We never really knew what to expect from Ecuador. Before arrival we knew that Ecuador is a small country that grows coffee and cocoa, we also knew it was neither the richest or poorest in South America and that the President was a somewhat radical character (sheltering Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for one). Other than this we knew little about the place so we arrived pretty much without preconceptions.
Thanks to our Spanish course we spent seven weeks in Ecuador in the end, far longer than we’ll spend anywhere else. Also thanks to the Spanish course we were able to live with some of the locals and really get a little more under the skin than we’ll be able to do anywhere else.
The small coastal town of Montañita was our final stop with the travelling classroom. We were keen to explore Montañita so we agreed to get the bus from Manta together with our travelling classroom friends Stephanie and Jacqueline at 09:30 in the morning. We arranged to share a taxi to the bus station so that we all arrived together and, since we were the furthest away from the bus station, we got in a taxi at 08:30 and headed over to Stephanie’s. Stephanie was already waiting for us on the main road (5 minutes early, thank you Swiss efficiency) so we headed over to pick up Jacqueline. We arrived 5 minutes early to the spot where Jacqueline had told us that she would meet us. She’d told us that there was a café next door to her house, but we couldn’t see any sign of it so we drove on a little further. I spoke to Jacqueline on the phone and got a slightly confusing response. Eventually after 5 minutes of driving around we put the taxi driver on the phone to the father at Jacqueline’s house and he explained where to go, back to exactly where we’d started, we would have found it easily except that the sign for the café was missing! Relieved and still with enough time we headed to the bus station. At the bus station the taxi driver pointed out the right bus.