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After 28 hours in Guayaquil — Ecuador’s largest city — I feel qualified to sell it to you. Here, then, is a hastily-researched list of my top 28 reasons to visit this awesome, manic place:

Behold the giant coffee cup on top of Nescafe HQ:

Report corruption with handy-dandy boxes:

Explore awesome colonial architecture:

Need change? Go to one of the many change machines. On the street. (Because almost no storekeeper wants to break a $20 or a $10 if they can help it.):

Take the 90-minute double-decker bus tour and you can have the top half to yourself:

Check out creepy baby pictures on store signs:

(Actually, that’s the same picture as on one of the more popular bottled water brands, from whence I’m sure the store got the pic. Not sure if that’s better or worse.)

Become entranced by cool murals on the overpass struts:

Buy a cell phone charger for your car while waiting in traffic:

Study at the Wall Street School of English:

Shake your fist at ignorance with the rest of the Guayaquil University leadership:

Buy toys from Barney:

Take a nap on your dad:

Wait for your mom to pick you up from ballet:

Dance outside Burger King:

Can’t decide between Bingo and Derby? THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM.

Play checkers when the hat business is slow:

Hang out with land iguanas. In the park. You can even feed them:

Get really excited when you think you see a WAFFLE HOUSE but it turns out that it’s not a WAFFLE HOUSE but actually just a clothing store that uses the same black-on-yellow lettering, but that’s OK, I mean, what would a WAFFLE HOUSE be doing in Guayaquil anyway? (Though if there are people out there who are planning to open a WAFFLE HOUSE in Guayaquil please don’t take this to mean that it would be a bad idea. It would be a great idea. I hope you pursue your dream. But if you do it just watch out for people being disappointed when they think they see their favorite clothing store and it actually turns out to be just the best waffles in the world.)

Take a bus:

Visit the contemporary art museum and get to be the only one there:



Discover that not everyone in the world associates “Avenue of the Americas” with a failed renaming of the reputationally-challenged 6th Avenue in NYC, when in fact in some places “Avenue of the Americas” is the informal moniker. Check out that reversal — 2 points:

Visit Plaza Pilsner:

Gawk at weird pirate statues:

Have fun with said pirate statues:


Climb 444 steps to the top of a lighthouse on top of the main hill for an awesome view of the city:

And reason #28?

The city is a lot like New York, bursting with energy and life. If you like the full range of humanity that comes with a huge metropolis, from the businesspeople and high-culture to the street vendors and students, Guayaquil will impress.

4 COMMENTS
Jason
June 4, 2009
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Oh, man. The series with the pirate statues is priceless. Thanks a BIG long laugh.

Aunt Susan
June 4, 2009
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How can I return the favor? Let’s see, in two weeks I plan to visit St. Augustine, FL, and will see one of the oldest towns in North America. I will see if I can get pictures for you, you know, all the kind of things that catch your creative eye – a Waffle House, ( maybe I can find the real thing if I stay sharp), some bridge struts, maybe a hat stand, or a wig salesman on the highway doubling as a cell phone charger dispenser, perhaps not iguanas on top of a pile of lettuce, but hopefully if I wait long enough the top of the bus after everybody gets out? Or before they get on?

Love traveling with you!

Carla C
October 28, 2009
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That was one of the cooolest impressions i’ve ever known of someone who has visited this city… i hope you had fun.. =)

Carla C
October 28, 2009
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i noticed you didn’t post any photo of guayaquil at nite…. that would have beeen sooo great tooo. hopefully you’ll come a second time… it has amazing things that i bet you missed… take care.. =)

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