A little bit of what you fancy does you good
Trip Start Jul 20, 2010
9Trip End Oct 27, 2010
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Balking at the $550 air fare to fly from Quito to Lima, I opted for the long distance bus, a snip at $80 all in. Arrangements as they were, this meant taking a 10 hour bus from Quito to Guayaquil (Ecuador´s largest city) and then a 24 hour bus down to Lima. Not relishing the prospect of sitting on a bus with 100 random strangers with greasy hair and questionable hygiene, i chose to break the trip up and stay over in Guayaquil for the day. All plans made for the Tuesday night, I was free to enjoy my last 36 hours in Quito.
Or so i thought.
The travel tummy curse had other ideas.
Being ill is rubbish at any time.
Being ill and alone sucks more, because you have nobody else to fetch and carry for you and reassure you that everything´s going to be ok.
Being ill and alone in a random hostel in Ecuador is worse, as you can´t even really afford the phone call to moan to your family that you feel rubbish, and you´re not in your own bed either.
Being ill and alone in a random hostel in Ecuador which you then have to check out of and spend 12 hours wandering around when all you want to do is to lay down on the bathroom floor, well that´s a whole new level of hell.
Unable to move very fast, and not daring to eat anything pretty much all day, I sat on a bus for 90 minutes to go to the equator. WHICH IS RUBBISH. You don´t travel all that way to the middle of the world to look at a block of granite with 0 0 0 written on it and some (interestingish but not equatorish) exhibition about ecuadorian indigenous costumes and customs! No, i wanted science, and experiments, and facts about what the equator is and why it mattered. What the people at the Mitad Del Mundo park dont tell you, is that all this is about 3km away in another park with an innocuous name and the correct latitude of 000 as measured by GPS. So i didnt get to find out which way the water flushes. But Ecuadorian loos all have the kind of water removal system that is less swirly and more like a magician pulling the table cloth from under the crockery. So, crampy, sweaty and hanging on for dear life, i took the 90 minute bus back to Quito and sat in the hostel kitchen area for about 6 hours just willing the time to pass until BUS TIME.
The bus itself was surprisingly good (free pop n crisps is always a good start, a bit like free food at a conference) and comfortable. Still feeling spaced out, and tired, I wasnt on great form, but then spent the next couple of hours sat next to a French-speaking Belgian girl called Virginie, who didnt speak much English. It´s very disorienting to wake up on a bus at 8am, in Ecuador, and have to start speaking French and then try to remember what the Spanish words are for 'I'm a tourist, get me out of here'. My brain was all over the place and so I went to my hotel (woo, not a hostel!), showered and then slept for 2 hours.
Guayaquil is actually quite a nice city, though not so geared up for foreign tourists. I had another slow afternoon on Cerro Santa Ana and just wandering up and down the Malecon (waterfront) and started to feel well enough to go on a short boat cruise. Come 6pm I was feeling much perkier, and decided to treat myself before the following day´s 24 hour bus marathon. So, with the theory that a little bit of what you fancy does you good, I had a double whammy of toffee ice cream and Shrek the Final Chapter at the Imax.
Which is a good thing, as the trip to Lima was epic, and I´m still getting over that...