July 11, 2016
Goodbye, Puerto Cayo!
Welcome to another entry to a series of posts I made especially on this trip: hitchhiking stories. This time we started from Puerto Cayo with an intention to hitch 436 kilometres to Quito. We left after a few snaps and exchange of goodbyes and take cares from our host, walked about a kilometre to get to the main road all the while coaxing Rico (the dog) to get back home. He sure made it even harder to leave Puerto Cayo, our home in coastal Ecuador for three weeks.
The wait for a lift from Puerto Cayo to Jipijapa took about 2 hours. Which was quite long considering it is only an hour (or less) drive away from where we were. Understand though that traffic on this part of the coast is really low. The cars are few and far in between. Farther down the road, we saw a few hitchhikers too. A solo female traveller (which naturally got picked up first) and a group of four.
On the 2-hour mark we got picked up by a kind man on his way to Jipijapa. Yay! He made we would be safe by dropping us in front of a gas station along the highway where we decided to stop for a loo and lunch break. I wrote a sign of where we were headed and asked JC to help me fill it as my hands were already sore. During this time, we didn’t have a sharpie yet so we had to make do with a measly pen.
HITCHHIKING TIP: Invest in a sharpie before you embark on a hitchhiking journey. Trust us, your sign making will be so MUCH easier.
At 1:45 pm we positioned ourselves along the highway where cars could not miss seeing us. We just about dumped our bags on the road when we a car stopped and asked where we’re headed. An Ecuadorian couple named Ellie and David picked us up and agreed to drop us near Quito. Awesome!
Ellie and David
Our good samaritans were on their way to Santo Domingo, 5 1/2 hours away from Jipijapa (and 2.5 hours away from Quito), to visit Ellie’s sisters.
We arrived in Santo Domingo at 7:30 pm. The couple pulled over the side of the road to tell us that they didn’t want us to continue hitching late into the night. They invited us to spend the night at their sister’s place to which we happily obliged.
First, we dropped by the first sister’s house located in a shady neighbourhood. All houses have metal railings on their doors and windows, not many people on the streets, cars anxiously guarded. Here we had a simple dinner. An arepa-like corn fritter, watermelon, and extremely sweet soda (which we didn’t drink). Then we headed to the other sister’s house where we spent the night.
Somewhere in Ruta 20
At 9am the next day, the couple dropped us near the intersection road between Ruta 25 and Ruta 20 where we then continued walking til we reached a safe spot by the main road. A long wait on a gloomy day. At 10:55 we got picked up by César and Mario. The friends live in the selvas (the jungle area), know Manny Pacquiao, and were incredibly nice that we felt extra guilty after we got stopped for overspeeding. The traffic officers in Ecuador are very strict, serious in handing tickets to offenders.
César and Mario dropped us in Tambillo, a town just outside Quito, where we were picked up next by (another) David with his mom. David is a dentist/studio manager while his mom is also a dentist. He speaks English so it was easier conversing with them. They were very kind to drop us in front of Plaza Foch in La Mariscal district where we intended to stay a night before moving on north to Colombia.
Quito Part Deux
After finding a decent and cheap hostel a block away from the main square, we set off for a walk towards Quito’s Centro Histórico. With each step, a sense of déjà vu. Everything felt familiar, as if 2 years – the last time we were there – seemed to have happened only yesterday. We rounded out the streets revisiting our favourites, hung out at the park watching the elderlies danced, appalled on how two kids made a slide out of the dangerously high wall somewhere in Cumandá Parque Urbano, walked along cobbled streets shaking our heads in disbelief on how the one restaurant we’ve always wanted to see in Quito seemed to be always close whenever we dropped by.
Nonetheless, it was a great stopover before another long journey to a new country. Hitchhiking to Quito turned out so well, something we couldn’t say when we landed in Colombia. But that’s for another story.
Hostel (Pension de Fer in La Mariscal) – $12
Bus from Cumanda to Manuel Canizares stop (near Foch) – 25 cents (x2)
Pollo Shawarma – 1.50
Almuerzo – 2.50