Guayaquil for all of twenty minutes.

Usually, I am a planner.  I like timetables and schedules.  All that has gone out the window in my Ecuadorian travels.  No longer are there timetables or schedules.  The closest I get to planning is showing up at the the bus station and buying a ticket.  But this is all because my poor planning has been rewarded.  It’s as if there’s some magic fairy dust over the buses.  As if the bus is waiting for me to show up before it leaves.  The longest I’ve waited for a bus to leave has been five minutes.

Vilcabamba to Loja, to Guayaquil, to Montanita. Around 10 hours.

That is, until last night.  I chose the direct overnight bus to Guayaquil from Loja rather than take a local bus.  This meant two extra hours in the bus station.  I settled in to watch The Panic Room, an unsurprisingly easy movie to keep up with in my bad Spanish.  But wouldn’t you know it, I ran into another familiar face.  George, an artisan who I had talked to several times in Vilcabamba, was waiting around for a bus leaving even later than mine.  Our common language was limited but it was nice to have someone to sit next to and watch my stuff while I ran to the lady’s room.

The overnight bus to Guayaquil, as I expected, was super nice and had comfy reclining seats.  It was not air conditioned though as many are (the overnight buses in Guatemala were freezing) and the bus definitely warmed up as we headed out of the mountains.

I thought I was having trouble sleeping and I thought I was a light sleeper and I thought the bus would get into Guayaquil after sunrise but I was wrong on all counts.  Instead and when it was still quite dark out, I woke up to police searching the bus as it headed out of the terminal after unloading all of its passengers.  All of its passengers except for me.  Whoops.  Fortunately, all of my stuff was intact and I only had twenty minutes before the 6am bus to Montanita.

Not that the Guayaquil station would be a bad one to get stuck in.  It’s super new and while the buses are on the top floors, the bottom floor is basically a shiny shopping mall.

I am still waiting though, for someone to explain the bus system.  There’s an organization to it I know, but it’s definitely beyond me.  First, start with up to a hundred different bus companies.  Every company goes to different cities though some go to the same cities.  But if you go in looking for a destination, you are at a loss because the kiosks are labeled by bus company (or, even better, by number) and not destination.  Fortunately, the folks in the kiosks know what is going on and are very generous in offering which kiosk I should be headed to.

So here I am, 10am, in Montanita–feeling like it should be dinner time rather than not even lunch time.  The town is sleepier than I imagined but maybe that’s because the sun is out.  It’s certainly a beach town.  There are gringos everywhere.  I don’t mind–I only have a few days to chill out and the beach is still the beach.

The beach is still the beach, especially at sunset.


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