We started this day still on a high from the exciting adventure we experienced the day before. However that high only lasted about 30 mins, because our looming checkout time was in 3 hours and we still hadn’t confirmed a new place to stay. Luckily after we got back from our day with Bev and Joyce, Ryan had started researching accommodations using homestay.com. I on the other hand had passed out from sheer exhaustion and was sound asleep. 😉
One place that really stood out was a room for rent at a house in Cumbayá, about 30 mins away. The woman who owned the house was named Judith and had 2 great big dogs (a good sign!). We were quick to contact her that morning as our check out time was now T-minus 2.5 hours and counting. At which point we would no longer have the necessary WiFi. She replied to let us know that her rooms are booked for part of the 30 days that we requested but she had another room that wasn’t listed, separate from the house that she could offer us. This room also came with a separate kitchen and bathroom and would cost us $350.00 total. $350 for 30 days!!! SOLD.
*Hot tip – because we are staying in Quito for so long it’s cheaper to rent a room at a house then it is at a hotel or hostel
We paid the deposit online, received the address and quickly checked out of our hotel with no time to spare. That’s when we began our next adventure!
Judith had provided us with some directions but it was a little confusing for us foreigners. We decided to take a lesson we learned from Bev and Joyce. Ask for help! We asked the gentleman at the front desk and he was very helpful in telling us that we needed to take a bus to Rio Coca and then a bus to San Francisco de Pinsha to get to our location (at least that’s what we think he said?).
Back to the bus terminal we went, hoping that we understood where we’re going. When we got there we asked the bus attendant which bus would take us to Rio Coca (we tried to at least). He just said ” Si, Rio Coca, aqui aqui!” and pointed us towards a bus. So, what else were we going to do but get on?
The buses are generally full so you’re lucky to get a seat. Here we are with our giant backpacks filled with all of our belongings, standing in the bus and holding on for dear life. We learned that day that bus drivers in Ecuador have 2 speeds, floor it and stop…floor it and stop. As the bus kept going we noticed that we were going in a circle…and heading right back to where we started. CRAP!
We decided to get on another bus that we thought must be the correct one. However, this bus goes all the way around the city, up a mountain and back down but it doesn’t go to Rio Coca. It did however take us back to where we started. CRAP!
Okay, third time’s the charm! We asked some people at the bus stop and we were almost positive this time we were getting on the correct bus. We got on and hoped for the best. As we were going, it looked like we were heading in the right direction, matching all the stops along the way. Success!!! We got to Rio Coca, but now where? We knew we had to get on a bus to San Francisco de Pinsha but which bus..?
We asked a security guard for help and he took us to an information office. Unfortunately no one spoke English, making it very difficult to communicate. We tried to tell the nice ladies we needed to get to San Francicso de Pinsha, but they hadn’t heard of it (not a good sign). Eventually we mentioned Cumbayá and we had some progress. They pointed in some vague direction and off we went.
This bus ride lasted for what seemed like 2 hours but in reality it was probably about 45 mins. We had absolutely no idea if we were on the right bus or going in the opposite direction. To be honest, it was terrifying and the longer we sat on the bus, the more worried we both got. We had less than an hour worth of sun light left in the day when we had finally reached the last stop. This turned out the be the dead end, of a dirt road, on the side of a mountain. Fear set in as we asked the bus driver, “San Francisco de Pinsha?” They replied with”Si, Si…aqui, aqui” (words we were now very familiar with).
*Hot tip- Ecuadorians are very nice people and like to say YES. So its important not to ask them yes or no questions because when given the option, they will almost always say yes.
We looked up and saw a rickety, faded old sign that read “San Francisco de Pinsha” but we didn’t know if we were even close to where we needed to be. So we started to walk. What else were we going to do after we were kicked off the bus!? We passed a few homes until all of a sudden we saw a woman poke her head out from her balcony and wave to us. So as we should, we asked her for help. She rambled something off neither of us could understand. We replied with the name of a school Judith had given us as a land mark, “Escuela Gustavo Vallejo?” She said “si!” and pointed us down the road towards an “…iglesia…”.
We found the church, then the school, then we found the street and finally the house! With some reservations we rang the doorbell. We heard some rustling and then Judith answered the door! She was very surprised to see us. It’s never good when the local landlord is shocked that you could find her house, but we made it!
A trip that should have taken about 30 mins took us 5 hours. Yeah, 5 hours. Needless to say, we were exhausted (no wonder she was surprised).
Judith was so sweet and showed us to our room. After we had settled in she suggested we call a taxi and invited us in to town. She was kind enough to buy us shawarma from her favourite spot! We brought it back home and ate it with a well deserved glass of wine. We sat and chatted for a while. It was the best dinner we had had so far and the perfect way to end to our crazy and terrifying day.