Guayaquil…No Thanks


We had been trying to get a place to stay based on AirBnB. They do not have a way to allow you to join and use their services without a phone. I had every other way of communication but once in Ecuador my phone would not work. I contacted them and they were no help whatsoever, insisting that a working phone was absolutely necessary. BULLSHIT.. Many tourists traveling in these countries do not have functioning cell phones. I was fortunate in that the place I selected allowed mail communication and I was able to arrange it outside of the service. We went from the airport to this guys house which was quite hard to find although only a couple of blocks from the airport. In the meantime I received word from my friend in Peru, Carlos Castro Pat, that he was in Portoviejo to receive an award from the Cultural Ministry as a major latin american poet and author. He asked if we would come stay there for a few days at the hotel of another Coveliano Alumni, Ariosto Andrade. Because of the amount of luggage we have we found bus travel problematic. I asked the taxi driver how much it would be to take us to Portoviejo. He showed us his tariff list and it said $120.00 I agreed and we arranged for him to come get us at 10 the next morning. The hosts were a couple of young men that had a passion for helping people. They were wonderful and we talked late into the night. Guayaquil is a gigantic city and was not very welcoming. I wasn’t there long enough to be fair but it had a feeling I just didn’t like.

When I told my host what the driver was going to charge to take us he got very hot. He said he hated seeing these guys take advantage of tourists. He said he could get us one for 90. The first guy was somewhat old and didn’t seem like he would be much of a guide. I had no way to contact the first guy and cancel the trip. We left a message but apparently he never got it. Both guys showed up at 10 and then the fireworks started. The first guy got hot and demanded to be paid. He wouldn’t leave. My hosts put themselves in the middle and eventually it came to blows. Meanwhile we got in the second guys car and he tried to drive away. The first guy followed us and tried to block us several times. At last he succeeded. We were trapped on the highway. My guy called the cops. Both were telling the cop their story. The laws of conflict here are not so clear and if agreement can’t be reached all parties are often taken to jail until it can be sorted out. We finally agreed to give the first guy 10.00 so he would go away.

The trip to Portoviejo was very nice. We traveled through the countryside with the driver pointing out the different vegitation and crops. We passed a bunch of mounted cowboys in full regalia. When queried it turns out there was a big parade of horses in Guayaquil that weekend and they were on the way. Of course when I got my camera ready they were all gone. We never saw anymore, just the working ones in regular clothes. Three hours or so later we arrived in Poroviejo at the Hotel Ejecutivo of Ariosto Andrade and I met my friends Carlos Castro Pat and Richard Harry and made a new friend in Ariosto, Next up is Portoviejo..a place we could live…

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