Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 1 of our trip to Galapogos

We spent the day making arrangements for our trip. We contracted with our friend Juan, the mototaxi driver, to take food and water out to the construction site each morning. This meant setting up a credit account at the grocery and at the water supply store. We asked Sanchez to watch Stormy and took her kennel, food and toys up to the property.
Once at the property, we took Stormy off the leash for the first time. She was so funny to watch as she enjoyed her freedom. We threw her toy down onto a lower level of ground and she flew over the edge (about 4 meters) without hesitation. She picked up the toy and dashed back up the 75 degree incline to us. Even the workers paused to watch her play.
We went into Mancora to catch the bus to Guayaquil at 9:30p.m. About two and a half hours into our trip, we stopped at the Peruvian border to go through customs and immigration. We were back on the bus for a short bit before we stopped to go through the Ecuadorian customs and immigration. The first place we stopped had two or three busloads of people ahead of us. Our driver decided he didn't want to wait that long, so loaded us back on the bus and off we went. Shortly thereafter, we stopped at another customs/immigration office. This station had only one worker and several buses of people. Once again, we loaded up and went on down the road. The next station was supposed to have four workers but, when we arrived at 1:30a.m. there were no workers. We were told the customs agents wouldn't return to work until 3:00a.m. We presume they were on a break. And yes, we stood in line until 4:00 a.m. when it was finally our turn at the window.
So finally on our way to Guayaquil and had a chance to sleep. Suddenly the lights in the bus came on and we had to unload for an inspection of luggage, the bus and our identification. We arrived in Guayaquil about 9:00 in the morning during rush hour traffic. It took us about an hour from the city limits to get to the bus terminal. Our flight to the Galapagos was at 9:40. Needless to say we missed the flight. This bus station was amazing! It had to have been at least 800 X 800 meters and four levels. The buses dropped us off on the first level. Once inside the terminal there were shops of all kinds and offices for the various bus companies where people were buying tickets and getting information. The second floor was much the same as the first. The departing passengers loaded on the third level where there were almost 200 loading areas.
We made some frantic calls to the gal that had arranged the trip to find out what we were to do.
It actually turned out the tour company had sent someone to the bus station to meet us, but we had headed to the airport just in case the flight had been delayed (not an unusual occurrence here). We did finally meet up and were told we had seats on the next days flight.
We spent the night in Guayaquil at a small hotel near their big mall. While at the mall we bought earplugs for me, hearing aid batteries for Doug and had a lovely dinner at Tony Roma's. We returned to the air conditioned room at the hotel and had a wonderful sleep.

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