As I told you, I met this family from Guayaquil who also were going back with the same flight as me and offered to show me a little bit of their city this evening. The family also let me stay in their house in Guayaquil this night! I’m soo lucky!
Guayaquil is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador. I thought it was going to be a much smaller city, but it’s actually bigger then Quito! Still it’s not the capital..
I woke up this morning in San Cristóbal with this eye infection again, similar as the one I had in Isla Mujeres in Mexico… So I was crying all the time the daylight hurt… If I would have been alone I would never have been able to walk around alone finding all these places because I couldn’t use my lenses and neither my eyeglasses, I had to wear my sunglasses all the time.. haha. And also the time was to short in this city, only one evening, so I wouldn’t had the time get to know the city and find these places. It’s also quite unsafe to walk around in Guayaquil… I think it was meant for me to meet this wonderful family.
First, they fed me a good typical Ecuadorian meal at their home. Later we took the car downtown and visited the Iguana park, which is as you can hear, home to many land iguanas. It stroke me the difference of Galápagos, here both locals and tourists were touching the animals and even feeding them, even if there were signs saying that it was prohibited. In Galápagos, nobody would ever touch or feed them, everyone is very aware of the rules and the consequences. Anyhow.
After that we took a walk around the Malecón, the boardwalk close to the Guayas river. It’s really big and crowded! Also since it was Sunday and everything else is closed, people gather in el Malecon to take a walk.
A funny thing Patty told me, is that this area was really unsafe and ugly before. The old boardwalk from the 19th century had started to fall into the river itself and was an unsafe place with thieves, muggers, drug dealers etc…
But the ex-president of Ecuador, had the goal to create spaces that would encourage urban renewal.. but the government didn’t want to pay for it. So to make this possible, they created the Malecón 2000 Foundation, a private non-profit entity to raise money to build this boardwalk. This foundation consists of the most representative public and private businesses in the city and are the administrators of the park.
A beautiful idea! Now it’s one of the most visited and safest places in the city, with museums, restaurants, galleries, lagoons, parks for the kids, walk paths etc…
From the malecón we walked to the north towards Las Peñas, which is a neighbourhood on top of a hill. All the old houses have been restored and painted in different colours making it the artistic centre of the city. It is beautiful, the stairs are numbered, there are round 430 steps up to the viewpoint over the city, and on the sides of the steps there are restaurants, art galleries, shops, discos etc. Very cozy neighbourhood.
I’ve told you before that there is a Barcelona team here too, right? Josue is a football fanatic and knows everything about them. They are based here in Guayaquil and were founded in 1925 by a Spanish immigrant who decided to name the club after his hometown Barcelona in Spain. A funny thing is that they have only played once the Spanish Barcelona football team, and it was in 1987 for the opening of the Ecuadorian Barcelonas football stadium… and guess who won?? The Ecuadorian Barcelona!!! Haha, yes, 2-1!
Even if I’m from Barcelona.. I’m a Real Madrid-fan if I have to choose.. I was sort of raised to hate barça… but now I can say that I’m a barcelona fan, but of the team of Ecuador! ;) Haha!
I’m amazed that they are both footballs teams with the name of Barcelona, and that their shield is almost exactly the same!! So weird!
At night, I was really tired in my eye and it hurt a lot. Patty lent me her room to stay in to rest my eyes in the dark for a while. They came with a wet towel and a bowl of ice water to help me bring down the swelling…. Oh, so lucky to be here and have someone taking care of me. Later, the father and mother of the family came into the room to say a prayer for me. So sweat. They kneeled and put their hands on my shoulders and on my eyed and prayed to the Lord to heal the eye for me and get me healthy to keep on traveling. It was so beautiful, and it actually did feel a lot better afterwords. I’m amazed.
I had a good nights sleep, and next day it was better. The mother had made breakfast for me (6 in the morning), and the father gave me a goodbye-gift (a dvd and something to read about faith). I’m the one who should give them gifts!! They even paid the taxi for me back to the airport.
I’m totally amazed about how great people can be. I’m speachless. I’ll never lose faith in people, that’s for sure! And I will definitively return this favour to someone else when I get the possibility to do it.