We were up by 6 am, did our last breakfast in Cuenca and tipped our waiter that has been taking care of us every morning so well.
We caught yet another Taxi to the Buseta, were we are trying to catch the fast mini-van to Guayaquil as opposed to the bus that would have taken over 5 hours with many stops. Just as we were arriving to get our ride they were about to pull out but our Taxi driver honked at the bus and they waited for us. We quickly went inside and gave them our names, payed without any passport information asked for and quickly rushed to the van and headed out.
The driver was very friendly and we talked a lot on the way, we found out that he was a wood sculptor who had shown in both the USA and Europe but had fallen on hard times. He explained much to us about crossing the Andes and stopped at the highest elevation of 4200 meters above sea level - which we were riding above the clouds. At times the visibility was very bad because of the clouds, his only guide was the yellow line in the middle of the road.
There were many rock and mud slides due to the heavy rain the night before, at times all we could see was maybe 15 feet in front of us, with many times having to go into the other lane because of the rocks on our lane.
The scenery was just incredible, he told us if we ever come back to contact him and he would take us to see it all up in the Andes. We went past many lagoons which were fed from water coming down the mountains which fed the Amazon River.
About 30 minutes from Guayaquil we were pulled over by an immigration checkpoint after we had stopped to try some local fruit, some of the fruit was very juicy and one fruit which we had never had before, a cross between a pumpkin and a mango. For some reason which we did not find out , his papers were not in order and had to bribe the police to let us move on.
Finally arriving in Guayaquil we took a Taxi but to the wrong Sheraton Hotel , but they ended up sorting it out and even got our points for the other hotel returned days later. The lady at the front desk felt bad for our mix-up and ended up giving us free breakfast for the next morning. We took a Taxi to the Malecon and walked around in 80 degree and very humid weather. After being at high elevation in Quito and Cuenca were it has been very cool.
We saw a few churches and even went into one which had a small chapel that did have AC. As we were ready to head back to the hotel we saw that there were a fellow streets blocked off and that there would be a parade within 15 minutes.
While it was a very small event, it was nice to see how they celebrated Carnaval. Within half an hour it was over, many dancers a few floats and many kids spraying either some foam or water to the entertainers. There was a kid right beside us that keep spraying out but because of the wind we were the ones getting wet.