Jumping off the bus and into the throng of people in the Guayaquil bus station, we immediately started looking for our friend’s parents, Jorge and Matilde. Somehow it turned out to be one of those things where you immediately recognize one another by instinct. Either that or they can point out a couple gringos pretty easily. I bet it was the latter. Dana and I followed them to the car…. only they didn’t have a car. They had a TRUCK. A serious, rally edition Land Rover Defender 110. These vehicles make a Hummer H2 look like a toy truck. Needless to say, their choice of vehicles excited me greatly. Their house was in a really nice part of town, and the neighborhood reminded us of being in Florida again. Jorge said he already had a full day planned for us the next day, and that sounded great to Dana and I.
We took off the next morning to Montanitas, a little beach town off the coast of Ecuador and only about 90 minutes from Guayaquil. The first stop was to get an early lunch, and we tried the Ecuadorean version of ceviche. At this point I think I had ceviche for about 9 of the last 10 days, and I’m well on my way to becoming a full-fledged ceviche connoisseur.
After lunch, it was time to hit the beach. it was pretty busy, but not overcrowded. Jorge is pretty much the Ecuadorean version of Superman. He surfs, scuba dives, free dives (a type of diving where you simply hold your breath), and rock climbing. Today he immediately got in the water to do some surfing. We hung out and had freshly made caipirinhas and mojitos on the beach. Dana and I could get used to the laid back beach lifestyle here Ecuador very easily.
After watching the sunset, we stayed with some of their friends who owned a ranch nearby. The place was off the beaten path and very unique. In fact, they had one of the most interesting pets we have seen on the trip: a miniature pony named Flachi. Flachi is allowed free reign of the property, including inside of the house. We saw him walk through the house and eat some fruit off the counter, which was hilarious.
The next day we started to make our way back to Guayaquil but not before one more seafood-centric lunch. I got to experience Ecuadorean seafood cazuela, something that could be classified as a seafood casserole. We would like to take this opportunity to once again highlight the tremendous hospitality shown to us by the Marcets. They treated us like we were their own kids visiting for a weekend. Our experience throughout South America has no doubt been highlighted by the unparalleled welcoming receptions we have received, and the Marcets were no different.