Johnny, the desk clerk at the Tangara Guest House, called a private taxi service to take us to the Terminal Terrestre Guayaquil. It’s modeled after the Albrook Mall in Panama City, which we visited on our Panama vacation a few years back. Albrook is much bigger, which is not to say Guayaquil’s is small. The bus depot/mall had three stories and was plenty big.
Buying a prepaid cell phone was the first order of the day.We chose Claro as our carrier, our other choice was MovieStar but I had heard from friends in Mexico that their service was less than stellar. I was in no way influenced by the fact that the Claro store was the first thing I saw upon entering the mall. The cell phone served as a time piece more often than as a communication device, but we still felt better having it. Many guidebooks advocate having your taxi driver see you text his cab number to someone. Not that we had anyone to text and I never did remember to do it. Luckily no one seemed to want to kidnap us.
Finding the correct bus line was more than a little confusing. The buses are located on a different floor from the ticket booths. The ticket booths lined a long seemingly endless hall. We wandered down the hall, never finding the correct line. Finally, as we were staring at a large billboard trying to decipher which bus line we wanted, an employee took pity on us and directed us down yet another hall to the correct window.
Paying the $3.30 (that’s about forty pesos in real money) each for the three hour bus ride made me a bit nervous about the quality of the bus. We were relieved to find ourselves on a comfortable modern bus complete with bathroom. Not quite up to ADO GEL standards but nothing to complain about, especially at 10% of the price.
Arriving in Salinas, we decided that the first order of business was food. Spotting a Cebichería just down the street we brushed off the “guides” who were offering to help us find a hotel and made straight for the restaurant. The ambiance was bleak, some cement tables, benches and photos of food. The word lobster caught Husband’s eye. He order the small lobster a la plancha at $15.00, they were out, so he upgraded to the medium size at $20. I ordered a more modest langostinos ajillo, a mere $8.00. While waiting for our food, we made jokes about blowing our weeks food budget on one meal since Ecuador is famous for it’s two and three dollar executive lunches. A huge plate of rice arrived, then another big plate overflowing with a lobster tail split in half. I know that my food arrived immediately after and it was good, but the memories of that lobster overshadow everything else.