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.



  1. Hey girl! It looks like a blast. What an experience!! I look forward to hearing more. I'm envious of your scuba excursion, but can't wait to read about it and see pics. Take care & stay out of trouble. As "mi madre" en espana would say, "Tan cuidado!". (Be careful.) She would say this each time we went somewhere at night. So cute.

    Love ya,

  2. This is Elizabeth. I interned with you at McElroy. :) I really enjoy reading your blog! How long will you be living in paradise?

  3. Hope if you don't mind if I follow you on your adventure too! I am your Aunt Terri's sister, Lisa. I met you when you were little and hear about you all the time. What a wonderful experience! I am really enjoying your blog!