After my stop in Montreal, I went on to Toronto and Sault-Sainte Marie in Ontario to visit business contacts, and then flew with American Airlines through Miami to Guatemala City. Unfortunately, on my arrival in Guatemala
, only one of my two suitcases arrived with me. So I dutifully filed a missing baggage report and hoped it would turn up the next day before I had to travel on to Ecuador
Unhappily, this was not the case, so at the Guatemala City airport on my way to Guayaquil through Panama City, I checked with the American Airlines desk again to see if they had a clue where it might be and when it might rejoin me. The AA representative told me that according to the records on her computer it had traveled to Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Lucky it, I thought. It's enjoying a separate vacation on its own! The agent promised me she would try her best to make sure it was sent on to Guayaquil after it had returned to Miami, and I felt the chances were good since I had three whole days (and nights) in Guayaquil which should be plenty of time for my suitcase to travel from Brazil. Fortunately, I had packed with some forethought this trip, and had divided my clothing between the two bags and so had half my stuff with me and all my toiletry items, so I did not suffer too much the next three days.
My main reason for travelling to Guayaquil was to visit a construction show, which, frankly, was rather disappointing and viewable in a total of less than an hour. Yet I had booked into the hotel for three nights so what to do? I asked at the hotel desk if they could recommend a tour agency but they said everything was closed, as it was a holiday weekend for the Festival of Guayaquil. I decided to take the hotel's free shuttle to the airport thinking I might have better luck there, since, usually, airports have booths with tours for visitors. However, once again, as it was a holiday, I was not so lucky as there was only one agency of the about four or five that had booths at the airport that was actually open and I had to wait a long time for service. I finally talked to one of the girls at the desk and she phoned around to several tour agencies but they all said they were taking the day off. Finally the girl recommended a friend of hers who used to work at the agency but was now doing his own thing - it was in fact kismet because Daniel, her friend, was indeed free the whole weekend and was very willing to take me around to visit the highlights of his city.
First, he took me to visit the Historic Park
, which not only had a zoo of sorts with magnificent opportunities to photograph the flora and fauna of the region, but also an historic area with reconstructed buildings typical of the colonial period as well as traditional dancing and a theatrical production (Photos 1 to 33).
Next, we went to the Botanical Garden
a bit of a drive away, which, although the entry fee cost the same as the Historic Park ($3.00 per person), was disappointing regarding its contents. It did have a small orchid centre and butterflies (most of which seemed to have flown away) as well as a good hill for viewing the surrounding area, but that was about it. Plus we got sprayed by the sprinklers that were playing across the walking path! My camera was not happy with that (Photos 34 to 42)!
Then, having turned back toward the downtown area, we climbed up the 444 stairs of Santa Ana Hill
, to reach the small church and lighthouse at the top as well as to achieve good overall views of the City and the Las Peñas
neighbourhood. After returning to ground level again, we tried to visit the General Cemetery
but they did not allow cameras inside and as we had a lot of ground to cover in one day I decided to skip it (Photos 43 to 51).
It was overclouded for most of the day and we headed downtown for lunch at McDonald's, but first we stopped at Seminario Park
also know as Iguanas Park as these reptiles live here - in the trees and on the ground - as do some turtles. People feed the iguanas, but are not allowed to touch them (Photos 52 to 58). Then we had a brief stop at the Neo-Gothic Cathedral
with its marble and stained glass (Photo 59).
Our final stop was the Malecon
, (our short visits to another church and a museum did not inspire me to photograph anything). This is a 1/2 mile waterfront along the Guayaquil River and the place was fairly busy, but thankfully not as busy as the day before (Friday) which was the holiday. We had driven by it on the way to the trade show on Friday evening and it was packed solid with people. It is definitely popular with children and artists (Photos 60-62 and 64). Photo 63 is the Moorish Clock Tower
next to the Malecon which has a bit of a history.
Sunday, after visiting a furniture fair on the Malecon, Daniel drove me to the airport but he kindly acquiesced to my taking a couple of shots of him (photos 65 and 66) as I said I would recommend him on my site to anyone going to Guayaquil who needs a good, safe driver and an excellent tour guide in Spanish. Thanks again, Daniel! If you'd like to book Daniel for your next trip, just drop me an e-mail
and I'd be very happy to put you in touch with each other.