Adventures in Guayaquil
Posted on Dec 06, 2013 |
Guayaquil is famous in Ecuador as "la ciudad de monos" - the city of monkeys. That is why Bimbino and Bambina where so keen on visiting it.
Montañita => Guayaquil
The monkeys were standing at the road at the Southern end of Montand ñita holding their thumbs up. They were not worried at all as you always get a ride in Ecuador, especially if you are a cute little monkey. …and of cause they did. After only … minutes a truck driver stopped. Bimbino and Bambina had to jump on the back of the truck were they were sitting beside some huge barrels. Luckily none of them fell over and killed them. The ride along the coast was very pleasant with nice nice views over little fishing villages, beaches and the ocean and the wind blowing in their faces.
In Valdivia the ride was over but the next one was already encountered within minutes.
A friendly driver wanted to give them a lift until Santa Elena, the regional capital. Unfortunately his car broke down just before entering the city which resulted in an one hour walk through the incredibly not beautiful little town.
At the end Northern end of Santa Elena there was a service station, a perfect spot for cars to stop. Two business men were on their way to Guayaquil and were happy to give the monkeys a ride and listened to their traveling stories.
Guayaquil has a pleasant atmosphere. While it is the biggest and hottest city in Ecuador there is a constant breathe from the Pacific Ocean which makes it easy to stand the temperature. Bimbino and Bambina stayed three nights in Guayaquil, so they had two full days to explore the city. The monkeys were staying with a Couchsurfing host, whose name was Cristian. Best encounter they could wish for in the city. They had spent a lot of time together: in the evenings - at home, at the daytime - he showed them around the city: some secret corners and popular beautiful places.
Bimbino ad Bambina had a great time in Parque Bolívar playing with Iguanas.
Those slow but magnificent animals were all over the place, not paying any attention to the people around. They were happy to have the crazy monkeys to hang out for a while.
The monkeys tried to teach the Iguanas how to jump and fly from one tree to another, but those animals are not made for flying; the only things they are very good at are chilling on the ground, climbing the trees, sitting on the branches and staring around.
Iguanas also leave pretty big peaces of shit on the ground. Be careful not to slip on it! There were a few cases of people hurting themselves, which makes Iguanas one of the most dangerous animals in the city.
What the Monkeys were stunned to see was the great Rio Guayas.
Bimbino and Bambina were standing at the embankment watching the waters flow, so massive and powerful; the wind was blowing in their faces, the whole river surface seemed to be covered with rainbows. It was so romantic that they forgot for a moment that they were brother and sister, but the smell of gasoline from the water brought them back to their senses.
Guayaquil has a very beautiful and long riverfront, known as Malecón 2000, with many monuments, fountains and gardens. This unique atmosphere does not only attract tourists and couples in love but also many locals who want to work out. Especially the girls seem to mix something up here as they obviously spent more time on choosing the right clothes and putting on their make-up than on running along the site of the old harbor. Nevertheless the make-up is doing its job very well as it attracts the looks of many people. The mix of sweat and paint is just too disgusting to look away.
Except for that Malecón 2000 is full of shops, restaurants, ice-cream booths and fast food stands, but there are also gathered some of the most beautiful sights in town: Palacio Municipal, Palacio de Cristal (an old market hall constructed by Gustave Eiffel) and the very beautiful Moorish style clock tower, which looks like it was taken right out of the Alhambra. Some people say that there is a little conspiracy around that tower, that it is the remaining of an old mosque, but the jewish mayor of the town is trying to conceal this history. However, the monkeys could not find anything that could proof this legend true.
La Rotonda is a great place to have some fun, the memorial for Bolivar and Sucre where the monkeys had an hilarious time playing with the acoustic. If people or monkeys stand on opposite sides of the arcade and talk with the wall, they will be able to hear each others bullshit.
In contrary to it's riverside, downtown Guayaquil is not blessed with an extraordinary beauty. How good that there is another Malecón at the Estero Salado in the West of the city centre. Here the monkeys came about some rainbow colored fountains which were dancing to the sounds of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Whether this was the installation of some light show designer or a coup of the city to cover some more spillings of the oil companies remained a secret.
After a hot day in the city came a refreshing evening at home with Christian, his mum and another two guests, a Spanish-Argentinian couple, who were preparing a BBQ. When the Spargentinians introduced the monkeys to a travelling pig, Bimbino and Bambina were wondering what they were about to eat that night.
Luckily, traveling pig was not the main dish, and the monkeys had a great time hanging out with him. Some meat was grilled, some rice was boiled, some salad was prepared, and all was eaten over sharing stories from the road.
The next day the monkey proceeded exploring the city. Their first aim was a Zig-Zag bridge they had heard about. To reach it they had to take the Metro Via, the public transport system that functions in the stead of an underground train. The Metro Via has it´s own lane so transport is much quicker than with ordinary buses. However, changes between two of these bus lines are not that easy, or better said much easier than one could think. There ain't any transfer station between two lines, only two stops that are located very close to each other. After having taken the first bus the monkeys took the exit and walked to the next stop to take a bus on the other line. …which brought them back to the bus stop at which they had left the first bus. Too complicated to understand? Well, not really. Right after you have had this experience you will understand that there are transfer buses from one interchange stop to another which makes it possible to change buses without paying a second fee for transportation. The interchange bus runs all day long in the circles. What a dream job for a driver!
When the monkeys came to the Zig-Zag bridge, they went a few times there and back in a zig-zag. What an experience!, the best they could have after all the circles on the bus. Suffice it to say, it's a very beautiful and romantic place, a masterpiece of modern architecture. Though this time the monkeys managed to hold their romantic feelings and went directly to las Peñas, the old town of Guayaquil. It is located on Cerro Santa Ana on the bank of the Guayas, from which you can see a panorama of the whole city.
Just one challenge stands on the way, actually, 444 challenges.
444 steps leading up the hill - not a simple task for the monkeys.
Climbing the hill of Santa Ana is totally worth doing though, not only for an incredible view, but for authentic atmosphere of the area and cute architecture of the old houses. On every house you can see a plate with a name of a family living there and a photo of this house a few decades ago. At the bottom of the Santa Ana hill there is an old harbor which has been turned into a modern fancy residence area. The flats are empty as probably none has money to buy one of them.
The last evening was very hard rock. Bimbino and Bambino met up again with Cristian and an old friend of Bimbo
, Ela from Poland. Together they ended up in some Metal bar called Kruger's, famous for its lax laws about the consumption of drugs. If anybody wants to use the toilette in this establishment they have to face a locked door for the most of the time as the restroom is mainly used for taking lines of cocaine. With music from German and British 80s metal bands so loud that conversation became nearly impossible the group decided to leave the place again to end the night over some beers in the streets and squares of Guayaquil.
After two nice days in in the city it was time to leave Guayaquil for Cuenca.
Follow the adventures of the Travelling Monkeys! More stories to come soon...