

Posted by 3Traveller 04:25 Archived in Ecuador Tagged airport ecuador guayaquil Comments (0)

Goodbye to Guayaquil

Guayaquil


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Monday 28th

Today I went back to my now-former-workplace to do a few final things and say goodbye to everyone. These things included: paying a visit to Western Union to transfer most of the money from my Ecuadorian bank account to the UK, making use of the printer to print off my flight e-tickets and my Madrid hostel reservation email, collecting a parcel from Emma from the post office using a slip that had arrived at work while I was away, going up onto the flat roof of the building to take photos of the view on each side, going out for lunch (seco de pollo) at the booths round the corner for the last time, and having an exit interview with the Director of Studies.

IMG_3151.JPG

It was relatively late in the afternoon by the time I got back, so I didn't do much else apart from go out for dinner. I had a churrasco (at this place, a thin steak with ratatouille-type vegetables and two fried eggs on top, with chips and rice) and then a cup of morocho for pudding.

Tuesday 29th

In the morning I got a bus into Guayaquil city centre for a last look-around. I visited the Central Market for the first time - as soon as I entered I really wished I'd discovered it much sooner. It was filled with fruit, vegetable and herb stalls, stalls of sausages hanging up, stalls selling sacks of flour, beans, pulses etc., and stalls selling tins and packets of food as well as more general non-edible household goods. It was very much like the Daily Market in Otavalo and the general market in Banos, only without the café-stands selling guinea pig, other typical Ecuadorian dishes and slices taken from whole roasted pigs.

IMG_3158.JPGIMG_3156.JPGIMG_3155.JPGIMG_3157.JPG

Then I walked past the hotel where I stayed with Mum in February, so on an impulse I went into its café and had a cup of their wonderful hot chocolate. Then I said goodbye to the iguanas in Iguana Square and carried on straight ahead to the Malecón.

IMG_3166.JPGIMG_3162.JPGIMG_3161.JPGIMG_3164.JPGIMG_3160.JPGIMG_3167.JPGIMG_3168.JPGIMG_3173.JPGIMG_3170.JPG

I climbed up one of the viewing towers next to the River Guayas, which is what I'd done on my first visit to the city centre on my second full day in Ecuador. It was perfectly sunny, without a cloud in the sky.

IMG_3171.JPG

My next stop was the Artisan Market, another place I had never been inside before for some reason. On the way there I walked past La Barca Azul, the lunch restaurant where I ate several times and took most of my visitors to, but I didn't feel hungry enough for lunch yet so I didn't go in. At the market I had a quick look round and then took a bus back to Urdesa.

IMG_3174.JPGIMG_3175.JPG

As soon as I'd dumped my stuff I went straight out again, this time to the Banco Pichincha cash machine to take out the rest of the money I had left in my account. I'd left enough in there to change into Euros once I got to Madrid, so I wouldn't need to use my HSBC card there at all, and hopefully have some left over as well. Before I took the bus back to my street corner, first of all I bought a sandwich and a carton of coffee milk from Oki Doki (a convenience store... I remember finding the name very amusing when I first got here) and then I did a little bit of shopping at Mi Comisariato supermarket. Amongst other things, I bought a bottle of Ecuadorian créme de cacao to take back to the UK.

Two minutes before I had to get off the bus, 'Vivir mi Vida' by Marc Antony came onto the radio. I've heard this played so often on the buses (and elsewhere) ever since I arrived in Ecuador that I've come to consider it my Ecuadorian anthem; it felt very appropriate and right that it was playing on my last bus journey here. It played on my arrival and now it was accompanying me on my way out.

Then I packed everything and at 4pm I somehow managed to get my big and incredibly heavy case down four flights of stairs and out onto the pavement, along with my rucksack, laptop case and a couple of bags of rubbish to put out.

IMG_3176.JPG

Then I flagged down a taxi to the airport. The fare was $4, so since all the change I had left came to just above that, I just gave the driver all of it.

