Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Bunny visits Banos and our bus trip to Guayaquil, Ecudaor

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We wake on Easter Sunday morning in Banos.
Easter eggs are not readily sold in stores in Ecuador.
Also having a child always present with a parent makes it hard for me to buy any.
Sometimes multi-tasking as a single Mama on the road has challenges.
I have noticed my title has changed from "Mummy", and "Mum" to "Mama".
He tells me he wants to sound Spanish.  I think it is nice anyway 
- and he was getting a bit old for "Mummy".

So he is pretty thrilled to find them around our hotel room.
Especially as it seems the local kids staying there didn't find any.

So we pack up to leave - we have to travel all day so it is an early start.
Now I have been reading a book on angels.
So we pray angels can help us along the way.
We head out with our bags.
Along comes a man with a makeshift wagon - it is made from an old go-kart.
The owner of the hotel says he will take our bags.
She says to tip him 50 cents.

We get a few stares heading down the road.
'Better than my back' I think to myself.
We arrive at the bus station.
He offloads them with my help and I give him $2.
He disappears.
My son thinks he was our first angel of the day.
I buy the tickets.
Next thing men are racing across the road with our bags.
Before we know it we are on a bus and heading to Riobamba.

This is a bus filled with locals.  
We are the only Gringos on the bus.

We pass many towns.
It seems like markets are everywhere.

On the bus are two kids alone.
They are dirty and poor looking with big eyes.
Maybe 5 and 8 years old.
I give them food.
The little girl clutches it.
She won't eat it while I am looking.
As soon as I turn away, she gobbles it down!

The past few days we have continued handing out toiletries to the poor on the street.
My son gave some of his pocket money to a blind beggar.
I love his caring heart!

We get off the bus - or should I say we felt dumped at a corner in Riobamba, Ecuador.
This bus does not go to the station.
The man in front of us in the bus has been smiling at us all the time.
He tells us in limited Spanish we must get a taxi to where the buses go past.
We load the taxi and join him to the next area a few km away.
He pays!
He waits with us.
We buy local food off a vendor as I can't leave the bags.
It as so delicious and healthy for $1 a serve.
We wait about /2 hour and he tells us there is a problem.
We must get a taxi to the big bus depot.
Then we look - he disappears!
We wait and he never comes back.
We are convinced he is an angel.
So we get our own taxi to the bus depot.
We get three bum steers about where to get a bus.
We finally get told to go to the parking lot.
There is a mass of people. 
The first bus arrives and they flock on.
I miss out as I have no idea what we are to do.
I am told 15 more minutes and another one will come.
This time we are ready.
I run in (and get slightly pushed out the way).
I dump our non valuable packs on the first two seats whilst my son is outside with the bags.
I then send him in to sit tight with the bags.
I wait to load the luggage under the bus.
You have to get stickers put on your bags with numbers to collect later.
In the line I have made friends with a mute local lady.
She touches my hair and constantly smiles and sign languages to me.
I offer her mandarins and she is thankful.
She is like my silent companion.
The bus stops and I have to go to the banos.
It is a mad dash.
I have learnt the banos on the buses are not to be used - the driver does not want to clean them.
So everyone dashes off when it stops.
You need to be sure to tell someone or the bus is likely to leave without you.
My son has learn to say "Pare, Mama banos".
I think it was the first thing he learnt.

We wind through the hills.
The driver is a maniac.
He is hell-bent on passing a silver bus.
So for 5 hours we driver like crazed idiots through the hills.
I have one foot on a backpack on the ground. 
I clutch the open window with one hand - which is also around my sleeping son.
The other hand clutches a plastic bag in case I throw up.
I feel so very ill.

Gum trees line the hills.
But it is way different from Australia.
We are in the cloud forests - it is glorious.

We arrive at Guayaquil.
We have booked a fabulous hostel - Dreamkatcher.
It is not so cheap.
But it is so clean. The staff are friendly.
It has a little pool.
My son now has something to do.
It looks like a great place.
I hope it cools down.
We have no air in our private room and it is so very hot here.
I need a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow we will buy our international bus tickets.
Then we will explore the city.

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