J Here Our first impressions of Ecuador were great. Long gone are the days of “Bonita Banana”.. the famous trademark of Ecuador in NZ and Australia. After a long day on the bus from 7am and needing our fleece as the Andes crossing was really cold, we landed after a 7hr flight into 27 degree temperatures. The climate is very agreeable. The airport was total mayhem so luckily Christain was able to meet us. Christain is a friend`s girlfriend`s sister`s boyfriend´s friend (!) who we meet at the Barcelona street parties 2 years ago. He really went out of his way to meet us and show us around. Top man. We found a hotel and changed then went out to the new water front area which has been recently developed. It is really nice. Like any major city. It was about midnight and not many people were out …it is not a “late” town like Argentina where people come out at 2am. It makes a nice change to eat and go out at normal hours. The next day we went to a shopping centre to stock up for Galapagos. We were amazed at the brands of food and clothes available … some were not even available in Buenos Aires! Being dollarised helps with imports. There is also a park in the centre with 1m long iguanas that you can feed bananas but we ran out of time shopping and eating … we hope Galapagos has even larger iguanas. The locals are also really friendly. When are checked into the airport to fly to Galapagos our extra bag with all our goodies was 21kg and they wanted to charge us excess luggage -we had 67kg in total! Then Caroline pipeed up at the perfect momment that we are volunteers (even though we don`t have a work permit) and I said that all the stuff in the bag was for the locals! so they let us off… Friendly people. We only had 1 full day in Guayaquil due to the Spanish course in Mendoza but wish we had more. It is not really on the tourists “Gringo Trail”. We will be going to Quito after Galapagos so we are looking forward to that.