Friday, June 13, 2014

Bus adventure

Yesterday we went on our first bus adventure, I posted previously about the "chicken bus", well this was NOTHING like what we expected. We had seen young men hanging out the door, and wondered how one got on if people were hanging out, we found out he is the "ticket taker". Not so much tickets, but, this is how it goes... You flag down the bus if the sign in the front window says it's going where you want to go, the door man, moves aside and you get in and find a seat. The inside is really nice, cushy seats like a Greyhound bus in the States, curtains and decorations. We expected him to come take our money right away, but he didn't, we decided to be flexible and just enjoy the ride. The Latino music is quite loud, and it's kinda party vibe, fun adventure so far. I can't believe I didn't get pictures of the inside, but we were a little stunned, next time. Here is what I focused on, the scenery:

If there were bus stops, this was the closest thing, another opportunity for someone to make money.

Appears to be an outdoor market, probably only used on the weekend, about 5 miles away, this may be something we do by bike.

House being built, and various residences, animal stall? And a school along the way

Then the farm land, bananas, rice, limes, papayas, coconuts, peppers, and not sure what all else. This part of Ecuador has THREE growing seasons, something is always being harvested and planted.


We rode into the city and some more pictures, police station, gas station what appears to be an athletic club, pretty painted buildings and advertisements along the road.

We weren't sure where the bus was taking us, I mean we don't know any of the street names (something to learn) but we could tell things were familiar...or were they? We decided to keep riding, see what there was to see and if we started back the way we came, then we'd get off. We saw a street sweeper, he was too far from his little cart to get both in the shot, but this is one reason the streets are so clean.

The "door man" finally asked where we were going, we told him Supermaxi, and he said we'd past it, (most of this by mime) he got the bus to pull over, got us a taxi, and the taxi guy said it would be $1, ok that works. Next time when we get on the bus, we'll tell the door man where we want to go, and hopefully he'll give us a heads up as to where to get off. The bus ride was .85 each, so with the taxi =$2.70 not bad. We got to the Supermaxi mall, we'd only entered it with Wolf from the underground parking garage, so this entrance was new

There was an OfficeMax type store, a Toys R Us type store, a yogurt/smoothie shop, Eyeglass store, little cell phone kiosk in the middle ( just like the States) the housewares store and what looked just like Lowes home improvement on a small scale. We wanted to buy a coffeemaker so we went into the housewares store. It was very similar to a Target, a little bit of everything for the home, prices were high, like a department store, but not TOO high. A new snazzy HP Laptop was $899, comforter sets were $60, spatulas were $3.99, brightly colored outdoor dishes $5 each. More than I want to pay, because I'm a bargain shopper, but not too bad, and great selection.

We decided on a small Electrolux coffeemaker, and payed $35 and change. (Used this morning, and it's a dream.) After the housewares we went into Supermaxi for some groceries, this was our first time at it alone, so we could really check out everything. Here's some items that struck me.

If you don't know Maybelline mascara is about $6-9 in the States, the cake mix is $1.50ish, and the peanut ranges from $2-5 depending on the brand or if it's "natural", the funny thing is this Nutella is a huge tub, and probably more in the states. I've only bought Nutella once and it was a small jar for $3+ (it was sooooo good I decided it was evil and I wouldn't buy it again)

We did our shopping, trying to be conscience that we were taking the bus home, and we got out for right under $100. So far that's been the norm, $100 per week on groceries, of course we are still buying staples, like condiments that you only buy once in awhile, and learning where the best deals are. They bag your groceries and take them to your car, we told the boy we were taking a taxi, and he got one for us. We learned a lesson here too. We told the taxi driver we were going to Crucita, wanted to go by bus. He told us $20 and he would take us, we said it was too much and we wanted the bus, he said "get in". We started driving, and remember we don't know where to go catch the bus, but as it kept driving we looked up in the pocket translator told him again "parade" bus stop, and he kept driving. I figured he was taking us to the Main Street and thought ok, but he kept driving. We realized he was taking us to all the way, and so we again got the pocket translator and asked him to stop at the fruit stand half way point, we could buy our fruit and catch the bus the rest of the way for .50 cents, and be out the $10 for the mix up taxi ride. When we got to the fruit stand, he said it was $15, that if we wanted he'd wait, so we decided it was a better deal to let him wait, and pay the $20, but now we know to just ask for the bus stop, don't mention where our final destination is. 

The fruit stand has two different tents, we thought they were all one vendor, but now we know, and will only go to Jaime (pronounced hi-me) the other guy charged us too much. We got the three big avocados and 8 eggs from the expensive guy, all for $3, not bad until we went to Jaime and got, the pepper, 2pineapples, 4oranges and all the limes for $3. He has his wife there and baby girl, and we would rather help support his young family than the other guy. We got the taxi drivers name and # when we got home and it was helpful to be dropped off at the door. Here's our haul

So all in all a very good day, we spent $21 on taxis and $1.70 for the bus, .50 cents to tip the bag boy, but we learned a bunch, and had our first of many adventures on the bus. We are getting the hang of this, and enjoying everything, even the little hiccups we encounter along the way. We are doing it together, and loving our new chapter, hope you continue to enjoy the ride with us. Buenos Dias!

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