16 October 2006


Guayaquil and Craziness in Machala

Before I jump back into my weekend story, let me just say that when John and I went to grab a bite to eat Saturday afternoon (I had some DELICIOUS mango juice - Aleja, I was thinking of you the whole time!), we went to a local fast food joint called Sal y Pimienta (Salt and Pepper). John ordered a taco mixto, which comes with beans, meat and other stuff. After a few bites, John spat out his mouthfull because he hit something really hard and it turned out to be a pebble. He told the waitress/chef and she apologized profusely and brought him another. I told him I would laugh if the next taco had a pebble as well, thinking that they would never make such a mistake twice in a row. Well they did. And instead of laughing, we paid for our juices and got the hell out of there! Gotta love this place.

Oh, and one more thing I forgot to add about the manicure-pedicure. Well, when Cecibel and Dayuma are short of cash during their holidays, they play the roles of transvestite hookers. So it was probably a mistake when Melissa and I left it up to them to decide the color and design of our nails...I asked for something simple in light pink and got frosting-colored pink nails with white tips and flowers. Melissa, however, totally left it up to Cecibel and got peach/orange nails (Cecibel: "it´s very natural") with white and gold tips, and white/purple/red flowers. Yes, we were a couple of classy broads!! I'd say that's the epitome of an Ecua-manicure.

Anyways, we left Cuenca the next day for Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador and the major one on the coast, to partake in the independence day(s) fesitivities. It was about a 4 hour bus ride, which ended up taking 5.5 hours because not 20min out of the city, we got a flat tire. With the heat and general air of crankiness that filled the bus, John, Melissa and I had no choice but to fall into fits of giggles and get stared at by all the irritated people. When we finally got to Guayaquil, we were greeted with a clean and beautiful city. Guayaquil used to be considered one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America and definitely the most dangerous in Ecuador. Since 2000, however, the local and national governments have been making a serious effort to clean up the place to make it suitable to live in and to attract tourists. They've done a really good job (the police on every corner with sub-uzzis and tommy-guns kinda make people not want to commit crimes...) and now it's no longer on the "dangerous cities" list. Anyways, that evening most of us had the opportunity to meet Jorge´s mom (again, Jorge is the university student who lives with the same family as I did in Quito, and now a good friend)who is the most spunky, full of life mom I've ever met. She took 12 of us gringos out 80s dancing and salsa dancing until 4am! It was a blast, although the next day, when Emma (remember? The British girl who also lived with the same family in Quito) and I were supposed to meet her for lunch, she didn't show up until an hour later. Actually, we should've known not to show up on time because Ecua-time runs on a totally different clock. This woman, Shirlenne, is great, but she has absolutely no concept of time!! We had lunch at 4pm (it was supposed to be at 1) and despite the fact that both Emma and I had buses to catch that evening, she wanted to take us on hours-long tours around the city and beyond. We had to say no, though with all the beating-around-the-bush that is customary, it took us about 3 hours to convince her we actually had to go. Nevertheless, we both got back to our respective places on time to start teaching.

Elections: happened yesterday and of course there were problems. Interestingly enough, from Friday night to Sunday night the whole country is dry. Anybody who gets caught drinking is automatically sent to jail. Apparently, the electoral council doesn't want anybody to vote under the influence or be hungover while voting, so they make drinking illegal. Of course, some voting stations didn't even have the right materials but who cares about that, as long as everybody's sober. So nobody won with a majority so there are going to be run-off elections on November 26th (I believe) and it's between Noboa (the drugged out guy) and Correa! Nobody thought Noboa would make it to the final round. It's kind of like the time these people up north had elections an decided to elect the not-so-bright monkey guy instead of the really well-educated guy, partly because the people were intimidated by his intelligence and wanted someone more like them...but moving on...

You MUST come to Machala, if only to watch the traffic lights!! I finally understand why there are so many car accidents. The traffic lights here are totally schizophrenic. It's green. Then it's supposed to turn yellow, but instead of just being yellow, the green light refuses to turn off so it's both yellow and green at the same time. Then the green light gives up and turns off. So it's just yellow for a sec, before it's supposed to turn red, but the green light feels left so it turns back on again (with the yellow light) and the red light turns on so it's a party! And finally, both the yellow and green turn off to let the red light do its job. IT'S CRAZY. Each traffic light has its own pattern and combination, so it's no wonder people get confused...it makes for some great entertainment while you're waiting for a cab to show up tho. Gotta love this place!

Anyways, that's all for now. I had a story to share, but I forgot it at home so it'll just have to wait until next time.

way to be having the best time ever!!!!! (a.l.e.j.a.n.d.r.a.)
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Hey,nice blog!!! I found a place where you can make an extra $800 or more a month. I do it part time and make a lot more than that. It is definitely worth a visit! You can do it in your spare time and make good cash. Make Extra Cash
i'f from ecuador... and its really funny what u wrote down here... u gotta visit guayaquil again.. it's amazing! but MAKE SURE that we are no longer on ELECTIONS so that u can enjoy all the beauty of the city!
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