Happiness Is Knowing There Are
No More Ecuadorian Bus Rides...
April 6, 2007
When leaving Baños, I had every intention of arriving in Guayaquil at a somewhat reasonable hour so that I could put my head
against a pillow for at least six hours. I also just wanted the assurance that I would arrive early enough so that I didn’t have to
worry about missing my flight to the Galapagos. That would not be good. Not good at all.
But as the South American bus sagas go, things would deviate from the original plan…
It all started with my ride out of Baños to Ambato. When in the world did this become a two-hour bus ride? This was starting to
throw my plan off. Especially when I got to the Ambato bus station to find out that the next bus to Guayaquil was leaving in an hour
from then – at 9:15pm. They told me that this would put me in at 4:00am. Now the whole hotel thing was up in the air. I would just
wait to see how I felt once I arrived.
I was issued my bus ticket and I felt confident that I could at least get a few zzz’s during the ride.
Confidence is something that one should not have when booking a bus ticket in a city where you have no idea of bus companies. Do
you see where this is going???
Yes, I had a seat on the bus. But all of the people piled into the aisle of the bus didn’t. Oh, great. A not-quite-as-horrible-as-my-
Bolivian-bus-ride experience was in the making.
Keep in mind that this was an overnight bus ride. Most buses respect this and do what they can for a person to get a bit of shut-
eye. But not the folks at Flota Pelileo. I felt like I was on a Mexican Party Bus at home. There were literally colored lights shining in
the back of the bus, Ecuadorian music blaring and people yelling words out each and every time the bus stopped. Was this for
And true to form, two hours into the journey the bus stops. Of course the bus would get a flat tire. This kind of bus experience is
never complete without one. This at least surpassed the Bolivian experience since the bus workers had no problem with people
getting off the bus. Even as the rain poured down, I would gladly take that over being stuck sitting in that bus. I have to admit that
the thought of ‘Sh*t, what happens if this bus is incapable of even making it to Guayaquil’ crossed my mind. I figured I had about
five hours of leeway. That should be enough. At least I hoped…
It is completely surprising that I did find myself dozing off every now and then. Of course, I was only made aware of this as they
yelled stuff out every hour. This then awoke me and that was how I was aware that I managed a few minutes of sleep. As I said,
this was an hourly occurrence.
A nice guy I had met during the flat tire tapped me on my shoulder. We were in Guayaquil. It was 5am. I figured this was too late to
go to a hostal (I wasn’t sure if there would be anybody awake at this ungodly hour. So I hopped in a taxi to the airport. I went
directly to the bathroom – it was like my own little haven. I did the obvious like wash my face and brush my teeth. Then I took it a
step further and changed my clothes. Why stop there? I took some soap and water and started rinsing off my arms, etc. I pulled out
my towel. Then I pulled out my razor and started shaving my legs. Who knew so much ‘freshening up’ could be done in the
Guayaquil airport? It is actually sad to admit that shaving my legs here was much easier than in some of the bathrooms-consisting-
of-only-cold-water in many of the hostals I have been in.
Now I am clean and ready to start my day. In just a few minutes I get to check-in. In the meantime I am watching ESPN. I have
learned that the SF Giants won their game yesterday and that the Master’s is going on right now. Fascinating stuff, I know.
And it is off to the Galapagos I go…