Guayaquil

April 16, 2014
Our first and last night in Ecuador was spent in Guayaquil, the biggest and most populous city. It's also hot and muggy year round, we visited at the tail end of the hottest months (January-April). Traffic is heavy and the streets are congested. The only rules of the road are you fit where you fit and every man for himself. Shops and majority of restaurants closed down by 8pm and downtown became a ghost town. We walked the Malecon and saw Las Penas from a distance. Both have the largest draw of tourists.

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We stayed at Hotel City Plaza first. The hotel was nice, our room was comfortable and we liked that there was a balcony. Frank had hopes of smoking a cigar and drinking a couple beers, but no cigars could be found. Even cigarettes were hard to come by, I gotta say that the lack of smokers was nice, though. We wandered down to the Malecon in search of food, but only fast food like KFC was found. Everything else was closed except a few ice cream shops. We ended up having dinner at our hotel. Frank had a shrimp dish and I had seabass ceviche. Both were very good. I wish I had taken photos, because it was the best shrimp and ceviche on the whole trip.

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There are two beers in Ecuador, Club and Pilsener. We took an immediate liking to Pilsener. It's light, but full bodied and refreshing.

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We left the next morning after breakfast, we wanted an early start to Cuenca. A breakfast buffet was provided. There was a nice selection of meats, cheeses, pastries and two warm dishes: eggs and potatoes with peppers.

I told Frank when we returned to Guayaquil I wanted to go to Santa Ana hill and see the Las Penas neighborhood. I also, wanted to visit the market that Tony Bourdain went to on No Reservations. But once we felt the bed at Hotel Palace, we agreed to never leave. We had to pry ourselves out of bed just to eat. After two weeks traveling the country, we were beat. We were also sunburnt and mosquito bitten. I suspected we'd want a nice place to rest our weary bodies and I was right. Money well spent. The bed and pillows were fit for royalty; they were so soft.

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Once settled, we set out for lunch at Frutabar, but after some searching we were unable to locate it. You'll learn what a theme this was... We wandered around in search of food and found ourselves in front of the newly opened Wendy's (the first in Ecuador) we figured, why not? We both were tired of rice and plantains so a burger sounded pretty good. I hate Wendy's at home, but in Guayaquil. Service was super friendly and the food was fresh. Best Wendy's... um, ever! We're getting slop in the states. The Diet Coke from their fountains was also the best ever. I wish I could've bottled it and brought it home.

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We were thoroughly impressed. So much so, we went back for dinner. We did get empanadas for snacks, we found some great ones for 60-cents each on Avenida de Octobre past the Bam-Bam shop (the ones at Bam-Bam we 80-cents and not very good). I also tried Pan de Yuca. It was very good, I wish I had bought more than one roll. It was warm from the oven and pure gooey goodness. Our last meal in Ecuador was breakfast. Hotel Palace has a nice spread of fresh fruit and juices, meats, cheese and pastries. They also will prepare pancakes and omelets fresh from the kitchen. Both were quite good. Breakfast was included at most of our hotels, and our hotels in Guayaquil had the best offerings.

I'm sure we'll find ourselves back in Guayaquil. At that time, we'll see the sights we missed and pig out on pan de yuca, fish ceviche and maybe even some Wendy's.

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