We took a 28 hour bus ride from Lima to Guayaquil, Ecuador. The buses in South America that we have taken have been really nice and more like planes in their levels of service and comfort. On this bus we had booked the front two seats upstairs for extra leg room and the awesome view – we also met up with some other Kiwis which was nice as we have only met a few other New Zealanders on our travels.
Once we reached Ecuador, we were met by Reuben’s friend Julieta, who is an amazing person – full of energy and life. She works as a missionary mobilising people into missions, as well as 101 other things! She and her friend Marialola had organised a great few days for us, starting with exploring Guayaquil with one of their friends. We had heard about Guayaquil from our friends who used to live there, so we were excited to see this city for ourselves. Our first stop was the Iguana park, where dozens of iguanas live and roam freely. They are a little intimidating at first!
Next, we went to the cathedral, then wandered down to the Malecon (River walkway). This is a beautiful river walkway that took us down to the historic area of Guayaquil, where we climbed Cerro Santa Ana. This is a hill where all of the houses have been restored and painted bright colours, and we climbed 444 steps up to the lighthouse where we had great views of the city.
We then had fun with Julieta for the rest of the day, going with her to visit her mother, to the office, to see a friend and then to a film showing that one of her friends had been involved in making. The short film was in Spanish but we were able to understand some of what was happening.
On Saturday, we headed for the coast with Julieta and Marialola, and tried traditional Ecuadorian breakfast food along the way of a kind of cake made of mashed plantains (like a banana) and cheese – it was really good! We headed to the surfing town of Montanita and enjoyed a walk along the beautiful beach. We also tried the local specialty of ceviche – raw seafood mixed with lemon juice, coriander and corn – it was delicious!
We then headed for lunch with Julieta’s friends at their home, then went for a swim at the beach at Salinas, a resort town. The water was really nice – we loved having a swim and relaxing.
After this we went to afternoon tea with another friend, then to a concert by a Christian singer called Marco Barrientos. We weren’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be more like an outdoor rock concert and was really awesome to experience. After that we had dinner and went for a walk by the Malcon at Salinas.