Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guayaquil Shopping and Street Scenes


FACTOIDS:

VEY IMPORTANT: EVERY HOTEL HAS A BUSINESS CARD- ALWAYS TAKE SEVERAL TO HAND TO CABBIES- VERY FEW PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH- IT WILL SAVE YOUR HIDE!
When you go out, do NOT flash anything expensive
Wear a money belt, or something to keep valuables safe
Use safe in the hotel
I like to keep money in two places- one hidden so that if mugged, the mugger will be satisfied and I will still have enough money to get home.  I never go out with a lot of cash
I advise taking two credit cards or one card and one debit card in case one is lost or is compromised
I strongly advise everyone take along a safari vest.  I keep harping on this and I know it is dorky but, used it this trip.  Some smaller planes will not allow for even a small carry on bag.  Some will have restrictive carry on weight restrictions.  I was forced to part with my camera gear.  Fortunately, everything of value fit into my vest. 
I always advise going out using the buddy system to keep an eye on each other.  Also, it is helpful if someone has an excellent sense of direction.
Speak with phone company and turn off “data roaming” so you don’t get hit with a huge bill for internet.  You will still get text messages and phone calls however.

Guayaquil is a very modern city by many standards.  It has several modern-looking malls, that would look like home were it not for the “strange looking” brand names and foreign language.  In general, things are much less expensive here in Ecuador; however, there are some very notable exceptions.  Electronics such as computers, phones, large appliances and durable goods are VERY expensive.  That large screen TV that costs $700 at COSTCO may cost $4000 in Ecuador.  Want to import your car?  Forget it.  Groceries are inexpensive, but unless you go to local “markets”, you really won’t save a lot of money.  You also won’t really get a feel for the fun of being in a foreign country or dickering on a price (if that is your cup of tea).  With that in mind, here are some market pics, and some other street scenes around Guayaquil.

Covered market that sold mainly dry goods and sundries.  Jewelry, clothes, handbags, and whatever you can imagine.  I purchased my “Panama Hat” at this market for $14 USD.  At the hotel, same hat, $60.00.  Be prepared to dicker, it is their way of life.  They see gringo, and they think $$$.  Unless you absolutely MUST have that particular item, be prepared to walk if they don’t come down to a price you are willing to pay.  Don’t worry however; chances are that you will find it or a better one in a stall nearby.


A stall with everything you ever needed, and stuff you never even knew about.  The craftsmanship is outstanding however.  It is hand-made



  Good stuff, and plain old junk.  You decide which is which. 



Fun fact:  It is illegal to import incandescent light bulbs.  Ecuador is going green!  Get used to fluorescent.






 
Street scenes. 

It seems that buildings are always being built, or being neglected. 







 

Close-up of window treatment and its neglect.  Shameful of the beautiful handicraft going to rust and decay.  Makes for beautiful photography however.







 
View of The Las Pe├▒as district.  This hill was set up with cannons previously to defend the city against pirates.  Now the steps do a great job against middle-aged tourists with heavy camera gear. 






 More to follow very soon- internet is very spotty!