We went for a walk this morning down to the “MegaMall” just west of our place. Enjoyed a relaxing cappuccino in a coffee shop and watched the people go by. It seemed quite a bit quieter than yesterday. As it turns out it is a National holiday today, our equivalent would be Labour Day. We got a lift to the airport from the lady we were renting from, Diana. We learned the Vice President of Ecuador is a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work making Ecuador a more handicap accessible nation. We had observed him yesterday at the changing of the guard and commented on his being in a wheelchair.
When we arrived at the airport we enjoyed more pleasant surprises. Admittedly it was probably quieter than normal due to the National holiday, but the people were still exceedingly helpful. As soon as we entered the terminal a lady from LAN Airlines approached us and directed us to the machines that dispense the boarding passes, and pointed out if you press the button on the screen in the bottom left corner you have your choice of 5 or 6 languages. I would suggest whoever is in charge of those machines in Canada hire the guy who does the programming for LAN, because it was quick, easy, and painless. We then headed toward security where another polite young man confirmed we did not have any luggage to check and directed us to the security check point. No line up and no hassle there either. They do the same checks you go through in Canada and the US but without all the added theatre that we are subjected to there. The departures lounge was clean and quiet. The flight was short but excellent. A clean aircraft with polite flight attendants, it was very refreshing.
We had a short cab ride from the airport to the hotel. A quick note on taxis. We have learned that fuel here is subsidized by the government which explains the cheap taxi fares. Normally the taxi meter starts at .35 cents and goes up by the penny. Sometimes you pay a flat rate, such as from the airport in Guayaquil. The city is divided into zones so just check the chart on the back of the cab seats to confirm which zone your hotel is in and the price assigned to it. For us it was a $5.00 cab ride.
The hotel we are staying in before our real estate tour is Marcelius Hostal. It is clean and basic, the staff are a bit uninterested though. After we checked in we went for a wander around the neighborhood and found a mall to check out. Guayaquil is certainly a more “modern” city. The mall was packed with people, mainly in their 20’s. It reminded me of Canadian malls at Christmas. We had an early dinner in a sports bar. The people watching was excellent.
Looking forward to the beginning of our tour tomorrow.