Thursday, Dec 22, 2016
We are headed to the coast shortly. Our bus leaves Cuenca at 9:20 am so before we head out we need to take those Christmas cookies to our landlord downstairs. Turns out it was a great trade…she gave us a bottle of alcohol laced egg nog. Yum!
We thought we were going to need to take two taxi’s because with the four of us, our luggage, and an extra suitcase we usually don’t have filled with requested items from Cuenca, we didn’t know if everything would fit. It is our lucky day because the first taxi to show up is a hatch back and all the luggage, plus us, fit great.
When we arrived at the bus terminal I had enough time to reload my cell phone with data, and hit the restroom to take care of that morning coffee. Have I ever talked about the men’s restroom scenario in Ecuador?
First off, it is more common than not to have to pay to use it. Ten cents to pee and 25 cents for…the other. The increased cost is because the lady guarding the entrance gives you a few squares of TP. And that is the thing, it is usually a woman who is managing the restroom.
When she isn’t taking money at the door, she is inside the restroom cleaning it. This means she is mopping the floor and cleaning around my feet, as I am standing there “facing the wall”. It is just how things are here. There is no room to care about these things in Ecuador or you would never get to pee.
We have a nice bus for our trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil, where we will then change buses to get us to the coast. This bus is playing a movie, and although the picture is great, there is virtually no sound. This is unfortunate because going down the Cajas my eyes will be closed as we travel almost on two wheels around the curves. If the sound was working I could at least hear the movie.
I took a half a Dramamine while we waited to board the bus, and it turns out I slept most of the way down the mountain side. I did wake up once and looked out the window. Complete fog, couldn’t see a thing, but that didn’t slow down the driver. I decided it was best to go back to sleep.
When we arrived in Guayaquil I needed to buy bus tickets for us to Portoviejo. Chase stood in line with me. There was one guy ahead of us, and he got his ticket, then we were up. The man behind the glass was on his cell phone and not looking at me. When he finally did look at me, I assumed he was on hold or something and told him the number of tickets I needed and the time I wanted. He started talking on the phone and looked down again. Oh well, I guess I wasted my breath.
As I waited for him to finish his call, a man came up to my left who I thought worked for this bus company. He asked me what time I was wanting and I looked at him and told him. He started speaking other stuff to me which I didn’t understand.
When I looked back at the guy behind the glass, he was looking at a man who was behind me but had his arm on the counter and pushing a $20 through the hole in the glass. WTF?! This is also how it is done here; there is no queuing.
I was confused and thought maybe he was paying more money for the guy who had been in front of me and just left. Nope. This guy was buying his tickets and it didn’t matter that I was standing in front of him…waiting to be helped by the man behind the glass. I almost feel like it was a set up by the guy on my left to distract me from the window.
Ok fine. The guy behind me gets his tickets. I moved just a fraction to the side so the passing of money and tickets could be done easier without me “being in the way”. Then the next guy behind me tries to push his way in front of me and is trying to slide his money through the hole in the glass. I literal had to push his hand away and tell him to back the fuck off. I wish the dude understood my English.
I did get our tickets and learned an important lesson. All eyes stay focused on the person behind the glass, you never move to make room for anybody, and you literally have to push people back who are trying to cut in front of you. At least this is what you do if you want to be on the next bus departing. 😉
Normally we go from Guayaquil to Bahia on the bus. Today we are only going as far as Portoviejo and then taking a taxi to drive us the 40 miles to the place we are staying, The Cottages by the Sea. We would have overshot and still had to take a taxi back if we went to Bahia.
We lucked out again and found a driver able to fit us and all our luggage. He charged us $30 for the one way ride. I’m happy to pay it to get where we want to be. For comparison, bus fare from Cuenca to Bahia, for the four of us traveling the 9 hour drive time, is $64 dollars. Bus fare is one of the best deals in Ecuador.
When we arrived at the Cottages, Don and Donna, and Roy and Melody were here waiting for us. It was great hanging around the table with them again. Roy and Melody made a great chili dinner with jalapeno cheese bread for us all to enjoy. Don and Donna’s dog Monte, our fostered dog for a few months in Cuenca, is here too. He didn’t forget who we were and gave us a worthy welcome back to the coast.
It’s late. It’s warm. A gentle breeze is blowing, and it’s great to hear the ocean again!