Yesterday, I ate breakfast on the terrace at the hotel in Manta, where we were treated to the sight of a whale. I understand they migrate in July and August, but you can still catch the occasional drifter in September. I’m glad I did.
Today we ate at the hotel in Salinas, then began the trek over to Guayaquil. Before we left Salinas, we stopped at a place called Chocolater. It is not called that because they produce chocolate, but rather because the sea is very rough there, and pounds against dark brown rocks. The frothing waves against the dark brown shore creates the appearance of hot chocolate, especially from a distance. Close up, the water is a beautiful turquoise blue. As are the legs and feet of one of the most interesting birds I’ve ever seen, the Blue-Footed Booby. These cluster together on the rocks there. And for the geographical nerd in me, it so happens that this point is the westernmost point in Ecuador (someone there said continental South America, but I’m not sure that’s right).
Greg drove. I repeat – better him than me. As we approached Guayaquil, he had a few choice comments about the relative strength of his colon and the pending explosion. Next time, we’ll know to do buses. $3.80 from Manta to Guayaquil, and we could have saved all the wear and tear on Greg’s anatomy.
They stayed at the airport hotel to prep for an early departure. I decided to hop a late bus back to Cuenca. I’m just drawn to this place for reasons I can’t quite explain. I walked back to my hotel, arriving around 11 p.m. The young man behind the desk this time did not speak any English. I asked for a solo room, and he said yes. I asked for two nights and he said yes. Then, in his gallant attempt to communicate, he said “Twenty dollars.” I wondered if that could be right, so I pulled out a $20 bill and asked, “This much?” He shook his head, punched the number 30 on his desk calculator, then showed it to me and said, “Twenty!” Realizing that he simply confused the word “twenty” with the word “thirty,” I pulled out the right amount for 2 nights. As he turned to put it into the drawer, he muttered under his breath, “Ay, gringos, gringos, gringos!” I’m not sure if he meant for me to hear it, but I let it pass because I think he believed I was trying to talk him down on the price of the room. He must have been thinking, “What does this look like, an open market!”
Then it was off to bed in my new (even if temporary) home.