Friday, February 14, 2014

Guayaquil Street Scenes

Never leave your hotel without taking the hotel business card- simply hand it to the cabbie and sit back.
If you stay at the Hotel Galleria Ming, be warned that I had credit card information stolen without the actual card (CC) being stolen.
On the topic of CC’s, it is best to take two per person for just such a situation.  It may take a week or two to get a replacement, which is a long time to be with no money and few people who speak English.
Before leaving the country, go to your credit card on line account and set up alarms to notify you of transactions as you see fit.  For my Chase card, I set it up to contact both my email and my phone because sometimes one may work while the other may not.  I specifically have the fraud alerts activated, and I specifically am notified by phone and email of every charge that is made, regardless if the card is physically present for the transaction or not.
I mentioned this before, but worth repeating notify banks and cc companies of your travel plans.
For more mundane tips, you may find it handy to bring ketchup of your choice, as the type here is very different from what you are used to and may not be to your liking.  Other things to bring in small TSA approved containers would be mustard, coffee creamer, hair shampoo and conditioner.  You may also do well to bring a wall plug that will add electrical outlets and usb charging ports.  Ecuador uses standard electricity that is used in the USA. 

Impressions of Guayaquil.  This is a very large city (3+ million).    It is dirty and it is filthy.  By that I mean there is always dust, sand, and dirt around. On the other hand, there is also whole a lot of rubbish thanks to people littering, and perhaps to some extent, inadequate trash collection.  I witnessed a thug spry painting/tagging a bridge at a stoplight. 

Guayaquil was at the same time beautiful.  The malecon was very interesting but dangerous.  There was plenty to do in Guayaquil with clubs, dancing, drinking, walking, or just enjoying a nice parque or the malecon.  Regardless, I never quite felt safe, and this colored all impressions I had of the place and the people.  I don’t want to revisit this place again.

Next, photos of Guayaquil (phonetically: Y-ah-keel, as on a ship).  From the best I can tell, this is the pronunciation as the Guaya-killers call it.

View of the Las Peñas  (colonial) district.  The area is noted for the colorful homes on the hill (called Cerro Santa Ana, or I will refer to it as the hill), along with the lighthouse, and church at the very top.  In the foreground and to the right is the newly renovated malecon 2000.

Another view of the Las Peñas District with dramatic clouds.  Residents of Guayaquil refer to themselves as “Guayaquileños” Guayaquil residents are descended from Valdivia people who flourished there from before 2000 BC. Spaniards including Francisco de Orellana (who discovered the Amazon River and claimed Guayaquil), and others.

Up close and Personal With The Las Peñas district.  The district has (I believe) two ways to get in and out.  The usual tourist was is a stairway to the top lined on either side with shops, and restaurants.  Side streets are also present.  Each street is nicely numbered on the right side on a ceramic tile.

 The first pic I took was at # 15.  By the time I reached the top, I figured the numbers were useful to tell paramedics exactly where my cardiac arrest occurred.  Note the girl sitting on the cannon- more later.  

A house along the way to the top

Typical crowd of shoppers, tourists, and residents.

Family residence

Restaurant along the way 

View at sunset from around midway up

The final tile, and a welcome sight indeed.  Carrying 35lbs of camera gear, this was a hike.  We also hired 3 security guards ($30.00 total) to ensure safe passage.

Lighthouse at the top

Chapel at top

Sunset over the Guayas River

Views of Guayaquil from the top

 Views of Guayaquil from the top

 Views of Guayaquil from the top