Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 15: Almost the end

In rush hour traffic at 07:00, leaving Guayaquil was challenging, but with numerous stops for directions, we finally made it out of the busy city on our way to Salinas, further out on the coast. Salinas is a popular seaside place for weekenders with its nice beach and setting, and known for chocolates and cheeses among other things. The new 4-lane freeway that connects the two cities was a boring ride over denuded landscape.

Just before we arrived at Salinas, we stopped in Santa Elena where I needed to change some $50's. It seems no one has the least little bit of change in Ecuador and even the hotel last night couldn't change a $50 for the $25 room. After waiting in line at the bank, they wouldn't make change, and with some difficulty, Jordan managed to get their reason - he didn't have an account there. He expressed his frustration for their ridiculous rules and even a helpful client there agreed. Another bank finally accommodated.

We went a little further to Salinas for a lunch on the malecon (the seaside walk so typical in beach towns and cities).

Our final stop was Manta, and as we were feeling a bit frazzled, we didn't feel like searching around for a hotel. Taking the first that looked alright, we checked in, paying more than we had expected for this town. After a bite to eat, we discovered that there were better deals in town, but the owner gave us lots of fresh mangoes off this tree and let us use the kitchen for breakfast, so we didn't feel as disappointed about the price we paid. They watched Jordan make oatmeal with intense curiosity and even asked for a taste!

Another 358 km to add.

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