We recently got back from Crucita which is a 5.5 hour bus trip from Playas each way. We were tired after all that. We actually went to Portoviejo where our nephew, Mario, used to live for a while. We stayed in a hotel for 2 nights. His father-in-law picked us up at the bus terminal and took us to a place to have coffee and a sandwich. It was about 9:30 PM at that point. I was almost too tired to eat. We split a Cuban sandwich, which was as good as the ones you get in Miami at La Carreta. then we went to a nice hotel for $50.00 a night including breakfast. While eating breakfast, Leo and I took pictures of each other and a woman came up and asked us in English if we wanted her to take a picture of the both of us, which she did. She was from CA, and when we said we were from CT, she said she would be in CT and MA next week taking her daughter to Fairfield University near Bridgeport where Leo worked and her daughter plays volleyball. She was going to Northeastern (Sean’s school) and Holy Cross (Sean’s Dad’s school). Small world.
At 8:30 AM, Colon, Mario’s father-in-law, picked us up to go look at rentals. We looked at one his brother owned-one house from the beach. It turned out to be our second option. We looked at a house in San Jacinto in front of the beach which was currently rented. We started talking to the renter and Colon realized he knew the man, also Ecuadorian. They hadn’t seen each other in 20 years. The man, Jorge, was married to a Ashley, girl from the Tampa area and they were there with 2 of their teen-aged kids on vacation to see the Ecuadorian family. We stayed there for about 2 hours talking to them. The house was nice, but you needed a car there-too far to walk to the buses.
Earlier that day we had made arrangement to meet the caretaker of our first choice house. He was very nice and showed us around. We took video. The next-door neighbors were at home, so we went over to say hello. We found out that they own the whole development and even had owned the house we were looking at. They downsized. There are only the two houses. There are people who own other lots. The neighbors are going to build a few townhouses that border the river and can see the ocean, too. The house we picked is very large. It has 3 bedrooms and 4 baths. One bath is outside on an outside covered patio and very big. There is a shower on the stairs leading to the ocean near the coconut trees to rinse off the sand after the beach.
On the first floor is a kitchen, dining room, living room and two bedrooms,each with a bath. There is a wet bar room off the dining room. All surrounding the house and especially in the front are tile patios and walkways. There are gardens on all sides. In front by the beach is a pavilion with built in benches overlooking the ocean.
On the second floor is the master.There is a front deck off the master viewing the ocean. An extra room off the master and another sitting room with a fireplace off the master, plus a bath.
The front of the house, leading to the beach.
The third floor is a big deck. Hopefully we will be able to see the whales from there. We were able to negotiate a better price and got them to OK our using it as a bed and breakfast, something I have always wanted to do. All this we got for much less than the one bed, one bath, 1970’s apts. we lived in in CT. So we will be moving in on August 15th. The day we had with Colon ended up being very productive and enjoyable because Colon is a very nice person. He showed us some good places to eat lunch and dinner, which we enjoyed. All the places were overlooking the water. One interesting thing I noticed that all the restaurants there put a horseshoe just at the entrance to their place on the step. I guess a horseshoe is good luck around the world.
We got back to our hotel at 9:30 PM and of course we were exhausted. We ate breakfast again the next AM and took a taxi to the bus terminal in Portoviejo to go to Guayaquil. That leg of the trip was express and took 3.5 hours.
Now a little info about the bus. On an earlier blog I mentioned with the crazy driving, I’d be better off in a bus…well that is debatable. We rode at night going to Portoviejo and we sat right behind the driver. There is a curtain and window between us. All I could imagine was getting in an accident and flying thru that window. I tried not to watch, but they pass in the tightest of spaces. I could see oncoming traffic (lights) thru the curtain. Terrifying! We did not know that you get assigned seats, so I told Leo to make sure we were in the middle on the other side of the bus from now on. At the beginning of the ride it was light out, so I could see the countryside. I sat there feeling so fortunate to be there doing this adventure at this point in my life. Who would have predicted this even a few years ago? The area we were in eventually was an agricultural valley. You could see the mountains on three sides. Those were the mountains we were going up and down on that bus, taking corners at who knows what speed in the dark. I did try to rest and close my eyes, but I couldn’t do it for long and I’d be watching the lights coming at me. The bus was a pretty new looking bus.
The leg of the trip from Playas to Guayaquil was different. The bus going to Guayaquil was also good and it stopped at about 4 different towns, getting off the main road we usually take with Josue. At each stop, people would get on the bus, but so would vendors selling this, that and the other. They go up and down the aisles shouting what they had. People bought the stuff. They ride the bus for a while with the people until the bus stops to let them off. Every stop was like that. That is why the 1 hour trip took 2 hours. Welcome to Ecuador. On the way home, we got a Playas bus that was like a chicken bus, it stopped everywhere and the bus was marginal. But we did sit in the middle on the passenger side-not on the driver side. Oh, we got to ride all these buses ½ price because we are oldies. One perk!
The bus terminal in Guayaquil was so big! It was like a huge Mall inside with stores, restaurants, and a food court. We had mentioned that American Fast Food Places are often here. In one food court place I saw a girl giving chicken samples on a toothpick and I said I bet that is Bourbon chicken and sure enough it was. We ate there. Most of the food was the same. The bourbon chicken was just the same. My sister, Mary, introduced me to bourbon chicken and we always got it when we were at a Mall.
I had mentioned previously, that oldies get to use the bathrooms first. Not in Guayaquil in the bus terminal. Those ladies pushed and shoved and cut in front of you. So I watched this for a while and said, “When in Rome…” I got a stall shortly. On the way back, I knew the drill, so I didn’t have to wait at all. Another interesting fact. When we were leaving the bus terminal to go to the gov’t building we asked at the information booth how much to pay for the taxi. They said maximum, $4.00. The taxi drive said, $4.00, so we said OK. Then going back to the bus terminal by taxi, we paid $3.00. Go figure. Welcome to Ecuador. We did pick up our passports at 2:00 and got in line for the next process. They closed the door at 4:30 with us still in there. They put on 2 people to process what we were doing, so it went faster (they wanted to go home, I guess). When we finally got to the window, he said you can’t do this now the cashier is closed now. Leo put up a fit and the worker left the area and came back and continued processing. First he said our support was insufficient, which it was not and again Leo protested, he left the desk and came back and continued to look through our papers. Finally, he said the letter we wrote to ask for residency was wrong it needed our passport numbers on it. Really, I think he was told to find something wrong, because the cashier was closed. Nowhere in all I read did it say to have your passport numbers on that letter. So back we must go. Welcome to Ecuador. We have decided to get our papers done in Manta over near where we are moving. We heard it goes more smoothly. We’ll see.