Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, “what about sidewalks can possibly be worthy of a blog related to travel in Ecuador”. If you were not thinking that then I was doing it for you, let me continue. From my observations of sidewalks in Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil to the coastal towns and cities, the only thing consistent about sidewalks is how absolutely different and inconsistent they are throughout Ecuador.
Sidewalks can and are made of everything from concrete, asphalt, dirt, tile, brick and every combination of those materials you can think of. The width, type and structure of a sidewalk appears to be totally at the discretion of either the builder or the property owner.
Walking on a sidewalk in the Historic Central area of Quito, you need all of your faculties. The one metre wide sidewalk is teeming with people passing in each direction, sign, electrical and light posts are in the center of the sidewalk and as you walk being pushed and shoved, a city bus screams by you literally inches away (I am NOT joking).
Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful sidewalks in Ecuador, some inlaid with tile, cow bone, fancy concrete work and stones and bricks hundreds of years old. But… you can be walking along the sidewalk dodging the posts set in the middle of the walkway or step over or around or into the various curbs, steps, potholes or construction areas and the sidewalk stops – that’s it – stops and you are now required to dodge traffic until you can make it to the next sidewalk. At times it is a bit like an obstacle course where you can make your way around the plants, vehicles, and don’t forget that the dogs appear to use the sidewalks as their own private dumping grounds (the doggie poo bags have not yet made it to Ecuador). Of course there is one other service that use the sidewalks – the vendors. Depending where you are you are required to utilize their services or somehow get around them and their equipment or products that are spread all across the sidewalk.
Along the Malecon here in Salinas they have a very nice sidewalk along side the beach. What is interesting about the sidewalk is that there are places where there is a ten foot plus drop directly onto the sand or rocks or concrete below. Perhaps it is a system for getting rid of the drunks at night?
That’s it, I was walking around Salinas, weaving my way around the sidewalks and obstacles and thought that I would share.