Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hairy Negotiations

I didn’t make it out to the Discotecha on Saturday night, because I was exhausted! My dad, Carmen, Dwight, and his daughter Megan set out in search of some horses. The idea is to start a small horseriding business outside of the hotel. One of our friends said he knew of a guy, who knew a guy, who could show us some great horses to buy. We set out at about 10:30 to Bahia to catch the ferry. It is $.30 a person to take the ferry from Bahia over to San Vicente and they get their moneys worth by loading 20 people onto this small boat. Once you are on the ferry everyone just sits in silence and/or stares at you! HAHA some ferry’s have disco lights on them and play music, but mostly it is a quiet ride across the waters. WARNING: To those who get sea sick often, do not climb aboard!

San Vicente, Ecuador

Once we climbed off the ferry onto land again, we passed by a ton of vendors before reaching the truck we would be riding in. Sausage, queso, cowboy hats, veggies, pollo (chicken), horse saddles and etc… we climbed into the back of an old pickup truck where they said it would be another 5 kilometers. An hour later, we were still going! However, the countryside was BEAUTIFUL! Extremely lush with tons of vegetation and huge trees with white blooms and banana trees everywhere! We passed a few shrimp farms and picked up some Canadian hitch hikers on their way to go paragliding off a nearby cliff. I saved a perro from being run over as well. The dogs here LOVE to sleep in the middle of the road and as we know from my previous posts that when riding in a vehicle here you shut your eyes! I whistled and almost screamed when a car was about to hit a dog going the other direction! He got up in the nick of time and flew out of the way!

We pulled up to the first farm and out comes a 6 year old male horse. They wanted over $250 for it, which Megan pointed out is too much even in Canada . It was really muddy and of course I wore flip flops….I don’t know what I was thinking. The second farm we went to just had two horses and they were too young. The 3rd No negotiations were made unfortunately. We felt like there was some hairy business going on, so we made our peace and left! The wind whipping at my face, the air cool and crisp, the view of the land so green and lush and my mind at ease, life can’t get much better than this!
ranch/hacienda we went to we had to climb down a huge steep hill and when we finally made it down there they told us they didn’t have any horses. AH! So we had to climb ALL the way back up! I thought the coastal regions were so quaint and peaceful, but nothing compares to these inland regions…pictures don’t even give the life here justice, but of course I always include some pics just for you to get an idea of what I am experiencing.

On the way back to the ferry there was a huge rush of people in the streets and then a man on a stretcher carried out of the crowd. It looked like he had a heart attack…but the nearest hospital was in Bahia, across the water on the taxi.

We had dinner at Porto Amistad, hambergesas con queso and watched as a 16 year old pregnant girl had a huge baby shower right there in the restaurant. They had a cerveza baby bottle contest, a blind folded feed your partner contest and measure the belly contest, What a day! Needless to say I took a well deserved nap on the way back to San Clemente.

Hasta Luego!

Gumbo Fiesta

Yesterday my dad and I decided we should have a gumbo party. We gathered all the ingredients and invited the crew. It was so much fun! People came from close by cities to gather for the occasion. Santiago brought out Dwights guitar and started playing country music on it, took me back home! He also played some local tunes and everyone sand along. It’s funny how everyone knows each other through friends here. The gumbo chef, mi padre, did an excellent job and everyone wanted seconds of the gumbo. We included freshly caught shrimp and local sausage as well as fresh veggies from our garden on grounds. There were about 15-20 of us and we finished off about 15 20oz bottles of Brauma beer, a bottle of rum and most of the tequila…now that’s a party!!

PS. The picture of the door is because our downstairs bathroom door is broken. If you use the bathroom and shut the door it automatically locks you in. The more we drank the more fun we had with people going in there and trying to get out. It was so loud you couldn’t even hear anyone knock!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

3 Weeks

A friend for Tucker...first pug I have seen in Ecuador. His name was Goddy

Yesterday was perfect!

My hammock on the beach

Dinner at Dwight's place...yummy curry chicken

Tres amigos....Dwight, Daniel (mi padre) y Santiago

HAPPY 3 WEEKS TO ME! Yes, I can't believe it, its been 3 weeks since my arrival to San Clemente. The weather the past few days has been kind of cloudy, but yesterday the sun came out and I got some great pictures! Thanks to everyone for their comments, I really enjoyed reading them!

