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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back in Bahia

Just to let everyone know that we are back in Bahia after a quick trip down to Peru to spend a few nights and then return to Ecuador to get another 90 day stamp in our passports. Since we were really only there to get the Ecuadorian visa "renewal" we decided to stay put in Tumbes. Our room was mosquito free and had about 10 cable channels in English so we watched a lot of CSI episodes and a few movies. The plaza in Tumbes was very pleasant and they had two pedestrian streets where we could do a little walking. The raised Malecon seemed to be an outdoor urinal so we only walked a small portion of it on our way to the bus station to buy tickets for our Friday morning departure to Guayaquil.

After watching about an hour of the Olympics opening ceremonies (spectacular!) in the bus terminal we caught the first CIFA bus out of Tumbes at 8 AM (actual departure time was 8:30, which is normal). We forgot to ask if it was "directo," and it seemed not to be since it was picking up school kids and almost anyone else alongside the road. There were absolutely no issues with crossing back into Ecuador. Coincidentally Friday was the day we would have gone to Manta anyway to renewal our original visas had the government not decided to revoke the renewal process. We also were never asked by either Peru or Ecuador for our international vaccination booklets or specifically for proof of the yellow fever vaccine.

We arrived in Guayaquil at 3 PM and bought tickets on Reina del Camino for the 4:40 departure to Bahia. Seeing that once again Reina was the only bus line searching passengers boarding the bus (we were also video taped similar to our Oaxaca trip), I made a last minute decision to check my backpack rather than go through the hassle of unlocking it for security. Wouldn't you know, after concluding that we were never going to see a bus with windows that didn't open (i.e., with Mexican style, freezing cold air conditioning) I left my wool shawl in my backpack, and this ended up being the first time that I could have used it. This was the nicest bus we've ridden here so far. We couldn't open the windows, there were two TV monitors, and they ran a continuous loop of Jet Li movies (all dubbed in Spanish of course). The seats reclined so far back that you couldn't get out of your seat if the person in front of you was fully reclined. This also meant that my knees were poking into a young man's back and I could have just leaned my neck over to kiss the top of his head. I think my knees finally got the message across and he soon moved to another seat row.

We arrived back in Bahia shortly after 10 PM and had arranged to have our dinghy (without the outboard on it) left at the dinghy dock. We are anchored so close to PA at the moment that it was a short row to Nakia where Ziggy was waiting for us. Once again it is so good to be home. The more we travel the more I appreciate Bahia. It is the perfect size for us. It has a small town feel, but it has everything we need. The almuerzos at Hugos are better than any we've had traveling, Chifa Lau has the best Chinese food, Donatello has great pizza, and Muelle Uno is perfect for a steak dinner splurge now and then. The mercado has good fruits and veggies and Yanina is a good small tienda with everything else. The bathrooms and showers at PA are first rate, and our bed on Nakia is our favorite place to lay our heads. John is done visiting big cities so we have no further travel plans at the moment and will be content just to stay close to home and work on boat projects for the time being.

Linda and John