Fri 4th May
I did very little yesterday after a hectic week in week in Quito except a few admin bits and bobs, laundry etc and pack.
This morning I get my last breakfast at Community Hostel. I would definitely recommend the food here – both breakfasts and dinners have been amazing.
With a long day ahead of me, I get an uber to the south bus terminal. It’s loads cheaper by bus but with stories of bag slashing’s rife, I decide it’s safer to just get a 6$ cab.
The journey takes longer than anticipated due to some roadworks and I therefore miss the 0840 bus and have to get the 0930. Some of the staff here are the most unhelpful I’ve come across. I ask where the desk is for Transportes Ecuador and am told they don’t exist! Cheers mate. I ask someone else and am pointed in the right direction…thank you and so I go get my 12$ ticket to Montanita.
Local people travel round with all sorts and I watch step ladders, laundry, planks of wood and all sorts be loaded under the bus! We finally set off 15 mins late. When the man comes round to check tickets, I hear him tell someone the journey time is 9 hours! What…it says 6 on everything I’ve read. I question him and am told 6 hours is for the night bus but it takes 9 in the day. Great, if this is the case, it means I’ll miss my direct connection to Montanita!
Transportes Ecuador are a fairly comfortable bus, with reclining seats and a foot bit that pulls down to give u a semi bed. I don’t recline as it hurts my back but most people on board are semi horizontal within minutes of leaving. Luckily I’m at the front so have no one leaning into my space!
I go to listen to some music to kill some time and to block out the vendor guy who has been banging on about ginseng tablets and whatnot for the past 20 minutes or so, and then 2 other people getting on to sell food – u will never starve on bus journeys in South America! An array of snacks and drinks are brought on board by sellers in different towns.
Bus journeys would however be a damn sight quicker if not for this!
My playlists seem to have disappeared so can’t block out this annoying ginseng man until I remember my tablet is in my day bag…woo hoo…sat comfortably, I plough through series 3 of Narcos.
We stop briefly for lunch…a 20 minute stop at a roadside restaurant for buses. Not much on offer I fancy so just order a plate of potato wedges followed by an ice cream. Whilst waiting to get back on, a man I got chatting to at the station tells me the bus normally takes 7 hours not 9. I’m relieved to hear this and hope I can still make my connection.
Back on the bus and back to Narcos. The journey seems to take forever, and with 1800 gone, the last bus missed and the sun set, I start googling what I can do when I get to Guayaquil in order to get to Montanita.
There’s a route via Santa Elena but the last bus from there is before 10. Stuck on single lane roads behind slow moving trucks, I’m in doubt I’ll make it. We get into Guayaquil and the traffic is bad. 2 mins away but with traffic it’s going to take 20! Come on….move it please….
Finally, after nearly 10 hours I get to Guayaquil. There’s a frantic rush for people trying to get their luggage to make their connections, with one chica going absolutely mental at the driver retrieving luggage. There’s only one way to deal with that kind of behaviour and the driver does exactly that…leaves her bag until last! I rather politely tell the other driver of our bus my bag is near the front and that my bus leaves soon and I’m passed my bag immediately! Manners cost nothing!
I ask a security guard for the Santa Elena desk and run off there. 2.50$ ticket bought and a departure in 10 mins. It’s bloody hot here…around 30 degrees at half 8 at night! I manage to buy a cold drink and get on my bus for the 2 hour trip. A quick and steady route helped by the fact there are dual carriageways. The only annoying bit of this journey is the guy I’m sat next too who decides to burst into song out loud every now and again. I tell him to be quiet several times but in the end think he must have some kind of disorder or something so just let him be!
I get to Santa Elena at 2130 exhausted. As I get off, a member of staff guesses I’m heading to Montanita and gives me directions to the ticket desk. I pay 1.70$ and head to the bus that is to leave at 21:45 which departs promptly.
I’ve been in touch with the owners of my hostel and tell them I’ll be in late. An hour passes and I’m finally in Montanita. The 15 minute walk to my hostel feels like nothing whilst chatting to my friend Chris who I stayed with in Mexico…a lovely surprise call. You tend not to receive that many calls at this time here when it’s 0430 back home!
Having joked with Nikki at my hostel over text that I didn’t know if I was in need of wine or bed when I got in, I am greeted with a cold crisp glass of white as I arrive!
Now that’s how u welcome a guest! After leaving my previous hostel at 0800, I am so bloody glad to be here…arriving at 2300!
Nikki and Grant at my new hostel, a couple running it but from Canada are lovely and make me feel right at home. Despite being unbelievably shattered, we stay up having a few bevvies with Geordie Lee – their other guest until about 0230!
I go to bed exhausted but I’m glad to be in the sunny coast, in my own room and without any music or people going to wake me up in the morning!
I am so looking forward to just chilling out here for the next 2 weeks….and to the reason that brought me here in the first place….I’m going back to school….Spanish school!