I should be getting a phone here soon. Everyone has the prepaid phones here from either Porta or Allegro. You can get plans here for as little as $10 a month, but most everyone just buys the minutes on cards. This is what I had when I was 16 in the states. BUT its amazing how caught up with cell phones everyone is here, even in the rural towns.

Trees like the one shown above are seen all over the Manabi province area of Ecuador. They remind me of something out of the Wizard of Oz...with human like branches. These trees are called Ceibo. They actually feed the larvae of moths and butterflies. The flowers on these trees are like fluffy white blooms. Very pretty! They are the national trees for Argentina and Urguay, but are only found on the west part of Ecuador.

Every Sabado (Saturday) is discotecha night. All the locals come out to the center of town and there is the town bar/club where everyone dances. I enjoy these nights, it makes me feel at home :) I will say though, I really miss country music. Salsa dancing is the main type of dancing here...its like they learn the steps while they are still in their mother's tummy! The men here LOVE to dance, and they are good at it! When I go to clubs in the US you have to beg the guy to come dance with you or they have to get a few drinks in them beforehand. It's just part of the culture here...everyone dances! It releases stress!!

Thank you everyone for following my blog! We are so blessed in many ways! I am so thankful for this opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures. It has been quite the adventure thus far and I still have about 5 more months!! I will be returning to the US, December 7th.

Love you all!!

May peace be with you

Saturday, July 17, 2010


High tide

The beach outside the hotel

Its amazing how fast the time flies here. Even though it seems like I might not have a busy day, things are always coming up to do here. Someone is almost always making a trip into one of the bigger cities and anyone can catch a ride. What I have started to realize is what you planned yesterday never quite turns out the same for today.

Originally the plan was to go to Manta with Andrea on her day off...Miercoles (Wednesday). Well, it turned out Andrea's daughter was sick so instead of taking the bus, Dwight our neighbor picked me up and then our driver George (pronounced Hor-hey) picked up Henry on of the managers at the hotel and then we went to San Jaciento to pick up Andrea and her baby Amy (she is 4). So needless to say it was a full house with a sick baby going over the bumpy roads about an hour into Manta.

Manta is the capital city of the Manabi county, which is located on the east coast of Ecuador. It is very busy with lots of stores, a big mall and the market. Let me explain to you the road system here in Ecuador; you close your eyes when you ride in the car! Haha...its amazing how few of accidents there are, the people here really know the roads. Even the buses just weave in and out of traffic passing cars on a one lane road curving around a mountain. So I have learned if I am on the bus to shut the curtains and if I am in the car to say a little prayer and shut my eyes!

After we dropped Andrea and Amy off at the doctor, Dwight, Henry and I had to run some errands. First stop was the mall...Did you know KFC is the most popular fast food restaurant here? I bought a few long sleeve shirts for the night time here. It has been unusually cool at night for this season. Since Ecuador (means equator in Spanish) is located right by the equator, the seasons are reversed. They still call it summer and winter like we do, however their summer is the cooler months and winter is their hot, sunny months! Its kinda hard to get use to, but either way its their "winter" now and its been in the 70's. Just beautiful. Perfect!

So our second stop was to visit Dwights lawyer in a really tall building downtown. On the way there we passed by all these vendors and one was holding up the cutest puppies! They looked like teddy bears, they were so fluffy. I pointed them out to Dwight and then we went to the lawyer. On the way out Dwight was like lets find those puppies. Long story short, we found them and after 20 minutes of me using what little Spanish I knew, bartered with them and got BOTH puppies for the price of one! Go me! And that's how I ended up with this cute little Tequila. (For those of you who know I already have the cutest puppy on earth named Tucker- no Tequila has NOT taken his place :) Thanks mom for babysitting him while I am gone!)

Matty and Tequila

By then we picked Andrea back up and she had asked me to go to a funeral with her. One of her friends father had passed away a few days earlier and I told her I would go. The funeral started at 2 and it was 4 by the time she got out of the doctors. She said lets go, its probably still going on. Now I have been to maybe two funerals in my life and had no idea what a Latin American funeral was going to be like. Turns out we missed the funeral, but we drove through the Cementery looking for her friend.

