love travels nonstop

The Surprises Begin in Guayaquil inc. Naughty Police Officers Making Us Pay For Lunch

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On our drive from the not so charming border town of Huanquillas to Guayaquil, we were treated with some beautiful views. One of the zones that we drove through, Naranjal, is home to lots of fruit plantations, an Ecological Mangrove Reserve and landscapes of beautiful beautiful green which carries on for most of the country. It also features some rather wide motorways to support farmers and distributors deliver as soon as they can. I didn’t realise that Guayaquil was such a large city (for Ecuador’s standards) and it was Rulo who suggested we stay there. Although it’s not an action packed definite tourist destination, it’s a nice place to stop off if you’re in the area, although I can imagine it feels more exotic in the sunshine
Guayaquil is the largest city in the country and our arrival was very atmospheric- we drove in at night time over a spectacularly huge bridge with the city before us. Once again, because of our spontaneous exit from Mancora, I hadn’t been able to find a hostel or hotel with parking, so we had to drive around looking for somewhere. We drove around the centre and asked a few locals who weren’t able to help us out so we stumbled across Hotel Wilson which had a  gated car park opposite. Here’s a tip: unless you desperately need a hotel with a car park, don’t stay at Wilson’s place. It is very budget friendly at $25 for a double room with a bathroom but it is quite dingy and smelt a bit weird, the hot water didn’t work and the receptionist was a bit of a nightmare- she screamed at me down the phone when I asked if the hot water was working and then hung up on me, delightful!
As far as I could tell, the centre of Guayaquil was safe. Among bars and restaurants, the main attraction is Malecon 2000, a multi million dollar project brainchild of the government at the time to reinvent the original narrow pathway which served as a focal point of social life in the nineteenth century. The result was a huge walkway which runs alongside the Guayas River with restaurants, a cinema and bars as well as gardens, memorials and benches. It’s great for a little stroll at any time of the day or if you’re feeling up to it, walking the entire one and a half miles. The Malecon 2000 also provided my first glimpse of recycling bins with little boards explaining it’s importance and ease , and I was so happy to see it. When I lived in Chile, a lot of locals dismissed my despair that nothing is recycled in Arica, they told me that it’s only possible in Europe and way to expensive (!!) yet here was a perfect example of locals and tourists being educated and a movement being started.
Pastel colours as promised

Pastel colours as promised

The popular Malecon 2000 and those fabulous recycling bins

The popular Malecon 2000 and those fabulous recycling bins

We spent the next morning into early afternoon walking around and stretching our legs. The architecture in the city is beautiful and there are some real interesting details to look out for, beautiful parks for a sit down, the pretty pastel colours of some of the buildings, and ‘Lo Nuestro’, a celebration of Ecuatorian art and history which is a permanent exhibition.
Lo Nuestro, a glimpse of Ecuadorian art and history

Lo Nuestro, a glimpse of Ecuadorian art and history

 There are a lot of places to eat at lunch time. We stopped off at a dining room full of locals and ordered the same dish as the people sitting next to us were eating; a peanut based soup with deep fried fish and egg and half an avocado as a side (yes, it was a distinct tasting dish!) and the same with a coconut base and a bowl of rice. That came to $5/£3.21 for the both of us. We then headed to supermarket to stock up on road food and snacks and then set off for the next stop which was supposed to be Montañita…but that changed when we got there.
My exotic soup

My exotic soup

A not so pleasant surprise
On the drive out, we were stopped by police because of our tinted windows. This had already happened a few times in Peru- if a vehicle has tinted windows the owner needs to have a special permit. In Peru it was always the same story, once the police realised we were foreigners and driving through the country they bid us on our way. I was expecting it to be the same in Guayaquil, but I soon realised it was not. The police man stopped us, and suddenly two or three of his colleagues arrived on motorcycles. Next, when he realised we were foreigners instead of letting us drive on he seemed to become even more interested and wanted to see inside the van. And then he asked for Rulo’s licence and after a few minutes of umming and aahing said that he would have to hold on to it over the weekend and we would be able to pick it up on Monday on payment of the $250 fine. At this point, I though “aaah here we go” and so there arrived that moment when you think the police man and his friends want a bribe but you can’t ask them outright. I was enraged! I also thought about secretly trying to film him, but he kept peering over to see what I was doing, perhaps I was too obvious. The outcome was after much deliberation and shoulder shrugging, he told us that he wanted to take his boss out for a ceviche in town but couldn’t foot the bill for which he needed help…I hope he left the waiter or waitress a tip.
It could have been worse, so off we were heading to the coast of Ecuador to see what awaited us.

Author: Kaycita

Currently out exploring and passing on tips via my

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