A Travellerspoint blog

Off to Cuenca

overcast 78 °F

Monday, 10/18/10-Tuesday, 10/19/10. A wonderful thing happened yesterday. My friends, Judy and Kurt, asked me if I wanted to go to Cuenca with them. At first, I regrettably answered no. I really wanted to see Cuenca while I was here in Ecuador, but it is way down south and I was planning to head north. However, when they suggested I go spend the weekend in Cuenca and fly up to Quito on Sunday, I said, “What the hey! Sounds like a plan to me.” So, we are off tomorrow, Wednesday. We will take that long bus ride back down to Guayaquil (same way I came up here) then change buses for another 3 hour ride into Cuenca. I’m very excited to be able to go and more excited to be leaving Bahia. It was interesting being here and I met some wonderful people, but this town is just not my cup of tea. I did learn a lesson and that is I will not commit to a month somewhere before I have actually seen the place. I hope to be able to post while I am in Cuenca because there is so much to see and do. It is the Ecuadorian expat capital for gringos from the US so there has got to be a reason for that. Well see! Judy and Kurt

Judy and Kurt

Posted by Jan Foster 11:41 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Sick again

Salsa Dancing too

overcast 78 °F

Friday, 10/15/10 – Sunday, 10/17/10. This was a very quiet weekend. I was sick again and went to the pharmacy to get some pills that are supposed to rid the body of parasites. I stayed in bed most of Friday and Saturday. However, Saturday night was Ladies Night at a local restaurant and we had all planned on going all week, so I dragged my body out of bed, took a shower and headed down there for a little socializing and salsa dancing. I stayed for a little over an hour and came home and crashed. Sunday morning Kurt and Judy fixed a Southern breakfast for a couple of us. It consisted of eggs, pancakes, homemade sausage, bacon, country potatoes, and rolls. I was feeling better and starting to get my appetite back, so I had two helpings. We sat and talked for a long time, and then I came back to Coco Bongo and took a long nap. When I got up, a couple from Arizona who is staying here asked me to go to dinner. I had a BBQ plate of chicken, beef and pork with all the trimmings. BBQ here means simply that the meat is cooked over an open fire. They do not have BBQ sauce. I brought half my dinner home for lunch on Monday. When we got back, another lady from Connecticut asked if I wanted my tarot cards read. She indicated that I needed to spend some more solitary time searching inward for my future. I have been at loose ends, so I will take her advice and practice more prayer and meditation.

Posted by Jan Foster 05:26 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Day trip to San Vicente and Canoa

Moving on the end of the month

sunny 78 °F

Thursday, 10/14/10. Today was excursion day. Several of us took the panga, a small people boat. As I may have mentioned before, Bahia is a peninsula with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Chote River on the other. Across the river is the little town of San Vicente. The only way to cross the river at this time is by boat. Ecuador has just completed building a bridge to span these two cities but it does not open until the end of October. After getting off the boat, we grabbed at taxi and headed to Canoa, another little beach town up the coast. We had been told that this was a must visit. We were also told to have lunch at the Bamboo Hotel, which we did. We had fried shrimp and french fries which were very good. We sat outside on the beach and the weather was sunny and warm.

After lunch we went shopping. We each bought a couple of locally made necklaces but really didn’t see much else so we walked to the bus stop and rode back to San Vicente, caught the panga back to Bahia and headed over to our favorite restaurant, Puerta Amistad, to meet the owner’s wife.

We had agreed earlier to meet her there to do some volunteer work. The President of Ecuador is arriving on the 29th to dedicate the new bridge so there is a drive on to beautify Bahia. In this particular case, we were planting flowers at a day care center. Fortunately, foliage grows fast and furious here so the garden should be lush and beautiful by the time the President arrives.

I will be gone by then as I have decided to leave Bahia on the 26th when my month is up and head up to the Capital of Quito, then on to Columbia. That’s as far as my plans go at this time, since I am under no time constraints until I hear from the Peace Corps.

