….heading back up to the hills 🙂
Day 5; Guayaquil to Piñas. 286Km/178m
To catch up with the story so far; click Day 1 & Day 2 & Day 3 & Day 4
It was time for a bit of housekeeping! Having packed light, we took advantage of the larger hotel room and did a bit of washing. I have to say though, I thoroughly recommend all the new purchases I talked about in “Packing..”. All have stood the test of the ride. We really weren’t stinking and our socks weren’t standing up on their own!
We had a great meal last night; both of us opted for Ecuadorian traditional dishes and thoroughly enjoyed them!
Iain chose a steak with a red wine/tomato based sauce and I went with a Mahi-Mahi fish dish with a coconut sauce, both were delicious. We were throughly relaxed again after the stress of the last 24 hours!
It may seem bizarre to some but we did just confine ourselves to the hotel – apart from a quick KFC run for lunch when we first arrived!
Neither of us are city folk. We don’t care for the hustle, bustle, noise and crowds. This was re-inforced by the KFC run and so, baring in mind we just needed to chill, we chose to just stay and eat/drink in the hotel restaurant. So yes, we went to Guayaquil, but no, we didn’t really “see” Guayaquil!
After a fabulous nights sleep and a good buffet breakfast, we got ready and headed on our way to the next stop. Today we were heading further south and a little more inland, back up in to the mountainous area.
We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to navigate out of the city. I guess we both expected excessive craziness with it being a Saturday, But it was super easy, no drama, no road rage incidents!
We crossed over the huge River Guayas headed out down the coast through coastal plains and passing rice paddies.
As we headed further south and a little more inland, the changing landscape was very noticeable. We began to roll through more agricultural areas and the road led us through banana plantations where the smell of the ripening fruit filled the air.
Riding through the small towns we marveled at the industrious town folks. Fruit stands, cook stands and literally a bike repair ‘shop’ on every block! Then there are the guys who set up stands in the middle of the road. You can even buy a kite as you travel!
It is humbling to see how these folks live though. The places that they call home barely look habitable. To our westernized eyes it would be easy to pity but that’s not what this is about. This is the way of life in Ecuador and a friendlier population I have never come across.
As pleasant as it was to roll through this countryside, passing through small town and watching local life carry on, Iain was craving the hills and the more flat ground we rode, the more of an Ecuadorian driver he became! Just as his commentary started reaching Florida driving levels, we took a left turn and the road started to climb as we headed up in to the hills. My man relaxed and returned to his chill, motorbike riding dude self!
Sweeping round the bends again was fun and we could feel the temperature drop almost immediately. There were natural waterfalls just plummeting at the Side of the road and yes, I did make him turn around (U-trns in the middle of the road) just so I could get pics! The funnest one was where the water was channeled in to pipes and it had been made in to a bathing hole. There were quite a few folks there but I can’t begin to imagine how icy cold the water must have been !
A bit farther and higher up into the hills, we came to the town of Piñas. A bustling little town literally built in the side of a mountain. We did have a bit of a “GPS moment” when it all went horribly wrong and we didn’t quite know where we were. This would be fine on the flat, but this town is like San Fransisco on steroids. Think roads that are almost literally vertical and then try to imagine balancing a fully laden motor bike as you have to stop at “Give Way” signs or pedestrian crossings ~ things were starting to go down hill again; excuse the pun!
Eventually, with a little teamwork and some 3G coverage, we found where we were supposed to be, High above the town, nestles a really cute little place called, Hosteria Florecer. What a wonderfully warm greeting we were given by the host, a native Ecuadorian and his wife.
Tonight was looking to be a fun night 🙂
More PSA info; you know, incase you ever come to Ecuador; it’s important you know this stuff 😉
Buses; The bus service here seems to be excellent. Large, modern vehicles that look more like tourist buses are in all the areas. Even high up on the barely passable dirt tracks (see day 1) we have been surprised by a bus careering around the corner! Bus stops seem to be random, but be ready, they don’t stop for long, literally moving away again as the traveler still has one foot in the door!
Iain says that all bus drivers must be retired rally drivers. They really do swing those vehicles around fast and furiously!
Lanes; as in traffic lanes. It all works well as long as there is a defined line painted as appropriate. When that is gone, it all goes to hell in a hand cart! There have been a few occasions when we found a wide 3-4 lane highway that had no defined lane plan. Do you think that the traffic was sensible and drove as if there were imaginary lines – oh no! Not here! It was a “hold onto your hats, we’re going in” moment. You just got to drive in to the mayhem and hope that you’ll get out, if not quite where you want to be, at least close to it!
Problems we’ve had; one way street systems. The GPS doesn’t care to show one way streets and a couple of times we’ve been guilty of turning down the wrong and riding against the flow of traffic. Thankfully this has always been in low traffic areas! Here’s the difference; if this happened in the US, or even the UK, we would have been met with blaring horns, gesticulations and general obnoxious derision. Over here, barely anything! Maybe a couple small peeps, but then they peep so much anyway you wouldn’t notice! It was more the pedestrians who bought our attention to the mistake but in a friendly kind of way 🙂
Ecuador is a fun place to be!