Carnaval Ecuadorian style somehow lacks the finesse of Brazil. Whilst Rio has its beautiful people out partying we have people throwing water, eggs, paint, foam, etc., at each other. It seemed to go on for weeks so with 5 whole days off it was too good an opportunity to escape the city and the madness that had descended on Cuencanos.
All week the weather had been deteriorating but we were still determined to go. Probably our first mistake of the break. We took the night bus towards Guayaquil. We should have realised there was going to be a problem when the bus driver tried to mug us for an extra $2 to take a different route.
At some point in the night we ground to a halt literally in the middle of nowhere. They initially wouldn't let us off the bus as they said it was too dangerous but eventually there was a bit of a row and they relented. We had a pee behind one of the many lorries that was parked up blocking the road and headed down the track to find out what was going on. Mind you we didn't get very far as it was peeing down with rain and we had left our jackets on the bus. Once we got back to the bus a couple of blokes started having yet another row with the driver demanding their money back. He eventually gave it to them and they got off the bus but god knows where they went as we were literally in the middle of nowhere.
We sort of slept on the bus and then at first light got off to see if we could see what was going on. We headed back down the track only to find there was a huge landslide. With not an 'expert' in sight Jose Public were directing the clear up operation. Needless to say their first attempt at trying to clear the road led to a lorry getting stuck in the mud which they then had to tow out. Suddenly they managed to clear a way through and for some reason they let the traffic on our side of the road through first. We legged it back to the bus and continued onto Guayaquil.
We eventually made it to Puerto Lopez after an 18 hour journey. A journey which should have taken 8 hours. Our hostal was great but the whole village was without electricity. We headed straight to the beach for a swim in the sea and cocktails. Pure heaven.
We woke up to not only no electricity but no water so we headed to the beach. It was a perfect day and after a day in the sun we took our little 'truck' back to Puerto Lopez. With still no electricity we stayed in the bar and took the opportunity to ride on a ferris wheel - held together with green twine I might add. It was though a great view of the ocean and the mountains.
The lights came back on in the village so we headed back to our hostal only to find it in darkness with a load of people standing outside. Dangling outside the reception was a live electricity cable which had become detached from the tienda next door. It was showering sparks all over the reception area. If this wasn't bad enough Alicia was inside as she had gone back for a siesta. They wouldn't go in and get her so I went inside only to find her room padlocked shut from the outside and we had no key. The sparks ignited the roof of the reception and with this there was even less chance the woman who was looking after the place would go back inside. I eventually dragged some guy in and we managed to open a window so she could climb out and we beat a rapid retreat. The Fire Brigade turned up in their sandals and shorts and proceeded to squirt water on an electrical fire. Duh! Eventually they got it under control and we could go back inside.
We took our valuables and retired to the nearest bar. After a very wet night where poor old Jessica got rained on as she was in the top bunk we had a long think about what we should do. It was chucking it down with rain and with still no power or water we decided enough was enough and to head home. We made it home in 8 hours all safe and sound! Phew! We had a lot of fun but it wasn't quite the weekend by the beach we had imagined. The delights of travelling in SA!