We made it! After leaving Brookings on Tuesday am, driving to Minneapolis (thanks Mom and Dad!), flying to New York, flying to Panama, flying to Guayaquil, Ecuador, taking a taxi to a bus station, a bus to the coast and then another taxi to our hotel in Salinas, we arrived after 30 plus hours of traveling! The only hiccup we ran into was that the airline we flew from JFK to Ecuador wouldn’t issue our tickets unless we had proof of return or onward travel (something that immigration in Ecuador requires, although they didn’t actually ask us about it in Ecuador…) so we spent a frantic 20 minutes purchasing bus tickets from Ecuador to Peru on my phone to “prove that we were leaving within 90 days”. Luckily we got a refund on our bus tickets a few days later 🙂
Our first order of business once we got to Salinas was to explore a little so we walked along the Malecon, which is a road that runs right along the ocean
and then popped into a small shop for some ceviche and beer! We shared some fish and octopus ceviche, which is fish “cooked” in citrus juices. It seems simple enough to make, so I might have a cooking adventure later this week to try my hand at it.
We spent our few days in Salinas just relaxing either at our hotel (with the owners’ dog Princessa), on the beach, or at a bar watching the World Cup. Friday we camped out under an umbrella for most of the day and enjoyed this view.
Yesterday we left Salinas and took a bus to Guayaquil and then on to Cuenca.
The buses we were on were pretty standard South American for going between cities – coach style buses with the obligatory US action movie playing dubbed in Spanish. Both buses yesterday played Paul Walker movies (RIP). The bus to Cuenca didn’t have AC, which was pretty uncomfortable at first, but was fine as we drove into the Andes. There was a man carrying a live chicken on his lap for the 4 hour ride though which I was really excited about.
We had some crazy elevation changes as we drove from Guayaquil, which is pretty much at sea level, through the Andes to Cuenca. Cuenca is about 8,300 feet above sea level but on the drive, we got up to over 13,000 feet. The scenery was gorgeous up in the Andes.
So now we are in Cuenca, where we have an apartment for the next month. The first impression we got yesterday was awesome, so we’re excited to start exploring!