Arrived here in Ecuador and traversed customs just fine, though our bags where behind us by a few hours, at 6:00 AM on Wednesday. We spent the morning at the local University playing frisbee on their basketball court and talking to students who showed us a good place to get some breakfast. They´ve got some killer fruit here. We then jumped in a cab back to the airport and thankfully had no problem getting our gear. There it was nice and tidy in the American Air baggage cage. Hooray! Once we were set to leave the city, we did. Taking a taxi to the bus station a very friendly kid showed us the proper bus to get on, and promptly took our money in exchange for a ticket and a tip. We got front row seats on the bus that cruized through the hills to the coast, stopping every so often to pick up and drop off – standard bus fare. At one city the bus driver looked at us and started giving us the ¨this is your transfer routine,¨ I think normally I´d have more caution in such an exchange, but they seemed so admit about the whole thing that it was hard not to trust them. They graciously pulled our bags out of the bottom storage and sent us on our way, toward the other bus. This bus crew quickly hiked up the ladder on the side of the bus and pitched both our bags onto the roof with one hand … strong dude, I think my bag is at least 60 pounds. This bus ride was much more cavalier. Fare was collect by an 8 year old and then given to the old woman right next to me who was the curator of the operation. As for roads, they have them, but it´s like driving in Costa Mesa where repair is few and far between. Knowing this, the drivers take the liberty of avoiding every pot hole possible putting us on both left and right shoulders, making it easy to get to know your neighbor. We finally got to Montiañita where, with our bags, we were quite obvious about our arrival. We picked a spot to stay (The Happy Donkey), got our keys, paid our $3.50 and dropped our gear to scope out the rest of the ´town.´
I´m not really sure how describe this town. It´s small and it´s touristy for other Ecuadorians. After being here for a number of days I´ve learned that this is the beach city for the locals. The city´s extent is a road, that I´ve dubbed Una Via after the only existent street sign, full of mixed use residential. Bars and shops under hostels and habaticiones, essentially rooms for rent. Outside of Una Via there are a few tiendas, but nothing more than some small homes and the main road. Our hotel was at one end of Una VIa and had a view of the bread shop across the way, it wasn´t so bad for living in Ecuador, but….We met some Canadian ladies who moved into our stay the second night and collectively agreed that we could find better living else where, so now we´re neighbors at a much nicer place down the road.
Today was the third day of surf for us. The first day I was surfing a 6´10´´ and preformed fairly well for not knowing the break, the following day the surfing I did was split between a 9´4´´ (the one I was able to walk the nose on) and a 6´8´´ which I had some rides with. The break here is just like San Clemente, beach breaks with short rides, left or right, and fairly inconsistent save the point. The point is where competitions are held and where all the skilled surfers end up. Not being the best short boarder in Montañita, I´ve yet to experience the point surf, though it looks much better than what I´ve been on so far. Further, I´m officially an international ´Surf Instructor.¨ The Canadians are finishing their 3 month stint in Ecuador here in Montañita and wanted to learn to surf. Of course it´s in their best interest to save the $12 for lessons and enjoy their time in the water with some nice American fellas, so yesterday for our services they paid the rental fees. Thus my first bit of work down here.
We´re not sure how long we´re going to stay at this beach resort. We put down $100 for 10 nights at this new place where we´ll both get our own room, bathroom, and hammock. – I think after a while we may be too burnt and too lazy to stay any longer. Though, before we leave Jon´s thinking he wants to buy a balsa board (about $500 for a 9´) I´m thinking I´ll just learn how to make balsa boards and come back to the States and sell those puppies. ¿eh? (you like that double question mark¿? that´s using a fancy Latin keyboard for you.)
I got sick for about a day thus far, not good odds I know, but I´m feeling better now and am going to pay closer attention to what kind of things go into my system. The Canadians said they´ve had their stints of sickness and gave me some pointers on places to go-things to get if it doesn´t settle it´s self out.
Otherwise I´m lying in a hammock and surfing in 73 degree water, it´s tough to beat. Until next time I´m safe and content.