Posted by: tim ellis | February 5, 2009

Ecuador – Sunday 20th July 2008

The lights are working again this morning.

The early part of the morning is spent trying to find out what will happen tomorrow. My itinerary says I will be taken to Guayaquil to fly to Quito, but doesn’t say what flight, or who has the ticket. Janice and Doris (the Mantaraya Manager) can’t understand why I need to go to Guayaquil rather than Manta, which is much closer… I think the original Itinerary I was given, did go via Manta, but I was told that this had to change a couple of weeks before I left. They have called Metropolitan Travel, and are waiting for a response when it is time for us to leave.

Joining Alan and I today are Gary and his son Ryan, from Calgary, Canada. Our destination this morning is the archaeological site of Agua Blanca. This is a little way in-land, and has another small museum, although this one is labelled in both English and Spanish. We follow the museum with a walk through the site, observing fauna (both wild and domestic) and flora, the foundations of some of the old ceremonial hut, and a sulphurous pool, whose mud is supposed to be beneficial to the skin and a remedy for sunburn.

We return to Mantaraya for lunch, and Janice has the details for me. I leave at 8:00 and fly at 13:00. They also have the booking reference for me so I can collect my ticket from the Aerogal desk. She’s going to Manta this afternoon with Tom and Nancy and offers to try and change my flight to one that leaves Manta at 8. That would mean leaving here at 5am and spending 5 or 6 hours in Quito before I could check in. It’s a nice thought but I think my journey will be long enough without that early start, so I decline.

Los Frailes

After lunch we depart for the beach at Los Frailes. It is a large sandy beach and quite unspoiled. (It is also protected as it is part of the National Park, so you have to pay an entrance fee…) We hike up the beach and climb up the hill to an observation point, where we can look down on the black vultures and pelicans flying below us. Nancy and Tom say they saw whales this morning, but they’ve obviously moved on. We return too the beach, where Gary and Ryan decide to swim, while I decide to go and sit in the shade. (It is the first sunny afternoon we’ve had at Machalilla) and take some pictures of the crabs. They don’t swim for long, though, as they both get stung by jellyfish – I am glad I didn’t join them.

Crab, emerging from it's burrow

I hadn’t mentioned before, but we were in two cars today, and for some reason I get one to myself. We have just left the beach car park, making our way back up to the main road, when the driver suddenly pulls over, gets out and wanders round kicking all the tyres – they all make a reassuring “boing” sound, so we resume our journey, but it means we are some way behind the others – they were just beginning to think we’d got lost!

Then off to my room to try and pack everything I can to allow for a rapid getaway in the morning – held up only by a problem with the shower. Doris had told me to turn the hot water full on first, then the cold, but to be careful as the hot could be too hot and burn, but needed to be full on for the pressure. The first problem was that neither tap was labelled, but still I had managed so far. Tonight, however, even with both taps full on there’s very little pressure, or warmth, followed rapidly by no water at all. Patience is a virtue though, and after waiting a while, normal service is resumed.  

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