Yesterday I’ve crossed Ecuadorian border. I’m in Peru right now. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about Ecuador any more – I have still some material I haven’t used (I will, though!). Also, I haven’t left Ecuador for good. All the signs say that I’ll be back there in a month on my way to another country, but everything in its own time. And then… Well, I know, you will know later. There has to be some suspense.
Last two weeks with three days break for a short visit in Quito I’ve spent in Guayaquil. Honestly, it’s not a charming place. The port lying on Guayas river is the most populated city and the biggest commercial and business center of Ecuador. In Guayaquil you can find the tallest building in the country.
The weather in Guayaquil differs drastically from what I got used to in the mountains. Over thirty degrees centigrade, the humidity so high that one could cut the air with a knife. Regardless of clothing, after an hour you’re covered with sweat. I was told that Guayaquil is a sunny place. Well, my observations don’t confirm it. The sun showed up few times but most of the time it stayed covered with clouds. However, it’s not an obstacle to sunbathing – UV radiation in whole Ecuador is very strong. Nowhere else you’re so close to the sun.
The second hostel I lived in (the center of the city, 10$ per night with usual price 20$-25$ in other hostels around) had quite special furnishing. Or rather it hasn’t. Besides a concrete bed (it’s not a joke – there was a mattress on a concrete frame), there was a cage with an old TV set inside. Because it could be so easily stolen… Or maybe it was in cage so it doesn’t fall in a case of an earthquake? And a fan. Instead of a window, which was not there. It’s quite common in Ecuador. I’ve seen the same in Quito. Also, there was no mirror in the bathroom nor hot water, although it’s not even necessary in Guayaquil.
So, I was sleeping on my concrete bed in a windowless room, when the earth shook. I woke up a bit nervous. I put on my trousers and waited to see if the shaking was going to increase, listening at the same time what was going on on the corridor. All stopped after a short moment, but it left me awaken for the next hour.
— Every Earthquake (@everyEarthquake) 3 décembre 2017
The M6 earthquake took place near Bahia de Caraquez, over 200 km North from Guayaquil. In April 2016 a bit further North, in he coastal city of Muisne, the most tragic earthquake since 1979 occurred. It’s magnitude was 7,8. 673 people died. Francisco, a university professor from Quito told me, that the destruction is still visible. In one town there is a multistory hotel which survived. It’s half ruined, not possible to be used, not even to approach it. However, no one demolishes it, probably because of financial reasons. They wait for the next earthquake.
I was surprised by Ecuadorian houses structure – ceilings and main pillars are made of concrete and are filled with bricks. “Why they just don’t stack bricks to make walls?” I asked myself. Because reinforced concrete structure with a special base which replaces foundations is capable to withstand an earthquake. Everything shakes, but it doesn’t collapse. It has its downsides, though. I lived in Guayaquil near rather busy streets. Springi construction vibrates with every bus passing by. I lived mini earthquakes and mini heart attacks every ten minutes, especially at night.
I’m in Chiclayo, Peru. Quite boring place. I think I’ll go away as soon as I get my laundry back.