Howard Johnson, Guayaquil

In the past we have stayed at the Sheraton here in Guayaquil. When searching for hotel rates about a month ago, the Sheraton was way out of our budget – at over $300 a night when you included taxes and service charge.  I just can’t justify that much money for a hotel room for the night. So Joe continued our search and found the Howard Johnson. It is located in the same area and came out to $110 per night.

Guyaquil 8.7.2013 001 (7)The room is spacious, it has a great king-size bed with beautiful linens, a TUB in the bathroom which is a must for someone who has not seen a tub in over three years and a very nice restaurant with different cuisines.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (7) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (9) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (11)The room has WiFi, a safe deposit box, a blow dryer and even an extra blanket and pillow, oh sorry it also has a flat screen TV with a zillion cable channels to choose from. The mini-bar was filled with cold beer, water and fruit drinks and they had a fine choice of snacks at a very high price. The room service menu had many options. All rooms are non-smoking actually the entire building is non-smoking.

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Guyaquil 8.7a.2013 005It is a special place for us to celebrate my applying for Social Security.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (30) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (29) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (12) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (14) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (15)It is located almost right next door to Mall del Sol and this area also has a great food court in a park type area next door to the hotel. The airport is nearby and the hotel has a shuttle service to pick you up and take you back to the airport as well as a flight monitor with the airlines schedule on it right in the lobby of the hotel. Several newspapers from Guayaquil and Quito are available every day along with the Miami Herald in English.

Everyone on staff has been more than helpful – we have felt right at home here for the last few days.

Is It Heaven or Is It Mall del Sol, Guayaquil, Ecuador?

We have spent many hours over the past two days in the Mall del Sol. After a few hours of walking we take a break and go to the food court for a cup of coffee or a coke. Just a few photos of some of the goodies we found at the food court.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (50)Yes, donut holes, from Dunkin Donuts…just a few.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (5) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (2) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (3) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (6)What are you craving?  We only went for the donut holes…they were excellent! There is a Tony Roma’s and Noe Sushi which is an excellent restaurant – we’ve been to the one in Quito.

Mall del Sol is located almost directly across the street from Howard Johnson hotel so it is very convenient for anyone planning a nice shopping trip to Guayaquil. You step out the side door of HoJo’s and walk thru a maze of great looking restaurants and bars, pass the Sheraton and take the walking bridge over to the food court of the mall. Takes less than three minutes and is very secure with guards everywhere you look.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (41)In the beginning when we moved to Central America and saw armed guards we were a bit nervous. After living outside of the US for over 7 years, we now like the extra feeling of security.

 

Sushi – How Could We Resist?

We have been Sushi deprived…honestly the last time we had it was when we were in Guayaquil several years ago. The hotel we are staying at has sushi from 1pm until late probably 10 pm from Monday – Friday…we could not wait.

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Guayquil 8.5.2013 (27)It was wonderful, do you know how you can tell?

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (28)Yes, we may even go back for dinner tomorrow ordering the same thing! We did enjoy two different miso soups before our sushi arrived.

Guayquil 8.5.2013 (21) Guayquil 8.5.2013 (23)The restaurant is very modern with all black and white furniture and accents.

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US Consulate, Guayaquil

We have visited the Consulate here in Guayaquil a few years ago about Joe’s social security. Today was my turn. The Embassy in Quito handles the submission of the paperwork to Social Security but you can turn in your paperwork in the Guayaquil office. It was the most painless process that I have had with any government agency in many many years. They only accept Social Security paperwork between 8am and 11am Monday thru Thursday in the Guayaquil office. So we were on the road by 8am this morning and at the checkpoint outside the building before 8:30am. After having our belongings searched, removal of the battery from our cell phone and being wanded we were searched a second time inside the building and had to go through a metal detector. We had most of our belongings put in storage and were on our way to the second floor to submit the paperwork.

The entire process took less than 10 minutes.

We walked across the street to the Hotel Oro Verde to their exquisite bakery for a breakfast of cappuccino and almond croissants.

1157_13053104580012591456_STD 3259921955_d31e01c86a Hotel Oro VerdeHonestly the best experience with a government office in my memory and the most beautiful pastries I have had in all of Ecuador, it was a great morning. Sorry I did not take my camera as we were going to the consulate – the above photos are from the internet but give you an idea. This place is a must try as the baked goods are just so darned good.

 

From California to Ecuador

It’s amazing to me just how many lovely people we have met due to this blog. Folks we have communicated with by email arrived in San Clemente yesterday morning. Doug and Jac have been very good sports through their adventure on the Ecuadorian roadways. I must say that they have been on an adventure since landing in Guayaquil. They set up to stay there first night at a hostel within two blocks of the airport but, after driving around Guayaquil for three hours and not finding it they gave up and drove to Salinas where they found accommodations.  They hit the road heading north towards San Clemente and within a very short drive hit an unmarked speed bump and flattened a tire and bent the rim. We were expecting them late afternoon on Wednesday but they never arrived in San Clemente until Thursday morning. They have now experienced the reality of traveling on the roadways of Ecuador –  signage is sparse if any, roads have potholes, unmarked speed bumps and many other hazards like cows or burros walking in the middle of the road, no lights on vehicles, a two lane road with two cars coming at you while someone is passing you…when they left here yesterday afternoon they were headed to turn in the car in Guayaquil and continue their journey up towards Cuenca by bus.

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From left to right: Harold and Barbara and Doug and Jac.

They invited us to lunch at Viviana’s mostly because we talk about our favorite restaurant so much in our blog that they needed to check out the excellent seafood dishes themselves. After a walk down the beach a cold Pilsener hit the spot and I think everyone enjoyed their fresh shrimp and fish dishes.

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It was great meeting all of you, enjoy the balance of your time in Ecuador. If their plans go according to schedule we will be seeing Doug and Jac back here in August as they will be moving here, maybe not to the coast, but we will know more after they complete their tour of the areas around Cuenca and Loja.

Thanks again for taking the time to drive up the coast to visit us. Buena suerte!