Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Iguanas Anyone?

Map picture

Early yesterday morning the ship completed its long overnight journey upriver to reach the inland city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. This was to be a “turn around day” which is when one cruise comes to an end, and another cruise starts. Our first cruise was almost at full capacity with 115 passengers. There is a group of approximately 24 who are staying on for the next one, and the current number of guests are 90. So as you may imagine, a turnaround day is a very busy time onboard any ship.

For those of us who were “in transit,” Silversea offered a 3 hour morning tour of the city. I was amazed at the size of Guayaquil. It is the largest city in Ecuador, with around 3.7 million people in the greater metropolitan area. Our drive to the main thoroughfare in the city called “9 Ave Octubre,” took a good 30 minutes as we threaded our way through the suburban area traffic. Here we saw the typical small shops which sold everything and offered any type of service from a dentist to a bicycle repair. Most buildings were one story with an occasional two story structure. When we reached the main road of the city, however, the scenery changed dramatically. We found ourselves surrounded by modern shopping malls and large skyscrapers. While stopped at a traffic light, I looked ahead and it seemed that the boulevard stretched on forever in a never ending stream of traffic lights. At that point, I could see roughly 40 traffic lights in a row before they faded into the distance. Clearly, this city is very much one in transition from the old to the modern, and all in all, it was very impressive.

At first, I was afraid that this would be a “spam in a can tour,” in which we rode around, stopping briefly to see some sights, but never actually getting off the bus. That turned out not to be the case, but in truth, I don’t know where the traffic would have allowed us a place to park anyway. We finally reached Bolivar Park, where we could disembark the motor coach, and head out for about a mile walk. First, however we all had to visit the impressive Cathedral which dominates the Park. Then within the park itself, we had to be careful where we walked! Why? Iguanas! Not little lizard type iguanas, but BIG Galapagos type iguanas. They were everywhere. On the walkways, on the benches, up in the trees – just everywhere! It was, to say the least, an unusual sight.

From the park, we walked past the City Plaza, City Hall, and finally to the Guayaquil river. There we headed north along the beautiful river walk, until Lisa finally said that her hips would go no longer. I was not good for much more, truth be told, and so we sat on a big bench together under a massive Ecuadorian flag, and waited for our bus to return for us getting in some good people watching.

And that, my friends, was our day in a nutshell! I usually try to find some amusing story to tell, but alas, nothing unusual happened, and so, we returned to our new home, the Silver Explorer, ready for the coming adventures.


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