Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hoping for Sunshine

Off we go. Another beach vacation that does not quite turn out to be the beach vacation we planned. It is summer in the southern hemisphere and therefore it is in fact winter. There is no sun and it rains and drizzles and the sky is unrelentingly grey. Our day started with wonderful Quito sunshine. We flew past Cotopaxi and Chimborazo and turned tight toward the Pacific and on to Manta. Maya and I were so very excited in anticipation of warmth and sunshine and sand. We chose to save the $70 trip to Puerto Lopez and take the bus. Our taxi driver from the airport offered to drive us for $35, but we still (why oh why?) insisted on the bus. We were delighted to find a bus headed for Puerto Lopez at the makeshift 'bus station' (a gathering place with buses) waiting to leave, but then we found ourselves waiting some more to collect additional passengers. And waiting and waiting. The world cup was being televised but I was no longer interested, so I did not pay attention to who was playing . It was over an hour later that we finally left the bus station for the drive down the coast. We stopped every few miles for more passengers, and the bus filled up until the aisles were impassable. Maya was horrified with the film choice, about young girls who are kidnapped and trained to be assassins. Buses always choose these violent martial arts movies to entertain us, and one cannot help but watch, since the volume insists. I hardly watched the scenery, it was grey and uninviting anyway.

When we arrived in Puerto Lopez, a unkempt little town on the water, we got off the bus but promptly got back on to pick up more passengers and ride up the hill to our hotel. Finally, four hours later, we climbed up to the entrance to our colourful home for the next few days, shrouded in fog and mist and grey and the sky drizzling incessantly. The incredible view of the Pacific from our room never materialized.

View of the Sea

After lunch, we asked where we could go for an afternoon adventure. Our hotel was not on the beach as we imagined it to be. There was not enough time to go too far, so Eduardo, the manager of the lodge, suggested we walk out to the road, turn left, find a water facility on the left side to the road and turn right past an empty building on the right side of the road. There was a sign prohibiting us from taking the path we found, since the beach was a nesting site for sea turtles, but we had been advised to ignore the sign. There was a misty rain falling, we were in flip flops, certainly not appropriate footwear, but we forged ahead anyway. Two inches of mud stuck to the bottom of our shoes, which was not easy to get rid of. I finally took my flip flops off, and the mud collected on the soles of my feet so I felt protected. The path was narrow and overgrown with vegetation and went on and on. We could hear the ocean, so we persisted, and finally came to a wonderfully secluded beach. The waves were pounding, there were seabirds fishing, we were alone in this exquisite corner of the world. It was still raining lightly. I spent a long time in the tepid water cleaning off my shoes and feet and hands and whatever else was caked with mud. It was a small patch of sand with rocky cliffs at either end.

We were less muddy and far wetter when we started our climb out. We heard birds everywhere -- this is likely a birder's paradise! Maya immediately got a stick of wood in her foot, which I pulled out but left much of it in her sole. I had foregone my flipflops, but Maya kept hers on as she struggled up the hill in the rain. We arrived back in our room wet and bedraggled and spent as long as we could getting warm in the shower.

These Snails Appeared Everywhere

Our evening was devoted to reading and relaxing. I realized our 'beach' vacation was not going to be lolling about in the sun and surfing waves. We were on the 'Ruta del Sol' near Machalilla Park, with dry tropical forest and archeological treasures to explore, and Isla de la Plata nearby, and whales to see.


  1. 欣賞是一種美德~回應是最大的支持^^.................................................................