28.01.2016 30 °C
Banos to Guayaquil
Traveling on the cheap is a challenge in frugality and creativity. One finds ways to experience the moment to the fullest without breaking the bank. Banos has a ton of extreme adventure sports to be experienced, if you got the cash. It being a big tourist destination, things were not cheap. I found pleasure in the simple day to day things. Eating is always something I look forward to, even tho one doesn't really come to South America to eat gourmet. Also, sipping a te de coca or an ice cream cone in the town square, listening to the bells of the basilica and watching the Ecuadorian life buzz by. It's a privilege to travel.
I managed to get into the hot springs just a few steps outside my hostel door, next to the sacred waterfall of the Virgin Mary. Although incredibly crowded, felt amazing. I sensed this slight friction between the elder Ecuadorians who come to the springs on pilgrimage, a reverie. And the young, who played light heartily in the extreme temperatures. Two sides of the same coin, I thought.
On the road again! I took an 9 hour bus ride to Guayaquil. It was amazing to see how many bioregions there are within a short distance from eachother. The first part going deeper through the mountains was arid and dry. I recall seeing my favourite edible cacti, the prickly pear. Through the highlands passing tribal groups of Quichua peoples tending their flocks of sheep and collecting grassy plants. A elderly man sat next to me after hopping on the bus at one of our stops. He seemed intent on having a conversation, even if I couldn't understand his Spanish Quichua mix language. I nodded and smiled. He pointed out the names of mountains and different land marks as we sped on by. I shared my pollo and papas with him (chicken and fries). One of the things I love about bus travel in South America, is at every stop, there are three or four people who jump aboard selling anything for the local snake oil to delectable yummyness. Then we napped. At this point we were winding down the narrow road, down through the cloud forests. On one side, cliff going straight up, on the other, cliff going straight down. Holy doodle. He got off at his tiny village shrouded in mist, with a handshake and a smile. It was a delight to see the Brugmansias, not so shyly, presenting their gigantic flowers.
I have to pee! Over 7 hours and still no pit stops. Thought I was gunna pee myself. Coming off the mountains onto the coastal low lands reminded me of British Columbia. Banana! Banana plantations as far as the eye could see, fer real. A part of me delighted in seeing the home of a popular western food. What's with North Americans and bananas anyway? Haha. Another part of me felt for the indigenous plants and groves of mangroves that used to inhabit this area. It's as humid as the Amazon now.
The tropical city of Guayaquil. Much like any North American city, South American style. I found a small ma and pa restaurant close to my hostel, where I'll be going to eat most of the time because, let's face it, can't go wrong with a $2 meal.
If anyone is planning on going to South America, among most good advice, prepare to have your clothes destroyed. My white shirts are not white and I think I've lost some clothing along the way. Lavenderias are operated by people, I have yet to see one self serve. So, i had to find another shirt at the local mall, so I have something to wear tomorrow.
As I adjust to city life. Tomorrow, I plan on venturing down town for my usual wanderlust adventures. In the evening, Vulcano! A local gay bar with drag queen shows on Fridays and Saturdays. Being a gay person in Ecuador has been like going back in time 50 years of civil rights. Sure, they may have just been granted the ability to get married, but there are stories of police still raiding the bars and clubs. Much like stonewall. The machismo attitude is alive and well here. There's been a few times where I felt I wasn't 'passing' enough. They recommend bringing your passport, or a copy of, in case the cops decide to shut things down.
Until next time