What I realized was how colorful the graveyard was. I remember visiting ones similar in the states and they were just so plain and a few flowers here and there. I saw a woman weeping with her husband at a site. But what really stood out was the HUGE bouquet of flowers she was placing in a vase on the gravestone. All these flowers are so fresh and beautiful! It was almost like visiting a garden rather than a graveyard. The plaques were simple and not many statues, but the flowers just made the whole place come to life. It made me think maybe family and friends visited these sites weekly. It seems like even the dead here are given more respect and love than some of us give our family at home! Which brings me to something else I have learned here about the Latin American culture.

It is fairly normal for a woman to be pregnant at an early age here. Most of the girls in their early twenties have at least one child. And since it is predominately Catholic religion here, the Catholic church doesn't recognize divorce. Plus divorce is really expensive, so most married couples just split and go on to have significant others. But what really gets me is the way the children are raised. Its not uncommon to leave a small child at home by themselves. And its not uncommon for the mother to still go out and have fun til wee hours and leave the child at home with a mother or grandmother, no problem! I guess that is why the family unit is so important. Abortions are illegal here. But what I thought was so ironic was when I asked about birth control this is what I learned. Birth control is $15 for a months worth of pills and it requires no prescription. So why aren't women taking more precautions? My guess is because of the religious aspect? It's just so funny that women in the US go out of their way to pay for birth control and to prevent unwanted pregnancy, when here it is as common as brushing your teeth- ok not THAT common, but you get my point.
*These are just conclusions I have made based on my experiences thus far.

Well tonight is Sabado...which means the local discotech (club)! Tequila is asleep at my feet right now and I am about to get ready for dinner at Dwight's and then heading out to the town. I am going to start trying to write a new post at least every other day now, if not everyday! I appreciate all of those who continuously read my posts! I enjoy hearing all your comments. I have a trip planned for next Thursday to Isla de Platas to go scuba diving and whale watching, so I will have some good pics coming soon.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Stay Tuned...

Stay tuned for a new blog tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm back!


Church on hill in Bahia


Santiago en tienda de computadora

I'm back! The internet has been in and out, so I haven't had a chance to write as much, BUT I have a lot to say!

Time is endless here. It's so easy to loose track of it. No clocks except on your phone and no reason to keep track anyways. No important stressful deadlines, just living day to day in paradise. I am truly grateful to have such an amazing opportunity. In the little time I have been here my outlook on life has changed to being very stressed always on the run, to enjoying life's little moments. Like last night for instance, the stars finally came out, they were beautiful reflecting on the water. Also, the sunsets here are absolutely breath taking (I will post pictures soon).

The people I have met here, the ones that come to visit for a long period of time from other countries all have one common bond. The attraction of peace and harmony into their lives. They want to live blissfully and be surrounded by people who feel the same way. San Clemente offers this to anyone who comes here. I have met people from California, Canada, Arizona, Germany, Italy, Norway, and other countries too. Its fascinating talking with them to understand just why they came all over the world to a little fisherman town, San Clemente.

The first night I hung out with the local "kids" was quite an experience. A few of them spoke English and the rest told me solamente Espanol (only Spanish). I have been picking up the dialect here and there, even had a dream in Spanish the other night. I am hoping to have it down pretty well by the time I leave! haha It was midnight after we finished watching a movie and we all decided to go to the center of town. It was completely dead. Even the dogs were asleep. I was wondering how they were planning on getting some alcohol, but sure enough, where there's a will, there's a way! One of the girls whistled and Nayos the liquor man takes down a few boards that opened up to a window on the 2nd floor of his store. Then she said a few words in Spanish and a plastic beach bucket attached to a rope was lowered with the alcohol in it. What a great idea! Then she placed the money in the bucket and we were on our way to the beach. Everything here is an adventure! Everyone taught me this new drinking game too! Its called "My Ship." This game is played in a circle and one person is "it" and says My ship comes to port with....then they proceed to name a category for instance cars. Then everyone in the circle has to name a brand of car and if it takes you more than 3 seconds to think of one then you drink and you're it! It was really fun, cause even though I didn't know a lot of Spanish I could still play!

