Sunday, Feb 14, 2016
Today we all are heading back to Guayaquil to turn our passports into the Ecuadorian Ministry so our newly approved visas can be put into them. Sadly, this process takes 2 weeks after we turn the passports in.
The person helping us cannot meet us until Tuesday, but we thought it would be fun to have a day in Guayaquil to show Easton a few of the sights we saw here during our trip in 2014. Specifically the Malecon, and the Lighthouse which is at the top of 400 or so numbered steps that lead up to it.
Guess what? We are at the bus station in Bahia and who do I see at the door of our bus…omg it’s her…the bus Nazi! We aren’t your average gringos however, we planned for this.
Today, we brought a carry-on bag that has all our clothes in it, and we are more than happy to put that under the bus. Our backpacks are filled only with our computers, I pads, Kindles, and Spanish homework. Just let her try and not let me bring my Spanish homework on the bus. I have new words I can use!
Five hours is a long bus ride to Guayaquil but the bus is comfortable, not freezing cold today, and I am reading a good book. Several hours into our trip the bus begins to slow down and cars are passing us on the road…then it comes to a complete stop.
Pretty quickly after the bus pulled to the side of the road people started getting out of their seats and leaving the bus. We aren’t sure what’s going on, but as far as I’m concerned the damn thing isn’t on fire and the AC is going, so we just sat there and looked out the window.
We are now the last people on the bus…everyone is off. Now I decide it may be a good idea to get off because maybe there is another bus out there for us to get on. No such luck! So we just watch everyone watch the bus personnel, and see what will happen next.
A couple buses going the other way stop when they see us and a big discussion ensues…
I realized something about not being able to speak the language, if it was a real emergency and things were happening fast, we wouldn’t know what the hell was going on, where we should go, or what we should be doing. We would have to decide to trust someone and then stick to them like glue.
While we were standing on the road (by the way, did you notice that very few people were standing in the tall grass along the road…snakes maybe?), I decided to ask a twenty-something dude if he spoke English. He said he spoke a little. As I asked him a few questions, he told me they are sending another bus and to wait.
It was kind of funny because before I spoke with this guy, there were people hastily pulling their luggage along the freeway, hopping in a pick up truck that drove by, and then others getting on another bus that was already filled with people. I’m thinking where are these people going…or rather, how do they know where they are going? The way people were scurrying around in groups jumping into random vehicles reminded me of a Benny Hill sitcom.
An empty bus finally did pull up, and the remaining road refugees all started heading for it. I looked over to the young guy I had spoken with to see if this was the one, and he was already looking at me waiting to get my attention. He gave me the nod and pointed, so Heidi, Easton, and I scurried with the group like good Benny Hill sitcom participants (can you hear the music?) and jumped on that bus.
I thought it was really nice that the guy I spoke too was looking out for us. The fact is, many Ecuadorians seem to look out for us when they can tell we do not have a clue what we are doing! Makes me feel better about the potential emergency thing and not being able to speak the language.
We made it to our hotel, and this time we are acting like spoiled Americans…staying at the Marriott, with constant hot water, full water pressure, down comforters, soft sheets, modern rooms, refrigerator, coffee maker, real coffee, and the piece de resistance…we can flush the toilet paper down the toilet.
Ahhh…a welcomed respite from a long travel day.