Our last morning in Baños involved us stalking the hotel staff with our eyes every time it looked like she was going to get something. There had been really good bread the day prior. It was now missing. Two baskets laid lined with towels, ready to present carby goodness, but they sat empty. Eventually one of the other staff members came upstairs with two giant shopping bags and we all cheered and rushed to claim the rolls and croissants before we ate them all.
This was our last day all together. I know the trip was only a week, but with such a small group, we got really close really fast. Some of us would be continuing on to the Galapagos islands in the morning. Some of us were onto other adventures in other places. And some of us were off to reality. But no matter where the day took us, we knew we’d be having to say some goodbyes by the end of the day, and that’s never fun.
Unfortunately, the biggest event of the day was the six hour drive from Baños to Guayaquil. There’s no better way to bond for one last time than by sitting quietly on the bus, right? Eh.
We started the journey by being completely obnoxious about recognizing the fact that it was Shane’s birthday. We all yelled “Happy Birthday Shane!” at random moments—really any time it was quiet. We also listened to the “Happy Birthday” song from Dora the Explorer which was both in English and in Spanish.
We spent our first leg just sitting quietly. Mayra told us a couple of stories. We looked out the window, passed time. Nothing too exciting.
Our first pit stop was at a very nice roadside gas station featuring a crepe stand. Now, I don’t crave crepes. Until I see them. And smell them. And saw that this particular stand featured ice cream crepes. I couldn’t say no.
(Yes, it was delicious.)
For the second leg of the bus ride we had some stunning views of the Andes again. It was super hilly and windy, so Dramamine was once again necessary, but it was worth it for the views. They look less than spectacular on camera phone, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that rural Ecuador is beautiful.
For the final leg we played a funny game where everyone says what their least favorite household chore is and why. Then we passed the mic back around again and you had to say “I hate sex because” and then give the same reasons. My least favorite was laundry, so the finishing result was: “I hate sex because it forces me to go to Walmart to pay in quarters.” Yep.
Finally we arrived at the hotel. We were greeted by the sweet icy kiss of air conditioning. This place had an actual lobby and tile floors and smelled amazing. I think I still had mud on me from Tena at this point, so it was pretty exciting to be in a real hotel.
Upon our arrival Shane was presented with a birthday song and a tray full of drinks for all of us. He was given a special piña colada—his favorite—and a birthday tiara. He was also given a slice of cake. Mayra decided to also help him enjoy some Ecuadorian tradition in regard to eating that cake, in that she tried to smash it in his face.
We had some free time in the hotel before our last activity together in the group. All of the people who were planning to do the Galapagos had a special pre-trip meeting in the hotel restaurant, but I wasn’t doing that, so I wasn’t there. Instead Marisa and I ran some last-minute errands and primped in our bedroom.
Our last hurrah was a cruise on the Captain Morgan pirate ship. It was also a booze cruise with unlimited alcohol for an hour, so it was our last hurrah indeed. The group walked together to the dock, passing by a couple of iconic Guayaquil landmarks, including this pretty clock tower built by a Lebanese immigrant family. Even in Ecuador I still find my way to pretty Muslim art.
The ship itself was pretty cool. It definitely had a piratey vibe. Also one of the bartenders looked like a hot Jack Sparrow, so we all kind of bonded by ogling him a little bit.
We enjoyed our last night out together the same way we’d gotten so close, over drinks and funny conversation. I tried to take a photo of our table of jokers, but then Rachel photo-bombed me. I retaliated by chastising her. Then THAT was caught on camera…
Well, as you can imagine, after an hour of free alcohol we were ready for some snacks. So the entire family of Lava Liners found our way into the McDonalds (or Maccas, as our Aussie friends called it) that was parked right next to our boat’s dock. I swear they chose their location on purpose. Also, I feel really bad for those McDonalds employees. We were not quiet. We were incredibly obnoxious. We just wanted our McNuggets. But we were not being subtle about it.
Thankfully there were plenty of free tables outside. After our snack we wanted to go out and find another bar, but it was Sunday night, and most places were already closed. The streets were completely empty. Guayaquil was a ghost town. So instead we opted to go back to the hotel bar.
Once we got back, people started saying goodbye. The Galapagos people had to be up by 5am to get to their flight, so they wanted to get to bed. And I was not prepared for it. I gave a couple of hugs, said a couple of farewells. And then I got really overwhelmed and had to go run upstairs and cry for a minute. This hasn’t really happened to me on a trip before (except when I said bye to Brodie— if you’re reading this, Contiki wife for life ❤ ). I think just with the small, close-knit group, I got really attached. I didn’t want it to end.
Ecuador, man. You broke me.
A crew of us stayed downstairs a little bit longer, swapping stories and having one last drink together as a happy little family. When the glasses were empty, we gave more hugs, said more farewells. A few of us would be sticking around Guayaquil for one more day, but many would be leaving in the morning. So this was it. Hopefully it’s not goodbye, but “see ya later.”