Posted by Jan Foster 11:36 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Plans to move on

Hearing from the Peace Corps

sunny 75 °F

Tuesday, 10/12/10 – Wednesday, 10/13/10. Tuesday was a day of catching up with emails, etc. after being gone for the weekend. And also, catching up with my new friends. I ate breakfast and went in search of the famous empanadas made by my Spanish instructor’s mother. She gets up a 4:00 am everyday, grounds the yucca into flour, makes the pastry, cooks the beef and stuffs and fries the empanadas. She makes about 200 per day and they are always a sellout so I was worried I wouldn’t get there in time. But I was in luck and bought 4 for lunch then headed off to Kurt and Judy’s apartment.

After lunch, I came back to my room and started researching other countries as I have decided to move on the first of November. I’m looking at moving to the North. For those of you who, like me, have forgotten their high school geography, the next country north of Ecuador is Columbia, then Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, with other countries I’ve forgotten in there and finally Mexico. At first I thought I would just move up to Costa Rica but then realized I would miss out on the beauty of the countries in between. So, I will probably head up to Columbia first. It is not dangerous in spite of all we have heard and it is rumored that Bogota is absolutely gorgeous. Haven’t done enough research yet and I have time, so things may change.

Wednesday I had a telephone interview with Peace Corps Mexico. Wish me luck because this would be a dream assignment in high tech close to my Texas home. The interview went well and the people were nice and said they thought I was a perfect fit. It’s interesting to note that most of the US Peace Corps volunteers are in their 20’s and most of Peace Corps Mexico volunteers are over 50. So maybe I will benefit from reverse age discrimination. Woohoo!

I have Spanish class this afternoon and I am looking forward to it as it has been about 7 days since a lesson an I’m getting rusty already!

Ciao!

Posted by Jan Foster 11:55 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

Manta, Ecuador - Just like the States

Riding the Chicken Bus

sunny 78 °F

Friday, 10/8/10 – Monday, 10/11/10. I spent this weekend in Manta. I had been communicating via email with an expat named Linda and she invited me down to visit her. Some people who had been staying in Bahia and had a car were heading down that way and offered me a ride with them. I wanted to check it out as I am thinking of spending November there. We drove down on roads that went from sand to newly constructed highway. That’s how it is here. Anyway, when we arrived at Linda’s house on Marianita Beach, I was pleasantly surprised. Linda has a new house which she has divided into a quadraplex. She has two studio apartments downstairs that she rents out and a one bedroom upstairs which she uses and a two bedroom where she puts young adults that she hires through HelpX. HelpX is for people who travel around the world and stay free at participating locations in exchange for room and board. All they have to do is any work requested by the host. It usually is about ½ days work. Anyway, I stayed in Linda’s apartment and she took me all over Manta where I was happy to see a place with good restaurants, a mall, movie theater, and large grocery store. Manta is a growing city of about 200,000 and although you still see areas of poverty, there is a lot of new construction. Sunday morning was expat brunch at M.R. Frogs which is a lovely new place on the beach and is owned by an American. The meal was delicious and cheap ($6). I am falling in love with ceviche which I never had before coming down here. I have feelers out for apartments for November and hope one comes through.

OK, now several of you have been kidding me about the chicken bus. I came very close to riding on one today. When Linda dropped me off at the bus terminal, I asked for Bahia. They kept directing me down the line until I got to the last window. When I said Bahia, they told me it went to RocoFuerte and I changed buses there. Then the guy grabbed my bag and lead me to the “chicken bus.” Now, it wasn’t really one, but the seats were small and there was no air conditioning. We also stopped a lot of times along the road to pick up or drop off people. When we got to Roco Fuerte, I was lead to another terminal and told the bus to Bahia would be there in 20 minutes. Trust me, my Spanish is still basic, but I was able to figure this out. This bus was a much nicer one and I sat next to a guy from Florida who shared a taxi with me from the terminal to CocoBongo, my current home away from home.

Posted by Jan Foster 17:16 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

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