Mittis Pizza Parlour’s Marco to the Rescue.
I have mentioned a few times in my blog about how bad we are at reserving accommodation in advance and how we often arrive late at night in a town with nowhere to stay. Well it happened again in Cuenca (Ecuador). We caught a taxi from the bus station into town and our chosen hostel. By the time we arrived it was dark, cold and the streets were very quiet. We knocked on the door and found that there was surprise, surprise, no room. Working our way down the street we visited several places – all full. Well there was one vacancy but it was way too expensive. Back on the street not having a clue where we were and unable to read the map due to no street lights and very bad eyesight, the only thing that was clear was that we needed a plan. Travel books warn you not arrive late at night as you’re an easy target, and as I tramped the streets with backpack and hand luggage I certainly felt like one.
As we were turning around in circles debating which way to go, a man emerged from a plastic fringe covered doorway, walked towards us, asked if we were ok and if we were looking for somewhere to stay. It turned out that the doorway was the entrance to a 4 table restaurant. He invited us in and told us we could leave the backpacks with him while we went and looked for accommodation. Being of a suspicious nature I declined and so it was decided that my partner would go looking and I would sit with the bags and have a cup of tea. The owner of the restaurant, Marco, then offered to accompany him and translate (his English was pretty good). He obviously didn’t have a suspicious nature as he left me in charge of an empty restaurant and, I presume, not so empty cash register. I was too tired and cold to object figuring that if any customers came in I’d just wing it until he returned. Luckily they found a place and within ½ an hour we were installed in a roomy but very chilly guest house. We headed back to the restaurant for beer and pizza and to thank Marco who’d helped us pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.
Several hours and a few beers later we had bonded over a mutual love of music, travel and life out of the fast lane. A few more hours of talking and Marco decided it wasn’t worth going home and bunked down at the back of the restaurant – he rang his girlfriend who was not impressed. We weaved our way back to the hotel only to find that we’d been locked out. I think we woke up most of the guests in the attempt to get the night porter (who must have been the only one to sleep through 10 minutes of bell ringing) to let us in.
During our stay we spent quite a lot of evenings at Mittis pizza place. We downloaded music for him and he returned the favour by giving us homemade chocolate. We talked, drank, smoked and listened to music well into the early hours of the night and Marco often slept in the building so he could get up in time for market and the breakfast trade. His girlfriend was still not amused but we were having too much fun to care. The day we left Marco closed up the restaurant and took a time off to recover, get some sleep and check that he still had a relationship.
Gracias mon amigo, me mucho gusto Cuenca e Mittis – etudes un top bloke.