Sunday, June 13, 2010

Home Safe and Sound

Beach at Canoa

Our room was on the second floor with a view of the cliffs to the north and the lagoon immediately in front of us. It was directed away from the activity at the bar, so I had no trouble sleeping hidden under my mosquito net. Maya was up at 6, ready to play in the sand. She was starving, so I agreed to join her for breakfast by 7 (I slept almost twelve hours!). I was surprised that the restaurant was full, and of course the World Cup was playing, with keen observers at the edge of their seats! Maya played with her friend Martina and somehow the morning sped by.

We had a choice to drive north along the coast before heading inland toward Quito, or south to Bahia de Caraquez. The plan was to look for another beach for a swim. We decided that we could not tolerate the bumpy road back to San Vicente, so north it was, a little inland initially, past denuded forests and scrappy towns. The road was paved (hurrah!) with little traffic. We saw glimpses of the ocean along the way, especially when we descended to the coastal towns. We stopped at Pedernales, where we had shrimp pizza at the beach, and Maya and Eric went swimming while I watched another World Cup game between Germany and Australia. The beach was packed with locals, and as Eric claimed, the ocean and the water is the same wherever we chose to stop, but the beach was neither clean nor attractive. I had hoped to travel further north and search for another, better beach, but Eric was eager to return to Quito and get back to work. Our funds were dwindling, so it made sense to travel home, but I was disappointed that we had not gone further. We stopped at three gas stations before we found one that took credit cards, and had to try even more places to find a store open so we could buy some ice cream for dinner.

The road to El Carmen and then to Santo Domingo was paved and easy to drive. From Santo Domingo to Aloag, the road conditions were terrifying, and again, it was dark through most of it, so I was thankful that we arrived home safely. It was a little crazy to drive to the beach and back in two days, and I had never planned it quite this way, but I guess we did get to the beach, although more time there would have been better. I promised Maya we would try to get back to the beach when her school is over.

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