My day started out on the beach with Maya watching the pelicans fly low over the water, diving in when they saw a fish, gobbling down their food, lifting off and diving again.I was happy to stay out there all day. It is interesting that tourists fly all the way to Galapagos to see so many exotic animals, when we can ignore them in our backyards. Florida appears to be a paradise to me, with birds of all sorts. My mother and I passed over a bridge yesterday and saw a very proud and large heron standing beside a fisherman, waiting to share in the catch of the day. I was stunned to see the large bird right next to the man and oblivious to the sound of the cars driving over the bridge. He appears to know the routine and was certain that he would have his dinner that afternoon.
I am enjoying this little vacation on the beach. The location is exquisite, and its best feature is how calm and quiet it is all day long. I cannot hear anything when I sleep except for the slight breeze outside my open balcony door. There is no noise or disturbance day or night. It is only the light streaming through the open balcony that awakens me. I walk outside and look over the water. There are no dogs barking or trucks shouting throughout the streets selling gas canisters (typical Quito morning). I am enjoying my kitchen, which is as big as my living/dining/kitchen area in my apartment in Quito. I am taking advantage of this space and made French toast with the obligatory maple syrup (I am afraid it will all be gone by the time we return to Quito!), and then baked a key lime pie and a key lime cheese cake and a pumpkin cheesecake and for dinner had a crowd of 12 for shrimp and salmon and asparagus and carrots and salad. I do not want to leave this kitchen!!!!
I did have a chance to do last minute Christmas shopping and braved the crowds and the waiting in line to complete my lists. My father was desperate to get out of the house and see a little bit of the area. It is a very long drive to the shopping centre, and once again I was struck by the wide open spaces. I did not realize how tight everything feels in Quito. This is urban (?suburban? ) sprawl with one city blending into the next, from St Pete Beach to Pasadena to St Petersburg. Buildings are wide apart, there are large areas of green, and the terrain is flat. It could be that Quito feels 'tight' because it is sandwiched between high mountains and is built up the sides of the valleys. In Quito it feels as if there are too many people crowded in a tight space whereas here only in the shopping malls do I feel that. Especially at Christmas time.
We had a fun and funny Christmas Eve dinner with both Eric's and my family. We sang Christmas songs and Abba songs, the latter which Tara teaches to primary school children, complete with hand movements and gestures to indicate meaning. We all like to sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas' with specific hand movements, and had everyone laughing and joining in.
Singing Christmas Carols
Singing Christmas Carols
I am happy to see my family. I realize that home is where one's family is, and am lucky to be here celebrating with them. My day ended with a midnight walk on the beach with the moon illuminating the scene. Once again it was peaceful and serene.