MONTANITA TO BELLENITA
Distance cycled: 55km
After having a night on my own in Montanita I cycled further
down the coast of Ecuador to the beautiful beach town of
But there was one small problem, how would the guys find the
hostal I was staying in when they arrived in town? Answer... Put my
Indiana June shirt on a chair outside. Eddy's hostal had a pool and
air conditioning for $12 a person, including breakfast.
Ecuador uses the US dollar, but NOBODY has any change. You
can't buy anything with a $20 note that doesn't cost at least
Generally they will take the big note and tell you to come back
for change later, which if you're me, you inevitably forget to
During dinner I was perplexed by all the plastic bags I saw,
filled with water and hanging by a string. The restaurant owner
explained it is to freak the flies out. When they get close they
see their giant warped reflection and fly the other way.
Interesting concept, I think if we left Jose there the flies would
definitely pack their fly-bags and leave town.
Here's a team photo before we ate ridiculous volumes of seafood.
From the left: Enriquie, me, George, Lee, Jose, Gunther, Dick,
Robert, Phil and Charlie, plus a little friend we met.
This is the view from the boardwalk restaurant, as the sun
neared the horizon everything was bathed in a beautiful golden
BELLENITA TO GUAYAQUIL
Distance cycled: 135km
Water bottle refills: 8
Times I got saturated and dried off again:
When we reached Ballenita it was a gorgeous day but by the next
morning it was wet and overcast. We were headed for the coast
to Playas but the road deteriorated and the rain was hammering us,
so the group decided to plough on to Guayaquil, an extra 55km on
top of the 80 we had planned.
I was happy to stick with the original plan but democracy rules
when you're travelling with 10 cycle-crazy old men.
I spotted this Daffy garbage can and had to stop for a photo. My
friend Pat has a great blog called Bin there, seen
The idea is that people post photos of rubbish bins (garbage
cans) from all over the world. So this one's for you Pat. Another
Ecuador trash fact is that the garbage trucks play music just like
the ice cream trucks do in New Zealand. Weird.
When the sun comes out you really roast so we generally stop for
a refreshment break every 20km or so. There will often be a small
household selling water and cola on the side of the road, the kids
here were so cute I had to get a pic. Indigenous people are quite
short in Ecuador, with many of them less than 5 feet tall so I'm a
bit of a giant as you can see from this photo - the guy in the
lavender shirt is on his tippy-toes!
MAN DOWN... 135km after setting out, we arrive at our hotel and
George is flat out on the cool tiles in seconds. (Check out his
permanent bicycle grease mark tattoo, very cool.)
Guayaquil: REST DAY
Distance cycled: 0km
Number of steps climbed to old town: 444
Beers consumed: 8
Pastries consumed: 4
I dragged my tired legs and body out of the hotel room, it had
been raining all morning and it would have been easy to lay in bed
and watch b-grade Spanish movies all day. But I was in Guayaquil,
Ecuador's largest city and there was exploring to be done. I was
rewarded with the best custard pastry I've had in my life, hands
down, no contest, with chewy sticky treacle dripped over it. Next
stop was Bolivar Plaza where there were turtles cruising around in
the pond, this one popped up to say hello.
There were dozens of Iguanas chilling out in the trees, laying
there lifeless, hoping for the sun to come out to recharge their
batteries. Next I walked along the impressive Malecon tropical
gardens and boardwalk and found a little café. I was taken with the
ducks so started to draw them, they moved a lot but it was fun
trying to capture their frenetic search for food from snap-happy
A guy sitting opposite me kept checking me out and when we
finished our drinks we both went over to pond. I didn't have a 25c
coin to buy fish food so Adam, the Polish seaman came to the
rescue. He offered to take me for a walk up to Las Penas, 444 steps
up to a lookout with a beautiful view of Guayaquil and the paintbox
cloured houses perched on the hill.
It was hot and sticky so we stopped for cold beer halfway down
and Adam bought me a rose from a young girl who was quite the
Like a Cinderella fairytale he had to be back onboard his ship
by midnight and instead of losing a dainty glass slipper, I almost
lost a plastic croc, it was so slippery in the rain.
Later that night I met up with Santiago, a local couchsurfer and
his gang. We ate microwaved Empanadas and watched the twinkling
lights of the big city. There's so much to explore here and the
people are really friendly, I definitely recommend a visit if
you're in Ecuador.
GUAYAQUIL TO NARANJAL
Distance cycled: 90km
ROAD KILL COUNTER:
Frogs and toads: 32
In Ireland when you have a deadly day,
it is considered to be brilliant, in Ecuador it means you have had
to smell and witness a lot of road kill as the tally above
indicates. I mean, how often to do you see dead horses? The dead
snakes varied from approximately 60cm long up to big whoppers,
which left me wondering if they could bite me while pedalling from
their hiding place in the sugar cane fields.
One theory about the dead horses is that they drowned, as you
can see a lot of the flat tableland is flooded at the moment.
Occasionally we'd see someone in a canoe trying to get to their
The long flat road was a joy but the mountains kept getting
closer and closer.
Another 90km cycled in 35 degree heat. If sweating was an
olympic sport, I would have been awarded a gold medal today.
Gunther kept putting things in his mouth that he shouldn't
today. First it was the drying cocoa beans on the road and then it
was Jose's candles on his birthday cake that he mistook for