Thursday, November 12, 2009
So about a month ago, I visited my first beach (in Ecuador)! I went with my sister, Patricia María, brother-in-law, César, and their kids, Paulina and Sebastian. We headed out from Machala the Thursday (Oct. 8) and went to the apartment in Guayaquil (that I went to my first night in Ecuador). The next day we drove up to Salinas (the name of the city and beach) and met some more family (my uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.) It was overcast so no beach that day. Instead, we drove up along the "Ruta del Sol" which is a highway that follows the coast up. First, we drove up for a bit then turned around. We stopped in a little town and I touched the sand for the first time in South America! We backtracked to Montañita, a well-known place for hippies, drugs, dreadlocks, and Bob Marley (yeah!). There weren't many people because it's not the season for beaches yet, but I still saw some hippies! The soundtrack for this tour was 70's music because my uncle loves that stuff. We were flying down the road in our Hyundai bus, singing and watching Earth, Wind, & Fire, Sugarhill Gang, and the Bee Gees on the car's tv screen. We went to a Yacht Club where my uncle is a member. Boy, was this a feeling of the United States! It was crazy. I don't even know what it was about it. Later that night, I went with my cousin, Fernando (about 17), my nephew, Sebastian, and neice, Paulina, to get some ice cream! It was like a Coldstone for a third of the price of Coldstone.
Next day, I went to a little artisan market with some family. We went to the beach but it was still cloudy. I wore a sweatshirt and shades. We got several things from the passing vendors: choclo (a type of corn) with cheese, sunglasses, music, and movies. What service! We went to the Yacht Club to eat some ceviche (I also had some fresh cantalope juice). The Ecuador vs. Uruguay game was on and so we hopped in our van, pulled down the screen, and watched the game on our way to the apartment. Ecuador lost by a close call (there was an uncalled handball on Uruguay in the Uruguay goal box). We started watching a movie, and I thought that the night was over. Wrong! We prepared ourselves (always the trend here) and went to the Yacht Club again. I ate a marvelous dinner - breaded shrimp, risotto, watermelon juice, and ice cream with peaches - that was accompanied by live music, a man with a guitar. After the music man played his Spanish set list, he started with some English songs! He played Cat Stevens, Louis Armstrong, and Eric Clapton. I was singing with him on these.
On Sunday, our last day there, the sun broke out from behind the clouds and shined down. We grabbed our beach gear and ran to the carpet of gold. We played in the Pacific Ocean and César rented two jet skis (Mom, you can rest assured, we did wear life jackets)! At first I rode with Paulina and César rode with Sebastian, and then Paulina and I each rode one solo. This was so incredible! I rode out into the ocean blue toward the horizon that never ended. It was so liberating and exhilarating. The view of the shore, the beach and the buildings, and of the Yacht Club, with all the boats, was very beautiful too. We left for home, eating in Guayaquil at the Tennis Club (like a country club with tennis courts, pools, fitness center) with some more Guayaquil family. Got home to Machala. Then had school the next day which was a slap in the face - back to reality.