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.

Susan and Jimmy in Paradise

We met Susan and Jimmy Dufrene many months back when Susan started following the blog. We continued our email conversations until a few weeks ago with they arrived here in Ecuador for an extended vacation. Yesterday finally we were able to get together for lunch at our home. It was great getting to know these lovely folks a little better.

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We talked for hours, had a nice lunch, a few cervezas and some wine before heading out to the garden to get away from the sun that eventually hits our porch.  What nice folks. I think Ecuador and especially San Clemente has a special place in their hearts and we will see them return again and again to enjoy part of their retirement in paradise.

Trouble in Paradise?

Yesterday morning while walking downtown we spotted this graffiti.

San Clemente 12.28.2012 002

Roughly translated it reads: no beaches, no paradise. No! the road for the beach. Long live San Clemente.

We have read one article in an Ecuadorian paper http://www.eldiario.com.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/250024-con-vista-al-mar/ and heard from several folks that there are plans in the works to take our beautiful pristine beach and ruin it with a road.

Roughly translated, the article reads as follows:

Friday, December 14, 2012 00:00
eldiario.com.ec

“OCEAN VIEW”

A road along the beach from the mouth to Bahia, drawn on paper seems harmless, as argued by its operators serve to promote tourism in the area.

But what is the reality?

According to the plans of the road contractor of approximately 12 meters wide would be built on the beach, from San Clemente to Bahia, cutting in some places the mountain. A path of about 50 miles long, located in the sand stretches and close exposure to sea flows is surely an expensive project not only in terms of construction, but also the subsequent maintenance.

The unfortunate effect of this work is expensive loss and / or reduction of beaches, which have been and are the main attraction for domestic and foreign tourism. Beaches near the villages which have grown as San Jacinto and San Clemente that for decades has been welcomed with warmth and traditions to countless visitors. People who would be directly affected by the highway traversing the beaches.

Is it valid to spend so much money for a road deteriorates the main tourist attraction and also do not respond to any pressing need of the surrounding towns? Priority needs of these populations are such basic services, security or improving roads but a new road to Bahia exist primarily as a good way to that city.

I think the fanaticism that the waterfront is “ocean view” leaves out of sight cheaper alternatives and profitable for responsible tourism and the enjoyment  envisions only a few.

A less expensive alternative, more productive and inclusive is: first, to enable current paths from the road to the beaches (routes that would also benefit small farmers / rural dwellers) and, moreover, sensibly invigorate tourism infrastructure in San Jacinto and San Clemente. This way you could preserve the irreplaceable value of these natural beaches yet where – without pollution and danger of a highway – could be developed with this charming tourist spots dwindling pristine in the world.  END OF ARTICLE

I am distressed at the thought of a road right on the beach. We have a perfectly usable highway going into Bahia running on the outskirts of the downtown area, and IMHO it is a waste of money and of a perfectly beautiful beach putting in another one. How will this road affect the fishermen who have worked these waters for so many years?  How will it affect folks like us who have moved here anticipating the use of the beautiful waters and clean beaches? How will this affect tourism, the environment? How will it affect those owning rental properties right on the beach? Where is this road going and who is paying for it? I hope to have some answers when I attend a meeting today.

There is a huge development being planned past the bluff towards Bahia that may have something to do with this. Hopefully it’s not  just another person from the states looking to make money by paving paradise to put up a parking lot scenario that so many of us tried to leave behind………

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But the most important question is: Is the sun setting on our Paradise?