Posted by 3Traveller 03:53 Archived in Ecuador Tagged hotel market airport cathedral buses iguanas ecuador guayaquil english_teaching malecon_2000 guayaquil_metropolitan_cathedra ecuadorian_cuisine river_guayas Comments (0)

Goodbye to the Ecuadorian coast

Puerto Lopez and Guayaquil


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

The morning was taken up with having breakfast, having one or two drinks and a game of cards on the beach, checking out of our various hostels and having lunch (I had shrimp ceviche). Then we went back to Guayaquil via Santa Elena. We didn't get back until after 7pm.

IMG_3122.JPGIMG_3119.JPGIMG_3131.JPGIMG_3117.JPGIMG_3129.JPGIMG_3127.JPGIMG_3133.JPGIMG_3135.JPG

One full day left in Guayaquil now, before I leave Ecuador.

Posted by 3Traveller 03:36 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast beach hostel ceviche ecuador puerto_lópez ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

Whale-watching and Isla de la Plata

Isla de la Plata and Puerto Lopez


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Day trip to Isla de la Plata, but before we arrived there we did some humpback whale watching! It's a bit of a cliché, but they are so majestic. We loved the way they rise right out of the water before plunging down again. We saw lots of spray coming from their blowholes, too, and once when I and two others had moved to the front of the boat, two or three of them appeared right in front of us very close to the boat. It was exhilarating seeing creatures so large so near.

IMG_3013.JPGIMG_3002.JPGIMG_3007.JPGIMG_2973.JPGIMG_3008.JPG

Once we arrived at Isla de la Plata we split up into two groups; one went on a long walk and the other one did a slightly shorter one. It was extremely hot and sunny and I'd forgotten my hat, so I went for the slightly shorter one.

IMG_3022.JPGIMG_3031.JPGIMG_3020.JPGIMG_3023.JPGIMG_3027.JPGIMG_3038.JPGIMG_3083.JPGIMG_3058.JPG

I was really happy already, because of the amazing humpback whales, but then my day got even better because I saw lots of Magnificent Frigatebirds (or Great Frigatebirds - not sure which of the two they were, but both types have red pouches beneath their beaks that inflate like balloons) perched in bushes. I'd always wanted to see them and they were the one type of bird I didn't manage to see on the Galápagos Islands which I had really wanted to. We were able to get so close to them, I managed to get some good photos.

IMG_3048.JPGIMG_3068.JPGIMG_3066.JPG

We also saw lots of blue-footed boobies and some pelicans. The boobies were just standing on the ground beneath bushes. They were extremely tame; not tame because they have got used to humans, but tame in that they haven't learned to fear us.

IMG_3073.JPGIMG_3075.JPG

With one pair that we saw, the male demonstrated part their courtship display - he lifted his feet up and down and then picked up a stick to present to the female as a nest material. Isla de la Plata isn't nicknamed a 'Poor Man's Galápagos Island' for nothing! The other group also saw some red-footed boobies.

Once we got back to the landing point, we got back on the boat for some lunch - a cheese roll, a tuna roll and some pineapple and watermelon slices - before going round the coast of the island for a bit to do some snorkelling. While having lunch we saw three green sea turtles around the boat.

IMG_3093.JPG

Unfortunately there weren't any in the snorkelling place, but we still got to see lots of fish. We got into the water straight off the end of the boat, not from a beach.

After changing clothes back in Puerto Lopez, we went back to the same restaurant where we'd had lunch the day before. This time, as I had promised myself, I had the fish with peanut sauce, which was just as delicious as I'd hoped. I'd raved about the lobster so much to everyone the day before that this evening one or two of the others tried some of their own. They also thought it was amazing.

We moved on to a beach bar on the sand after dinner and had a few drinks. I had a couple more of the Coco Loco cocktails.

IMG_3106.JPGIMG_3103.JPG

Eventually, pretty late, we headed to bed. On the way, I noticed something I remembered seeing in Montañita at the staff Christmas party; hundreds of little birds perched all along the telephone wires along and across the street.

