After the excursion of the Galapagos, it was time to leave Ecuador. My 4 weeks were up here and Peru now waited. My clothes were wet full of salt water or sun kissed sweat, so before making the short journey to North Peru, I laid over in Guayaquil and Montanita. Whilst I was spending time here in these places, in Guayaquil itself, I arranged for my laundry to be cleaned, just close to the hostel I was staying. My bus for Mancora, already booked, I was leaving Friday, on the same route as the guys I have been on and off backpacking with. As it came to Friday, the day of me leaving for Peru, I tried to get my laundry and arrange for it to be delivered to the hostel. I was in Montanita so all I could do was call. The laundry agent advised it was ready and they would deliver to the hostel. As i got back ready for my late evening journey, the hostel didn’t take my laundry. Mancora, only being 7 hours away from Guayaquil via bus, they agreed to send it to me the next day.
I was going to Mancora, a beach town, so singles and shorts were only what I needed anyway. Thankfully I had that with my limited luggage on my back. After 5 days of heavy partying and beach playing, including numerous emails, phones calls the hostel were just becoming more useless. Finally they got back to me saying they could send my clothes, however not to Mancora, and would need a bank transfer payment. Knowing that this wasn’t much use, first because I was in Mancora, second because transfers take even more day’s nevermind the delivery time, I had to take matters into my own hands.
I planned and arrange to do a mere 20 hours of there and back bus journey travel. This would be setting off at 8am getting to Guayaquil, picking uo my laundry, heading back on the 9pm, reaching Mancora for a second time at 3-4am. Not taking much more than a saddle pack with my passport, Phone and cash, I headed on my first vehicle of the day. A small cab mini bus taken me to nearby Tumbres, to catch another bus. The ticket lady, advised I’d be in Guayaquil for a cool 3pm, which was just about right. I got to the bus terminals station, at around 1030. I was then told by a very erratic ticket lady, I wouldn’t be leaving until 13:15, almost 3 hours from the time. I insisted to the driver and the lady that I go now or back to Mancora. There was no way I’d wait. Luckily I met a French couple who were backpackers like me, who translated the drivers suggestion. We weren’t far from the Ecuadorian border, I could get a lift there with him and cross manually and arrange for another bus there. It was really the only option I had that I would accept.
I arrived at the boarder of Ecuador, which was a bit crazy if I’m honest. The boarder sign, stating ECUADOR, was actually towering over a long street of shops and market, separated in the middle by road for vehicles. There was no mini booth for passport inspection, or official immigration office. We literally walked into Ecuador. Proving our assumptions, we took a taxi to the official immigration office 5-6km away. The taxi driver was Ecuadorian and charged in dollars. We got to the immigration office, stamped our passports and then went back into ‘Ecuador’ to arrange bus ASAP. We arranged a bus for about 30 minutes time, 7 dollars for a 5 hour ride. We sat down at a restaurant maybe 20 seconds away walk, with the bus garage small but tucked inside a building. We ate food and had to be there at 12:20. Like everywhere in South America, nothing goes on time anyway. Arriving at 12:18, only to see no bus and the ticket guy come running out explaining how the bus already left, and is waiting for us 10 minutes away. Strangely as we tried to digest the information, we hopped in a taxi, to head to the spot of where this bus was going. The taxi driver was loud and abrasive, young guy and a bit of a bullshitter. Anyway, what he was telling us, is that the place the bus had supposed to have been waiting, well, the bus wasn’t there. He suggested to head 20 minutes to another town, to arrange another bus or car. He gave us some prices and I by now was shocked but smiling on how some days go.
This is travelling, you have to accept this can happen. I smile because its that ridiculous you couldn’t make it up. A catalogue of catastrophes, and a story to tell.
Now arriving at a small bus terminal, 10 more dollars down, we explain the situation with a driving operator. He explains, after contacting the bus, that they had been there, and the taxi driver had taken us for his own ride, to profit from our pockets. Basically, getting ripped off so blatantly from a taxi driver. It felt new to me, in that moment, as I can not recall being ripped off so blatantly and unknowingly before. First time for everything I guess.
My luck began to change after that. Despite, still not even being in Ecuador, the bus came for us and picked us up. The bus driver explained in Spanish how the taxi driver was at fault, to which I nodded. After 4 hours of driving, I arrived in Guayaquil. My goodbyes and thanks to the French, I quickly purchased my return ticket to Mancora from Guayaquil bus station and headed to the hostel. One minor problem on the way, the taxi driver didn’t have his seat-belt on, and I was just taking mine off as I knew how close we were to the hostel. Seconds later, a police warden pulls us up and asks for I.D and begins to charge the driver. I knew where I was at this point, so I just got out and walked. Not looking back. My day had been enough already. Now my only thought was if this hostel, known as DreamKapture, would have voluntarily sent my clothes somewhere. Fortunately, they kept it for my collection.
I picked up my laundry, met up with a buddy for a burger and to watch a football game before boarding back on the 9pm to Mancora, arriving at 4am. 19 Hours later, door to door, I picked my laundry up..