Dear Family and Friends,
After our housekeeper finished on Thursday, Chuck and I threw some clothes in a small bag and took a taxi to the bus station for a trip to Guayaquil. The main purpose of this trip was to get a visa at the Chinese consulate.
We bought tickets for seats 3 and 4. These are front row seats on the bus that sometimes provide a little more leg room and sometimes provides better views, since they are front row seats opposite from the driver.
While waiting around for the bus departure time, we discovered a restaurant located upstairs in the bus station. We went up there for a quick lunch before we headed out on our 4 hour trip to Guayaquil.
Here is a birds eye picture of our bus station.
The trip through the Cajas (a part of the Andes) is sometimes on paved road and sometimes on mud. It depends on whether the road has been washed out or not. A new road is being built and progress is going very well.
Here is a picture of the new road. We are riding on the completed side. The other side has the concrete poured but is covered to protect it from the rain while it cures.
There are advantages and disadvantages to riding in the front row seats. Here is a disadvantage. We were riding through thick fog in the mountains and this is the view we had. It is also the view the driver of the bus had. I think he was driving by braille.
We arrived in Guayaquil and took a taxi to Hotel Palace. This is a nice hotel located in the center of town. It has all the amenities that keeps Nancy happy.
Chuck checked out the address and hours of operation of the Chinese consulate. Having completed that task we took a taxi to the largest mall in Guayaquil, San Marino. It is a huge three story ultra modern mall. We looked for a new espresso maker since ours bit the dust last week. (this was due to cockpit error....I left it on without water in the tank!!!) No success!
We had dinner at the Sports Planet. It is larger than the Sports Planet in Cuenca, but it was also noisier. Chuck was happy to learn it was two for one night. Here is a happy man with his two Club beers.
The next morning we hired a driver and were on our way to get our visas by 9:00 am. We got to the consulate to learn that in addition to our passports we needed a copy of our airline e-tickets, a copy of our cedula (Ecuadorian ID), a copy of our passport and a small photo. Since the office only stayed open until 12:30, we were so glad we had a driver to run us to a internet cafe to print out a copy of our e-tickets, a photo store to make passport size photos, and a store to make copies of our cedula and passports.
We arrived back to the consulate before noon and filled out the paperwork and turned over the required material. The cost for our visas was $130 each. This is because we had U.S. passports. If we had Ecuadorian passports the cost would have been $80 each. The clerk said it would take one week to process. So Chuck is going back to Guayaquil next week to pick up our passports and visas.
Having completed our main purpose for going to Guayaquil we patted ourselves on the back and had the driver take us to where we could shop for art. He delivered us to the Banco Central Museum. Not exactly an art gallery for buying art, but we enjoyed it anyway. It is located on the malecon (a river front walk way).
Here is a picture I made out of the window of the museum. You can see part of the malecon and some of Guayaquil behind.
When we went back to the hotel to rest, Chuck suggested that we check out the next morning and take the bus to Machala. I figured why not, it is so hot and muggy here anyway.
So I'll blog about that part of our trip another time.
Have a nice Memorial Day everyone.
Nancy and Chuck