Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  , Guayas,
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The motels advertise themselves as having “complete discretion”, and pull curtains around the cars that pull in to use their service, so that no one driving passed can see who is using them.  Therefore it was probably quite a novelty to see two westerners sitting outside their room, eating their breakfast in the morning, in the carpark.

As we set off we were looking forward to continuing downhill and thankfully it maintained a fairly steep descent for another 10km and then more subtly for a further 30km after that. In total we had coasted downhill for about 130km, and descended about 4000m, with only a couple of uphills sprinkled in along the way to make sure that we were still appreciating the downhill. We stopped a couple of times in the morning, to buy some fruit and to keep hydrated. We rested for a short time under the porch of a church, as it was the only shade to be seen. Then we entered banana land; with huge plantations on either side of the road, which continued for the rest of the day. We spotted a small aircraft that was spraying something on to the banana crops, which unfortunately tasted like toilet cleaner as we cycled underneath it. Thankfully, we didn't have to
experience it again during the day, as we cycled through kilometer after kilometer of banana plants.

We arrived into a small town, where we had a set lunch of a delicious soup, with egg, cheese and spaghetti in it, and then a main meal of rice, coleslaw and chicken, washed down with a freshly squeezed lemonade. It was delicious, filling and only cost $2. As we continued on for the afternoon, amongst more bananas the road became less well maintained, with huge potholes and some loose gravel, which continued for a couple hours of cycling.

On the whole, the people in this area seemed a lot poorer than in the mountains, and the houses were mainly basic, wooden, one roomed shacks. Maybe we were only seeing it because we were no longer on the main highway and if we had deviated from it whilst in the mountains we would've seen the same living standards there as well. As we were at sea level again, this meant that it was hot, it felt like someone had turned the heating up over night, as we struggled to acclimatise to the heat and humidity again.

We stopped numerous times to take photos of the village life and to observe the daily lives of the banana farm workers. The locals were some of the friendliest that we have come across and shouted out and waved to us as we sped passed them. As the land was flat we managed to clock up a further 115km during the day, and arrived into Narajal by 5pm. We considered continuing on a bit further but as we have put in some really long days over the past few days, we decided to pull over and check into a hotel. The hotel room was a basic affair, and re-introduced us to cold water showers, which we haven't had for a while now, but were refreshing in the intense heat of the day. Just opposite the hotel there were meals being sold for a dollar, which was perfect as we felt we needed to restock some calories after a couple of high output days. Kory went back to them three times over the course of the evening, as it was such a bargain and tasty food.
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