A few days ago, Santiago, Carmen, my dad and I took a trip to Bahia. Santiago showed us around the city a bit and then took us to the escuela (school). He asked if we wanted to see Miguel. Well sure we said, but who is Miguel??? Miguel is the 180 year old turtle who lives at the school, there are only 25 left of him in the world. Miguel is very taken care of by the students, he even gets to hang out in the classroom!! Santiago is making it his goal to turn this school into a technical school. He works at a computer repair shop and will also be teaching computer classes at the school soon. That night we went to an American style restaurant and then headed to the local discotecha (aka club). The news people were there with cameras taping a promotional advertisement for Bahia and guess who was in it?! ME! haha Fun times... It just proves you can have a fun time anywhere!

Last night was another disco night! I met up with a few of the locals to go to a fiesta and then to the discotecha. The locals are great here! They love to have fun and the whole night was full of dancing and hanging out!

Well the past few days have been a blast...and to top it all off Espana won!!!

Hasta Luego,

Portoviejo triceleta con frutas!

The girls!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Trip to Portoviejo

Sorry its been awhile! The internet at the hotel/condos has been down with very little connectivity. We are hoping they get this fixed soon! I will post as often as I can! Also, even though you are a follower of my blog doesn't mean that it will email you updates. You have to go into your account settings and ask them to email you when I have an update!

I took a trip with Lordes the manager of Palmazul to Portoviejo a few days ago. I traveled on the bus for the first time. We got lucky cause most of the azul (blue) buses are muy malo (very bad), but I think ours was new! The ride was very easy, except for everyone staring at the gringo (ME!). The bus ride from San Clemente to Portoviejo was about an hour long, with many stops. When the bus was full people still piled on and just held onto the seats or the metal bars on the ceiling. A little boy not more than 10 years old got on the bus and started making an announcement loudly...he then proceeded to start singing and walking up and down the aisle. He stopped in front of me and sang a romantic song and of course I gave him 25cents for his effort. He could have been an orphan or just a beggar in general...this is common.
It was about $1.00 each way to travel to Portoviejo. Every stop along the way a vendor got on the bus to sell something...water, ice cream, banana couldn't go hungry!!

-I will post more later...I have to go! On our way to see a huge tortoise!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A little adventure!

For some reason it is dark in some of these pics.

The before pictures of the wedding (la Boda)at Palmazul hotel in San Clemente. What an amazing day it turned out to be for the bride and groom. Jessica and her staff did an outstanding job and worked really hard to get every detail in place to make today a special one!

The wedding was just icing on the cake today! My dad and I decided early on to venture towards Crucita, a nearby ciudad (city) about 10 miles away. He had purchased a motorcycle a few months prior so we thought today would be a perfect day for a countryside stroll. Right outside of San Clemente, we felt a thud and when we slowed down we realized the back tire had a flat! Just another adventure we decided as we made our way to the nearest tire shop about a mile away.

When we got there no one was around, so we thought maybe it was closed. Mi padre yelled "Hola" and a man next door sleeping in a hammock got up to greet us. Three little boys, Yonathan, Bryan and Jose sat there watching his father fix our tire. I managed to get their names and how old they were! I am really glad my 4 years of Spanish lessons in school paid off...haha. This tire repair guys technique's were amazing! He was fast, yet very detailed on everything. In about 30 minutes our tire was fixed and we were on our way back. He told us he repaired it, but that we should get another tube to ride around on. Guess how much it cost?! I mean I was shocked! I kept thinking, its not going to be expensive, but maybe like
$10- he did spend 30 minutes on it! Nope! I was wrong...$2 later, we hit the road.

Later that night we went to Graziani's Pizzeria. Gabriel the Italian made us fresh brick oven pizza, his specialty! It was yummy! Gabriel (the Italian) and Meyers (the German) are the hot spots in town and not too far from the hotel. They both ventured down to the little town of San Clemente to get away just like a lot of people do when they come down here.

It is utopia here, the flowers are picturesque, vegetation is lush, people are friendly and happy, the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks are lullaby's to your ears, and everyday is an adventure. There aren't enough words to describe living in paradise. I am so thankful for this experience! My wish is for you to be able to find your own paradise!

La vida es muy excellente!