So we step out of the airport terminal at Guayaquil. Hmmmm, where is the sister we are staying with, oh there she is, holding up “Despertad” in Spanish. We are relieved to see her smiling face, after 12 hours of travel we are frazzled. We did get two meals on the plane, and Chet said to add he got FREE whiskey.Yeah, Copa Airlines doesn’t charge for alcohol, at least not to Guayaquil, maybe they know you’re gonna need it!
Anyway, Sister Mena is a tiny, unassuming older sister who looks so sweet…until she gets behind the wheel of what will soon be our tour bus! The heat hits us like a blast from a wet, sticky furnace. Yeah, Alabama is hot, and yeah it’s humid but this, this heat is no joke…and neither is the traffic! It is a teeming madhouse as is the city. A pulsing, vibrating madhouse of 3 million people. I didn’t take this picture but it gives you some idea of the size of this sprawling metropolis.
The little sister held her own in the crazy traffic. She also paid no attention to the kids who take center stage under the traffic lights during the “moment” it is red to perform their feats of acrobatics! Another young boy of no more than 10 steps out into traffic just as it screeches to a halt and performs his lime juggling act for 30 seconds. All these kids then go from car to car with a hand out…until the light turns red and we are off. Their little faces are not innocent, they are businesslike and tough.
When we wrote the branch and confirmed we were coming they wrote back and let us know that although they didn’t have room for us to stay there they did have some suggestions on places to stay.You have to let them know about a month in advance if you want to stay, ah well. Their suggestions include hotels, high and low end and a couple of bed and breakfasts run by the friends. We chose the latter. Chet made arrangements for this bed and breakfast through Sister Mena’s daughter Ivanna who speaks English and is part of the English congregation here in Guayaquil. For $24 per night we get a beautiful, clean little studio apartment separate from the main house including breakfast. Airport pickup was $6. They also will take us to the branch and additional tours are $15 per hour. Ivanna told us they need help in the English congregation here, they only have 30 publishers. Most of the friends head to Cuenca or elsewhere due to the heat in this city. Imagine that! Lol.
Our phones are more of an issue than I thought they would be. I brought with me what I assumed was an unlocked cell phone. I was told all I would need was a GSM chip that costs $5. Well, my phone is not unlocked, we found this out after getting a ride from Bro. Reese to the local mall. Soooooo, we have to find a place tomorrow to get it unlocked and then yes, I can purchase a chip for only $5 and my calls to the States should only be like .25 per minute. Anyway, it wasn’t a wasted trip because Chet had a very cheap “pescado, arroz y frijoles” dinner at the food court and got his watch band fixed that broke while we were boarding the plane. All in all an eventful day. Last but not least I am amazed at the number of people who think I speak Spanish! Chet says it’s because I look like I speak Spanish, whatever that means. Anyway, when I stumble and bumble over what I am trying to say with equally ridiculous charades they look at me like..”REALLY??? c’mon we know you can do better than that!” One day perhaps I will be able to, in the meantime…Como se dice…”It’s time for BED/!”