Friday, June 25, 2010

On to the Beach

Folkloric Dance

St Augustin at Night

I have lost my enthusiasm for soccer. In truth, I rarely watch any sports. The exception is the World Cup every four years, and I always cheer for Italy. I remember watching every game during my internship year at St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal, I went to the Rosebowl when Brasil won against Italy after overtime and a shootout, I was in Berlin four years ago and watched almost every game through to the final, with great enthusiasm and excitement. Ecuador was at the World Cup that year, and it was fun to cheer the team on with all Ecuadorian flags and fans. This year, I started watching every game, but when France imploded and then Italy failed to get through the first round, and of course Ecuador never qualified anyway, I am struggling with who to cheer for. And it is too difficult to watch the teams I care about do so poorly. Ecuadorians are quite happy to see the South American teams do well, but I am not quite there yet. I am avoiding television screens, which are turned on to the games all day. All the more reason to go to the beach and stay outside.

Deciding on going to the beach was easy. Choosing which one to visit was more of a challenge. Esmeraldas is six hours away by bus, but we would have to leave at 11 PM and arrive at 6 AM. And the beaches are crowded and when I talked to Karin, Maya's violin teacher, to tell her we would miss our violin lesson Monday, she was at the beach at Tonsupe south of Atacames, and told me there was no sun. Puerto Lopez was 10 hours away by bus, and the bus left at 8 PM and arrived at its destination at 6 AM. Unfortunately the bus was full when I checked so that was not an option. Another limitation was that the hotel we chose would have to take credit cards, and that meant that the less expensive options were not possible. I chose a place that would offer me a room and all meals, and decided to take the plane to Manta and a two hour busride along the coast to our destination. Maya does not do well on buses, and urged me to decide on the plane (also payable by credit card). It took all morning to make my decision. When we went to a travel agency to book our trip, it took another two hours of waiting and discussion and pondering and reviewing. This is the Ecuadorian way; nothing is done quickly or efficiently, at least not in my experience.

So we are off to the beach. We will be staying close to Machalilla Park, so if there is no sun, we have archeological ruins and Isla de la Plata (much like Galapagos) nearby. In addition, the whales have started their migration along the coast, and we are expecting to see whales during our visit. Maya does not need sun to enjoy the beach. There is snorkeling and waves and bodysurfing and sand; all that is necessary with or without sun.

Hasta La Vuelta Señor

There was little time to enjoy the wonderful sunshine in Quito. Maya's orchestra practice is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:30 to 5:30. We decided to enjoy our evening in the Centro Historico, where the churches were lit up and after dinner at 'Hasta La Vuelta, Señor', we watched the folkoric dance the Archbishop's Palace. It was a wonderful evening of pasacalles, indigenous and mestizo dances, all of which were familiar to me; I realize how much folkloric dance I have seen this year, and how often I have enjoyed the music and the dancing and the colours and the traditions that are typical for Ecuador. I found myself clapping and stamping my feet with each number. I wonder whether I will ever hear this music when we are back in Baltimore.


  1. Like they say "it's a small world". I commented once about us having crossed paths in that I have lived in Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver, but St Mary's Hospital really caught my eye. I worked there several years a long time ago, and both of my sons were born there. I have lots of fond memories of that place.

  2. OH MY!!!! Unbelievable! I worked at St. Mary´s in 1982 when I did my internship, and then two more years in the ER and the outpatient unit....I loved Montreal and am delighted that my daughter plans to study next year at McGill, so I will be visiting regularly!