Went for a nice walk along the malecon in Guayaquil today. The temperature was around 30 degrees and the crowds were very light.
It is a beautiful walkway and very clean and well maintained. It is nice to see families out enjoying their day off together.
We were with three of the people from our real estate tour and it was nice to be able to share thoughts of the City with others from North America. We enjoyed a couple of beer in an air conditioned food court and the took a taxi back to the Hotel Marcelius to pick up our luggage then off to the airport we went. When we were leaving the hotel we asked them to get a taxi for us. Just as we were walking outside a husband was dropping his wife off to work at the hotel and he ended up driving us to the airport for less than a taxi would have cost. It was not until we were loading up that I realized his infant child was sleeping in the front seat. The more disturbing part is once we started driving and braking I realized that the child was not secured in the bassinet. It is very interesting to observe the Ecuadorians attitude toward safety. Nearly all the drivers wear seat belts, nearly all motorcyclists wear helmets and they all wear reflective vests with their license plate numbers on the vests.
Bicyclists nearly all wear helmets. However it is not unusual to see a family of three on a motorcycle with the child sandwiched between mom and dad, sometimes all three even have helmets on, but not very often. You’ll see a pick up truck with one to ten passengers in the back box.
You realize it is just the way it is when you see the Police doing the same thing. It is just a reality of what is available to get the job done. Having said that I have yet to see individuals or groups of individuals staggering around the streets drunk, even on the weekends in the party districts. And in talking to a couple of Ecuadorians, even drug use in the country is not much of a problem. The one gentleman in his late 20’s was telling me that even the mild use of pot is frowned on by most younger Ecuadorians. It is fascinating to see the different priorities. I have to admit from my brief view so far they have it much more figured out than most Canadians and Americans.
The flights from Guayaquil to Quito and then on to Cuenca were excellent again. I cannot emphasize enough the great proficiency with which LAN Airlines operates. It was a joy to fly with them. Once in Cuenca a super friendly taxi driver gave us a lift to our new hotel, Casa Ordonez, it is beautiful. A family converted their home into a hotel and it is cool. There is no sneaking around the building because the floors squeak so much but the woodwork is great and the ambience is wonderful.
When asked for a recommendation for dinner the young gentleman at the front desk suggested a restaurant called Goda, just around the corner. When we first saw this place and walked in the front door all I could think of is this is going to cost a fortune. In any place with staff and decor like this at home you would be looking at basic entrees starting at $28.00. The servers were excellent and with a couple of drinks, two entrees and service charge and tax we were all in for $37.00.
We went for a sort walk after dinner and it was gorgeous. The weather was pleasant and comfortable. There were a group of soldiers doing a vehicle check but there was nothing threatening about it. So far a fantastic impression of Cuenca.