I found out yesterday that after reading my post on the first day at Pulingue, my parents worried that I was being worked to death. Between that post and me not using the internet for almost a week (because of my trip!), my mom felt worried enough that she called Jeremiah and asked him if he’d heard from me. I hope I didn’t sound that stressed out and I hope that it doesn’t seem like I’m complaining much about being here. The beginning of anything really different is always difficult and confusing, but I can say with certainty that I love it here! If you’ve felt sorry for me because of my posts, well, you’re about to feel jealous… hehehe. I got to experience La Costa, Ecuador’s sunnier, warmer, beachier area.
Quick explanation of the trip, and then I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. It was really fortunate- I arrived in Quito just two days after another volunteer and before flying here, we made arrangements to stay in the same hostel and head to Riobamba together. Since then, this girl has been one of my sources of comfort in Ecuador. Her name is Felicia and she’s from Sweden (but her English is great, as well as her Spanish- her passion and talent for learning other languages humbles me). She will also be here for six months, which pleases me greatly. After grabbing breakfast and running a few frantic errands around Quito with her (more on these later- they have to do with my Visa), her host sister picked us up in Quito, which was really great because otherwise we’d have had to take a bus and it would have taken about 5 hours to get to Riobamba. Her host sister is named Diana. She’s 23, goes to a university here in Riobamba, and works for Teach English, Volunteer! She’s lovely. This is so typical of Ecuadorians and their warmth with others, but on our car-ride to Riobamba from Quito, Diana informed us that we came at a good time because in a week, the schools would have a five day weekend. She invited both her host sister and I to join her during this break for a vacation at the beach. We’d only known each other for an hour or so and she was inviting me to travel with her- so kind. Of course I accepted!
Last Tuesday evening, the three of us boarded a bus. Wednesday morning, we were in the small, chill coastal town of Muisne. We met Diana’s boyfriend there (he’s an officer in the military here and is stationed at a base in Muisne), waited in our hotel for the morning rain to cease, then in the afternoon, enjoyed the tranquil, lost treasure sort of beach that Muisne is. On Thursday, one of Marco’s friends (Cristien) joined us and after more afternoon beers in Muisne than I care to admit (I wasn’t the one paying for them!), Cristien drove us to Atacamas, a much more popular tourist destination. Atacamas is, by far, the busiest beach I’ve ever been to. Our hotel (which Marco scored for free through his connection with the owner- amazing) was a two minute walk from the beach and everything that came with the beach: restaurants, venders, delicious seafood, dance clubs… We stayed in Atacamas until Saturday night and our three days consisted of nothing but sun-bathing; body surfing; saying “no gracias” to aggressive beach venders (but every now and then, “si, gracias!); dancing until early hours of the morning to loud Spanish salsa, hip-hop, merengue, raggaeton, and some English hits; sleeping, and eating. I didn’t realize how badly I needed a relaxing vacation. I came home incredibly refreshed, more ready to be in the Sierra, teaching English, than ever. Here are some pictures:
I love all the different sides to Ecuador. It was wonderful to spend time in the very different Coastal area. Wonderful. I think this was the warmest ocean water I’ve ever swam in. Ecuador is incredible. At some point, I hope to visit the third region- El Oriente, the Amazon region… but I’m very content with the Sierra. As much as I love the beach, I like the lifestyle, the culture, and the mountains of the Sierra more. I had a great trip, but I was ready to come home, which was a nice feeling.