Tuesday 8th September 2015 Guayaquil
We got to Guayaquil airport and walked to Guayaquil bus terminal which is about 10-15 minutes walk from the airport. There Patrick bought a ticket to go to Banos the next day around noon as it is a 9-hour journey he was not too keen on jumping on a bus immediately and get there at 11pm. Then I checked out one company, Esperanza something but the itinerary was not the best, and went to Cruz del Sur again and booked with them the Guayaquil-Chimbote leaving the next day at 2pm and arriving 21 hours later at 11am in Chimbote. From there I would find a bus to Huaraz. Here is a map of Cruz del Sur bus itineraries to give you an idea.
Then we jumped into a taxi and got to the Suites Madrid hostal we had booked in the morning. On the way to Guayaquil centre, there is this funny huge monkey I had only seen at night 2 weeks before.
Close-up on the monkey. It is 14 meters high and was built with 110,000 pieces of pottery by an artist called Juan Sanchez for the Guayaquil festivities of October 2011. It represents the machin-monkey which is an endangered specie of the coast. More info here: http://www.ecuadortimes.net/2011/09/06/guayaquil-to-release-a-new-sculpture-for-october-festivities/
We got to the Suites Madrid Hostal and got the biggest spacy twin room we had so far, pretty cool! The hostal itself was huge and with a funny decoration with tiles everywhere.
View of Guayaquil from its rooftop.
Guayaquil streets at night were really pretty in the blue sky soft sunset light. I seriously do like this city!!! I don`t understand why so many travellers don`t give it a chance or think that it is ugly and unsafe. When you get to a place, you always have to remember that many people LIVE in that place every day. That starts to change your perspective of things when you stop considering it as a place where travellers just stop over, I find.
The church place at night
The Guayaquil sign
The Malecon again at night
The tower again at night
Whoo, our favourite restaurant. Ok for restaurant options, that I totally agree that Guayaquil needs to develop more options. I never went 3 times to the same Mc Donald`s in my life. I just never go to Mc Donald`s in general, but here it is the one cheap quick available option on the seafront, not much else around so yeah I have to admit we just ate there.
We went to our favourite (unique?) seafront bar where we ordered a jugger of sangria again. But tasting it, it felt like juice. I complained to the guy and sent it back. When we looked at the menu, there is a juice jugger option and we suspect that`s what they had given us, probably by mistake. Patrick chose the safe beer option and I tried a daiquiri cocktail, which wasn`t a good idea as it didn`t taste like a daiquiri either, but nevermind. It was funny to be here again, as we had been just before to leave for the Galapagos. We could not believe our trip there was already over. Even if we had lived it intensively and enjoyed every single moment of it, it is just the feeling that no matter what you do, time flies and flies and flies. Always too fast!
Wednesday 9th September 2015
we woke up around 8am local Guayaquil time which was 7am San Cristobal time for us. We spent the morning making sure everything was..charged!! Kindle, tablet, smartphone, computer, camera batteries.. And the WiFi was back in the hostal, so we enjoyed that a bit, emails, whats app chats.I emailed a few travellers I met and asked them where they had stayed in Huaraz. I usually like going where other travellers send me rather than looking into a travel guide. Emails sent, stuff charging, we went for brekky around the corner and I had another bolon with cheese and cafe con leche while Patrick had some toasts and strawberry milkshake.
After that, we went on errands. First, the post office from which I posted the 4 micro SD cards of 16 GB I had bought the night before, full of all the photos of Macchu Picchu and Galapagos. If all my stuff get stolen now, at least the photos are backed up and safe, if they arrive!!
After that, further errands. I had run out of sunscreen and toothpaste, so got that. Lost my pen a few weeks ago, so got two this time. Got some AAA batteries as a backup for my headtorch as I had no spare ones anymore. Some snacks and a gallon of water that I used to fill my camelbak, ready for the 21 hour bus ride.
We went back to the hostel, quick shower, changed clothed for long pant, we jumped into a taxi around noon and were off to the bus terminal. First we went to the counter of Patrick, he paid the 25 cents departure tax. Then to my counter Cruz del Sur and registered the luggage, and paid 25 cents departure tax. Then I went with Patrick to his bus gate. His bus was at 12.40pm for 7 hours to Banos while mine was at 2pm.
It was time to say good-bye to one of the best dive buddy I have had so far and one of the greatest travel mate I had too!
We had only met 19 days before and spent 17 of those 19 days together almost 24 / 7! He was off to Banos then further North, going to meet 2 weeks later his girlfriend I had also met in the bus 19 days before who was volonteering for 3 months in the hotest place of Colombia in Barancamejada. Bye Patrick travel buddy, safe travels! Who knows, maybe we meet again in Bolivia, or France or Switzerland or you guys come to visit me in Australia!!! 😀
I was off to Huaraz. First a bus at 2pm from Guayaquil arriving at 11am the next morning in Chimbote, then another
bus to Huaraz. I killed the next hour by trying first to use the free terminal WiFi but it didn`t work so I got onto a proper computer with internet and checked the emails. This time 2 traveller friends told me not to stay where they had stayed in Huaraz and another traveller friend had not been there, so for the first time in this trip, I jumped on tripadvisor, did a
bit of reading and booked Casa de Zarela for 2 nights.
Here was the internet cafe in the middle of the Guayaquil bus terminal on which I spent 30 minutes online. In the background, the door leading to the Cruz del Sur bus.
After my 30-min internet session, I was off to the bus. I had booked a seat on the first floor this time, what a treat with Cruz del Sur.
Those buses are insane! So much space and comfort in them!
In the bus, I met a guy we had seen two days before snorkeling in San Cristobal at Tijeretas beach! He was off to Lima and he happened to be..from Brisbane! Living in Carindale. I said “hey yes, I know, the bus 222 goes there!” Ahah. So nice sometimes to talk about local stuff from “back home / where you live” with someone from there too as no one else would understand you. There were 15 seats on the first floor and only him, me and 2 Ecuadorian women. Plenty of space so we reshuffled seats and started chatting. He had been on the road for 18 months all over the world, pretty cool trip! The bus left Guayaquil.
I wish I had an extra month or two to explore Ecuador! First time I really feel frustrated to not be able to see more things. Meeting the parents on 3rd or 4th October in Putre, north of Chile, close to La Paz, that gives me only about 25 days to get there!! Travelling 6 months only is…frustrating!! You really need one year at least to fully enjoy South America and that`s with excluding Brazil which is the size of Australia and needs 6 months on its own!! As usual when I travel, I realised that…I will have to go back..!! 😀
So it was 2pm and I was in the bus off to Chimbote in Peru.
Some landscape on the way to Chimbote.
We got to the border crossing.
Somehow they didn`t mind when I took this picture.
First you go in the left queue and get a stamp to exit Ecuador, and then you go to the right queue and get a stamp of entry to Peru and a little paper to keep in your passport for when you will exit Peru. Very modern border crossing here, smooth and easy, no rip-off. Not like when I crossed from Lao to Cambodia at 4,000 Islands border which was an insane entertaining adventure rip-off that at the time drove me totally upset and crazy I remember ahaha. Here was perfectly fine, almost boring no for a border crossing? 🙂
Dinner in the Cruz del Sur bus, like in a plane.
They were playing the same movies on the bus as when I had gone from Lima to Guayaquil. I watched a bit of some Penguin cartoon, and having just seen some real penguins in the Galapagos, who are in danger of extinction with the upcoming El Nino, I thought it was so weird to see those cartoon penguins here.
Thursday 10th September 2015
It was the morning, I slept quite well in the bus again, so comfy. I was North of Peru again, so sandy, such an interesting atmosphere in that area. Probably worth a photo-documentary of how people leave in here for someone who has the time to go explore that in depth!
The bus arrived in Chimbote on time and I asked around what time the next departure bus was. They told me 11.30am for this bus. Then I asked if I could buy the ticket on the bus or had to go to a counter. They said at the counter and a guy offered to take me to the counter, ok cool.
The guy took me to this counter. And somehow, there was no bus anymore at 11.30am but a bus at 12.45pm. I kept asking several time: Is there no bus going at 11.30am? I was just told there was one? They kept answering no,no, the bus is at 12.45pm. No bus at 11.30am. Then I reformulated my question: Is there another company which has a bus going at 11.30am? Their answer was: “Oh, ah, yeah, mmm, in front over there, the counter over there, they go at 11.30am.” Right. I gave them the darkest killer look I could to express how disgusting and dishonest I found them making me waste time like this. I can understand they just want to sell their ticket with their company right, but it was very clear from the beginning I wanted to go with the 11.30am bus. Cheeky guys, always trying hey.
So I got to that other counter in front I had not even noticed and bought my ticket for the 11.30am bus going from Chimbote to Huaraz. It was now 11.20am and I had 10 minutes left.
Next to the 11.30am bus, I had noticed this woman eating a ceviche but I could not find where she had bought it in the station, they were only selling crappy snack bars and chips. So I went to her and asked her where she had bought it.
She was super friendly and just gave her plate to a guy and took me outside of the bus station on the opposite side to a woman who was selling ceviche in the street. I happily bought one for 5 soles.
Here was my ceviche. Welcome back to Peru! I was super happy to feel like a proper traveller, eating local food from the streets. And the raw fish is marinated in lemon, they would not want the locals to get sick either, the rest is cooked food, not veggies, few risks to get sick. And if I was getting sick, so what, then my stomach would get stronger hey.
So off we went at 11.30am from Chimbote to Huaraz. In Guayaquil, the woman of Cruz del Sur had told me the journey should take 1 or 2 hours. In reality, it took 5 hours!! The bus was not as comfortable but ok. What I really enjoy is the fact that most of the time you are the only tourist in a local bus, so many locals travel around. I like that. The landscape between Chimbote and Huaraz was really beautiful. Here is a mosaic of shots taken during that journey.
And here was Huaraz in view. Surrounded by all those beautiful snow peaks. I was getting really excited! Huaraz is known as “The Hikers Mecca”. If you are into hiking, you could easily spend 2 months here exploring the surroundings. There are 3 cordilleras, the Cordillera Blanca, the Cordillera Negra and the Cordillera Huayash. I wish again that I had more time to spend here, I could definitely come back just 2 months here and no where else!!
When we arrived, people were looking at something in the river from the bridge, not sure what though.
A street of Huaraz
A more busy one
From the bus stop, I walked to the hostal for about 20 minutes in the streets. We were at 3,000 meters high and I started to feel I was in altitude, I had to walk slowly as otherwise I was getting out of breath quickly. I got to the Casa de Zarela.
I dropped my bag there, went for a shower, gave clothes for laundry and hanged out with some WiFi in the terrace area. I was in a dorm of 4 beds and later a girl from Quebec arrived. She was from Montreal but had been living in Switzerland the past 6 years. Her Quebec French was not too bad, she explained to me though that she had had to modify her accent and learned the Swiss French words in order to survive in Switzerland as at the beginning, no one could understand her, which must have been very frustrated! She was super cool and had just come back from a 5-day hike on the Santa Cruz trek I was planning to do and done 2 days of climbing too. She recommended the agency at the corner called Huascaran with which she had been so I decided that I would go check them out the next day. We met at 7pm an Israeli guy who was on her trek and the 2 guides she had had who were cool. We went to a bar where we had dinner, played pool, chatted and where I tasted the local beer called Lucho`s beer. A nice evening! After that, she was keen on going dancing salsa as it was her last evening in Peru. The next day she was off to Lima to take a plane in the evening to New York where she would spend a few days and then go to Montreal for a few weeks to visit her family before to head back to Switzerland. The guys went clubbing but I was pretty tired from the bus ride and just went to bed!
Tomorrow, day in Huaraz to book a trek, get acclimatised a bit, and also do a bit of blogging!