Ocean ocean ocean. October 2014


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a group of pelicans is called a pod sweetie.
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Sometimes people have really great ideas. Like when Erin emailed to see how serious I was about wanting to explore Ecuador. Or when my loose itinerary ideas had us ending with 4 nights on the coast. *happy dance*

Montanita is a total vacation and surf town. And it’s an entertaining blend of vacationing families as well as hedonistic twenty-somethings. Another of our good ideas was actually booking lodging ahead of time, as we arrived on Friday night. Reviews for Hostal Kundalini mention it is out of town, short walk, and so quieter. Well, kind of. Since that was written it seems town has expanded past this place. And the blaring and dueling sound systems from multiple bars, dance clubs, shacks on the beach, can be heard well into the morning. Glad I packed my ear plugs. The “official” music ends around 4am. But other hostal guests continue their partying and playing music of their own until 7am. So, sleep has been in fitful stages.

Happily our itinerary is low key and has no real demands on us until we need to catch a bus on Tuesday. We wander around town. The streets are lined with actual stores and then more mobile vendors, set up in booths and tables, or just walking around carrying a board of jewelry or sunglasses. My favorite thing is all the mobile bars. The streets are lined with tables, each full of liquor bottles, fresh fruit, and one blender. There are easily ten or more of these, on each side of each Street. Not sure how they all sell enough to stay open. Many of the vacationers are Ecuadorian and I am coveting most of the alcoholic slushie drinks being consumed. But I’ve always been risk averse, and I’m just not up for consuming that much unfiltered water. Happily there are two local and cheap and decent enough Ecuadorian beers widely available. A few fancy places have even supplied a frosted glass. That’s Big TIME fancy, when drinking in plastic chairs along the beach.

There must be a special word for a group of pelicans. They can’t just have flocks, can they? In any case, these are some of the largest pelican groups I’ve seen. 20+birds all flying together.

It’s been overcast, as expected this time of year, but at a humid 82*, that’s fine by me. The ocean is delightful for wading. Lots of surfers, wide variety of skill levels so great fun to watch.

Montanita Surfers

When we tire of wandering through town or drinking on the beach, we can read in one of the hostal’s many hammocks. Life is not exactly rough. Our biggest decisions have been where to eat lunch or dinner. (A decent breakfast is included). We even found a place that made amazing crepes for dessert last night.

While empanadas are not widely available here, I do fear I may eat so many plantains that I turn into one. (There are worse fates). At breakfast you can get a side of mashed plantain mixed with cheese. It’s a lovely starchy cheesy thing that soaks up the egg yolk beautifully. And, of course, the fried plantains (platanos) are lovely, especially dipped in hot sauce. And let’s not forget our friend the sweet plantain for a more sugary banana related experience. *laughs*

I think taking a cool shower mid-day in a really muggy climate may be my new favorite thing. It was a pure joy in the Amazon, returning sweaty after a morning hike to the shower. But it’s equally lovely here, no strenuous jungle trek required. And our place has one of those rain shower showerheads. The best!

Traveling with a Kindle instead of real books has been a dream. “The Martian” by Andy Weir is flipping phenomenal. I laughed aloud often. The tone and sarcasm felt just like my best pals. And it’s a harrowing story, as well, that does a good job of not getting too bogged down in the tech of staying alive when stranded on Mars. “Code Name Verity” was also great. Following some plucky young British pilots during WWII. And get this twist?!? They are ladies!! *laughs* It’s a solid story and very well told. My third book read so far was just OK. “Keeping the Castle” by somebody or other is Jane Austen-esque. Decent enough way to pass the time, I guess, but nothing memorable or super clever. Didn’t help that it was book-ended by two novels I loved. But you guys, I have so many more books with me… All just in this one device. It’s an embarrassment of choices. I love it!!!! I still prefer the physical reading experience of holding printed pages, but there’s no denying the convenience. Yay technology!!

I’ve never done an international trio with this much down time (there are generally so many agenda items to check off the list), but this is brilliant. While repeating the 24 hrs process of flying back home (thanks, mileage flight plan) won’t be a picnic, it’s lovely to combine a relaxing kind of vacation with an exploring new worlds kind of vacation. *fingers crossed* Might return from my travels physically refreshed as well as emotionally sated. Yay.

Also, we finally found a cat for Erin to befriend. It was one of those felines who starts drooling as soon as it purrs, so I had no qualms letting her get all the kitty time. Ha. It quite enjoyed sharing the hammock with her for over an hour. Beach life. Gotta love it.

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