IMG_3113.JPGIMG_3111.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 02:44 Archived in Ecuador Tagged birds night turtles pelicans coast beach ecuador puerto_lópez explorations blue_footed_boobies frigatebirds ecuadorian_cuisine tropical_fish whale-watching isla_de_la_plata extreme_weather Comments (0)

Puerto Lopez: Sun, sea, sand and amazing seafood

Guayaquil, Santa Elena and Puerto Lopez


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

The day after I arrived back in Guayaquil from Quito I was off again, this time on a weekend trip to the coast with several of my colleague friends. The plan for the weekend was to go whale-watching, as Puerto Lopez is well known for this, visit Isla de la Plata to see some of the same wildlife and terrain you can see in the Galápagos Islands and go snorkelling, eat seafood and generally relax on the beach.

I can take the credit for the idea of coming here, because I had planned for a while to go whale-watching here on my last weekend in Ecuador (as July and August are the best times of the year to go whale-watching) and made the suggestion to the others that they might like to come as well. They were all really up for it. As luck would have it, today was a public holiday in Guayaquil (the Founding of Guayaquil), so no classes, and they managed to get a day of holiday for the school the next day as well, so they had the whole weekend free to join me on the coastal trip. I'd already finished working, of course, so I didn't have to worry about getting days off work.

We met up at Guayaquil bus terminal at 8.30am, where we had some breakfast at the food court. We couldn't get one of the direct buses to Puerto Lopez because they were all full, so we had to get two buses. The first one went to Santa Elena. The road there was the same one we took to get to Punta Blanca for the Queen's birthday party last year at the house of the British Consul; that had been my first trip outside of Guayaquil, so now it felt like a full circle, also going along this road on my last trip outside of Guayaquil. The Santa Elena Peninsula is very dry (I think it may have its own microclimate), almost desert-like with uninhabited open expanses of dry earth, covered with parched-looking bushes, on both sides. In the sunshine it was quite picturesque in its own way.

From Santa Elena we got on another bus to take us up the coast to Puerto Lopez. This road runs right next to the sea in many places. It runs through little fishing villages with small blue painted boats pulled up onto the sand. As we approached Puerto Lopez we went through some forest. We were now in the province of Manabí.

On arrival we split up briefly to check into different hostels. Some of us had booked places and others hadn't, but everyone found somewhere quickly. Puerto Lopez is a small town so we were all close to each other. Three of us were in the same place, two others were next door and the others were only round the corner.

IMG_2914.JPGIMG_2918.JPG

As soon as everyone had settled in, we all went out for lunch together at one of the many seafood restaurants lining the road running parallel to the beach. Like them all, the place was cheap, but the food was genuinely fantastic - I had one of the best meals of my entire life there; a whole lobster cooked in a coconut sauce containing chopped vegetables. It came with a side of rice and patacones (slices of fried savoury plantain). They'd cut the lobster in two so that the meat was easy to dig out of each half. It was unbelievably tasty, and for only $20... The lobster was the most expensive thing (I had decided to splash out a bit); the other dishes were nearly all below $10. 'A' had a fish dish with peanut sauce which she said was absolutely delicious. I made a mental note to have that the next day.

IMG_2924.JPGIMG_2926.JPGIMG_2923.JPG

We'd started lunch quite late, so by the time we finished and then moved on to the beach, the sun had gone in a bit. I read on the sand for a bit and then it was nearly sunset, so I didn't get in the sea. I settled for a paddle instead.

IMG_2934.JPGIMG_2931.JPG

We moved straight from lying on the sand to sitting on it at a beach bar, one of many lining one section of the beach. We had a few drinks; I had a Pina Colada and a cocktail I hadn't tried before called Coco Loco. Condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, grenadine and crushed ice, with coconut shavings on top.

IMG_2944.JPGIMG_2947.JPGIMG_2951.JPG

For dinner we went back to the same restaurant, but I was still so full from lunch I didn't have any food; I only had a Caipirinha cocktail.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:04 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast beach hostel buses cocktails ecuador puerto_lópez explorations ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 94) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. » Next