Monday, April 13, 2009

From Mountains to River to the Coast

We left Riobamba after an interesting foray into the markets--the local food market was definitely an experience! So many people and so many weird fruit and random parts of animals all over the place. We left the pretty mountains and volcanoes of Riobamba and headed over to the largest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil! It was a medium long bus ride, still nothing like Perú, but around six hours or so. Entering Guayaquil, we were greeted with pretty views of the Guayas River and sweltering heat!
After bickering a bit with our cab driver, we found a decent hostal for a good price, in a rather sketchy neighborhood. However, it was nice to have a television and lots of air conditioning!! After arriving and resting, we headed down to the recently restored riverfront, the city´s pride and joy, called the Malécon 2000. It was really nice, but kind of odd to see such a clean, nice area in the middle of a rather dirty city! The river was massive, and interesting to see as it moved both ways, thanks to the tide. Guayaquil is a port town, although it´s big enough that we only saw the river. Saturday was a pretty chill day, still recovering from our bus trip, but we got a good little taste of Guayaquil I believe! It´s a different city from other South America ones that I´ve seen, at least the part we were in. It was very modern, with a lot of sketchy parts right around this area, and yet randomly there would be an old cathedral thrown in among the skyscrapers. The Malécon was also lovely, filled with parks and restuarants and interesting birds and even an IMAX--obviously very touristy! However, all of the tourists seemed to be Ecuadorian or South American--I don´t think we saw more than five other gringoes the entire time we were there.
The next day was Palm Sunday, and started out pretty slow. We were both feeling a little ill, and being in a giant sweltering city was not helping that. However, we made it to a few cathedrals, explored the Malécon 2000 some more, and, my favorite part, Parque Simon Bolivar. Also known as, Parque de las Iguanas! It was filled with tons of random iguanas, as well as a few turtles and typically hundreds of pigeons. It was so cool to see the iguanas all over the place--high in trees, swimming, and hanging out on the statue of good old Simon!
That evening, after taking a respite in our cool hotel room, we actually went to a movie--my first time in the theater for a long time! It was fun to go and gorge ourselves on popcorn while watching the not-so-great latest Underworld movie.
On the exit of the movie, we were engulfed in a giant crowd. Apparently a church service had just let out, so we went to a nearby cathedral to take in the vendors, millions of people and their fake palms and real flowers, and a priest throwing out Holy Water! It was fun to see, and hear the music under the stars! The vendors were selling interesting stuff too--at one point a lady waved what looked like dead mice in our faces! Hopefully they were fake...
The next day we left the sweaty city of Guayaquil, spent our longest time in the bus station there, and headed to the surf town of Montañita! More on that later...I´m a little behind, but I don´t want to cram all the events of the past weeks into ONE LONG blog update :) So stay tuned for more amazing adventures of our time in Ecuador! Miss and love xx

No comments: