September 11-12, 2015
We arrived after a 4-hour bus ride from Puerto Lopez. We checked into our hotel and walked around. We were not staying in the central downtown area so there wasn’t much to see. We finally had a great meal for dinner though. We went to some fast food restaurant that served us a salad with meat, corn, rice, and eggs.
The next morning after our included breakfast I started chatting with another guy in the hostel. Ken was a Belgian who had been traveling for the last 6 months. We had bought a car in Patagonia and he is planning on driving it up into Central America. We exchanged some advise to one another since we were traveling south and he north. I invited him into the city with us and we split a cab to downtown. We ended up spending 3 hours walking the city of Guayaquil together. The iguana park was pretty amazing.
After walking a bit with Ken he started to open up. He had told me that he initially was traveling with his girlfriend of 2 years but just broke up 2 weeks ago. He had said that their different traveling styles and being together 24/7 was too much a strain on their relationship. He was really easy guy to be around. And speaking 4 or 5 languages, Chuta!
Sylvie and relaxed a bit at a mall where we split another salad and rice, along with a couple ice cream treats. We purchased bus tickets for our overnight bus ride to Piura, Peru. Despite the horror stories we have heard we arrived in one piece.
Horror Story #1: Multiple sources have stated that the crew waits will people fall sleep and then take their remotes (for the TV) and then tries to charge the people afterwards.
Horror Story #2: The bus makes unscheduled stops and picks up people that end up robing people on the bus—the staff is in on the whole thing.
Horror Story #3: The bus staff drugs the passengers and robs them while they are knocked out.
In the recent Lonely Planet they declared the border crossing that we were taking to be the worst in South America.
A non-related story, but still worth noting: While out for drinks with our new friends Christine and Harold back in Quito we are told a story that happened to one of their housemates. A guy that is staying with them in their homestay was robbed walking north on Las Amazonias to their Homestay just a few days earlier. 3 guys had jumped him and one even bit him. He had to go to the ER and is currently taking antibiotics. I wanted to wait until after we left Quito to tell that story.
We boarded the bus at 9 sharp and shortly after we were given some snacks (chocolate milk, pound cake, crackers, and a chocolate treat). I decided to pay $10 more and pay for 1st class seats, which were located on the first floor. The second floor seats were considered 2nd class. 1st class seats reclined to ~160 degrees and were much wider with only 3 seats taking up an entire row. I think the seats/bed was the most comfortable thing I’ve ever been on. After 3 hours we had to wake up and pass through customs. We were stamped out of Ecuador and stamped into Peru within an hour. To my surprise we didn’t have to pay for any tourist visa.
We arrived to our final destination around 6am, a whole 3 hours before the ETA. And that is when things really got interesting...