Advice for the Extranjero in Ecuador: Bus Travel

So, I’ve just had my first vacation during the countrywide feriado break back in November. Since all of Ecuador descended on our beautiful little beach village for their public holiday, we decided to run for the hills. In other words, we took the long journey up into the Sierras to the village of Baños. After traveling about 7 hours in 2 taxis and 3 different buses, I decided it’s high time to write a “How to Take a Bus in Ecuador” blog.

Petty Crime

In the cities, the biggest type of crime problem is petty theft. Quito, the city transit buses are very very crowded, which means people like to lift things out of your purse or backpack. Hold your bags close and keep your eyes open. When that pretty girl is batting her eyelashes at you, yeah she might be into you, or she might be getting your attention while her buddy is grabbing your wallet. Continue reading

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Yarn

People are complaining about the weather. The sun spends the day tucked away behind a smoky gray sky. Somedays we are just spritzed with a cool spray of mist coming down throughout the day. The sky is too lazy to rain, and instead gives us one long continuous sneeze. The tourists are grumpy. I love it. They weren’t here a few months ago. The air used to be heavy with moisture; the sun bore down on the back of your neck like a damp towel that’s been thrown in the microwave before being draped over your shoulders. Continue reading

Lonely Rocks

Ivonne and I are walking to the street to catch a bus north. My bag is ready. Towel, sarong, classwork, camera, War and Peace, wallet, copy of my passport. My favorite red and orange bikini is peeking out from under a slouchy white tank. Ivonne is in her usual cool surfer girl look. She is carrying a beautiful new surfboard which, while it is actully very small, is dwarfing her tiny 4’ something frame. Short shorts over muscular brown legs, a over-sized tee shirt tumbling over her shoulders revealing her green and blue Reef, and her long shiny black hair twisted around and around into a bun on the top of her head, like a tiny lean little sumo wrestler. We look bad-ass. Continue reading

The Terminal Terrestre

Armed with my new knowledge of the bus “system”, for lack of a better word, I hopped on a local and found my way to the monstrosity of a bus terminal to catch an out-of-town bus to Manglaralto. The Terminal Terrestre is an enormous three story bus terminal the size of a mid range airport and with the feel of a crappy shopping mall. Continue reading