I Left my Heart in Guayaquil, But Keep Going Back for It

Por Guayaquil

Last weekend were the Fiestas de Guayaquil (there are always fiestas happening all over Ecuador) and Guayaquil (Gye) was celebrating 192 years of independence! Even though I love Quito, Gye is probably one of my favorite cities in Ecuador to visit, and hopefully one day, to live. I’ve been there numerous times this semester, and lately have been going there almost every weekend when possible.

It is a very, very different city than Quito. Firstly, it’s on the coast so people from the Sierra harbor a bunch of stereotypes about it. People from the coast are called monos (monkeys) and are known for their loud and exaggerated personality. People from the Sierra say the monos party too much, are too lazy, speak without filters, spend money too frivolously, like to argue and fight, etc. On the other hand, serranos are considered to be stuck-up, materialistic, fake, boring, reserved, and can’t dance to save their life, according to costeños. Not to mention the accents between the two regions are starkly different. Costeños swallow their vowels, talk much quicker, and much less clearly, whereas, serranos are more sing-songy and much easier to understand.

One host mom saw me in Quito this weekend and the first thing she asked me was “Why aren’t you in Guayaquil right now?!” It’s a good question considering how much I love it there. I joke that I’ve been practically living in Gye this semester, so much so, that I’m medio-serrano, medio-costeño (anything to deny the fact that I’m gringo).

Guayaquil has a really hot and tropical climate with a hammock and salsa culture that I just love. There is always music and the seafood is to die for. It is on the coast but doesn’t have beaches within the city. Rather, two rivers run through the city & there are estuaries and manglares (mangroves) that surround the city’s outskirts. It is always warm, even when the sun isn’t out, and when the sun is out you turn into human bacon. And when guayacos (people from Gye) complain about it being cold, you laugh in their face because it rarely dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

I’ve made some really good friends in Gye, and last week I took the week off from classes to stay longer. We went to some Manglares where we went swimming. We cooked camarones apanados (breaded shrimp), bolón and patacones (traditional coastal dishes made out of plátano verde). And we went to two concerts for the city’s celebrations: a salsa concert in Durán (nearby city), and a concert in Gye where famous cantantes David Bisbal and Jerry Rivera performed. We also went to Las Peñas–a part of the city where you climb up a bunch of stairs (passing bars and empanada shops along the way) and you arrive at a lighthouse from where you get a view of the city. We also spent a ton of time walking around the Centro and the two Malecones (river shores).

A beautiful pasillo from a Guayaquil singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT4mmbHIZtw&feature=related

Quindes (hummingbirds) in the Malecón 2000

Katiusca, me & Juan Carlos (Juanki)

A proud UCSD Triton in Gye

FULL iguanas

La Catedral

Las Peñas

Me, Juanki & Rosmari at Parque Histórico

Monkeying around with the monos

Me & “Luz Clarita” (Claire Ryan, IES)

Historic buildings in el Parque Histórico

With a woman dressed as a Montubia

Vera (Couchsurfer), Rosmari, me & Juanki in Malecón Salado

Me, Katiusca & Juanki in restaurant/bar La Culata

La gente está muy loca

I ran into Miss Earth 2011 (Ecuador)!

Me, Karlita & Katiusca

Camarones apanados & patacones – riquísima!

Bolón con huevito

Karlita, me & Juanki on the way to the Manglares

Puerto Hondo

Karlita: La guayaca hasta sus patas!

Boats for the fisherman and crab catchers

La Playita de Guasmo

I decided to take a leap

The End. Mil gracias if you read through all this!