Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Montañita, Ecuador

It´s been a few weeks since I´ve last updated the blog, and it feels like ages has passed since being in Baños. I will try to summarize (briefly) my travels accompanied by tantalizing photos for your visual enjoyment.

Upon leaving Quito for Montañita, Andy magically appeared on the same bus. As i´ve now learned, even when traveling ¨on my own¨ I rarely find I am truly by myself! Acquaintances are always popping up in the most unlikely of places. But as companion-oriented as I am, I do not mind one bit.

We arrived to Surfing Inn Hostal in Montañita early on Sunday April 29th to find our dear quirky Johan awakening from his slumber. Meanwhile Andy immediately fell sick (with what we are still not sure) and suffered from horrible headaches and general weakness for the better part of a week. He bacame well acquainted with the local hospital´s staff who declared he did NOT have Dengue nor Meningitis. But the tentative diagnosis of Salomanilla poisoning never made any sense either. ´Tis a mystery, but he is alive and well and after a week he took off for Argentina.

The people I met in Montañita were a diverse group in terms of ages and personalities. Señora Maria Perla was the kind and motherly owner of the hostal, and she kept us in line and made sure we cleaned up after ourselves in the kitchen. She also invited us into her own home and laughingly watched Borat with us. Brett was the only other boarder at the hostal, a charismatic Australian surfer arranging to buy land and live near the town. Greg, Brett´s spontaneous and crazy Aussie traveling partner crashed back into Montañita toward the end of the first week after a whirlwind trip to Peru with a Peruana. Lastly, in my core group of acquantainces was Jimmy. Jimmy is an intelligent and wonderfully alive guy from the U.S. in his 60´s who touts the attitude of a 25-year-old. Jimmy is living out his retirement in a very different way than most older Americans I know. He is a musician and retired professor, who surfs and body boards, and likes to chat over a good cup of coffee about the peculiarities of life and politics. An admirable role model.

My loose routine in Montañita was to wake up by 7 am, get a newspaper, make a fresh batch of coffee straight from the Colombian sierra, and greet Johan and Brett as they lazily arose for a morning swim/surf. I spent the afternoons reading or swimming or walking, and the evenings almost always included a swim right before sunset and good food whipped-up with Chef Johan´s direction, or when we felt lazy, good pasta and wine at a local Italian´s restaurant.

Once we took an enjoyable day trip up the coast to different surfing spots, including Ayampe, Las Tunas, Puerto Lopez, and Puerto Cayo with a local acqaintance. We had just as much fun talking and watching the scenery pass by from the back of the pickup as we did surfing!

Another highlight was scuba-diving at Isla de la Plata, or as they commonly refer to it as ¨Poor Man´s Galapagos¨. With Johan as my diving partner, we saw many eels, large marine turtles, big schools of brightly colored tropical fish, a blow fish, rays, and beautiful corals among other things.

At the end of a prolonged stay of 2 weeks, I resistingly packed up my things and headed for Vilcabamba, Ecuador to volunteer on a WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) farm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahah.sorry pussycat,but it was me who made MARIA make everybody clean the kitchen..She was really upset and stressing about the mess and I told her to just put her footdown as that was the fairest thing to do,considering Diannas workload was heavy enough as it was ,she is caring caring for 3 little ninas and shouldnt have to clean other peoples dishes..Im too soft for my own good.......Plus Johan would refuse to turn the music down and it kept Pancho,Dianna and the 3 kids awake and that pissed me off greatly but 99% of the time Im too mellow to lay down the law......haaaaaaa ,what a double agent.