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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Dump me at the Beach

I have now made my way out of Guayaquil...

Exciting! ... onwards & upwards to new adventures!

It was a slow process, but I felt a little bit like I was turning in to the Littlest Hobo.

I was originally supposed to leave Guayaquil on Monday, but decided to change it to Sunday, so as not to rush myself heading up the coast.  Then I would have 2 days in Ayangue, 2 days in Puerto Lopez and 2 in Canoa... before heading back to Quito.  I’d even thought of extending it to leaving even earlier, but I knew we had a Saturday beach day planned… so I left my departure for Sunday.

On Friday evening, Mari said to me that she couldn’t decide if we were going to go to Playas or Salinas... for the beach.  I thought about it for a while and then said, “If we are going to Salinas, I might as well stay the night there and then continue up the coast from there.”

Seemed a bit silly to travel 2 hours trip west to Salinas, and then come all the way back to Guayaquil, only to do it all over again the next day.  The smarts win again and, yes, it was decided… we would go to Salinas… go to the beach and then dump me off somewhere on the road.  *metaphorically...

It was time to go anyway.I had been there since last Thursday and my feet were getting itchy.I had to keep exploring.  Plus… don't they say that company is like fish?After 3 or 4 days, they start to smell.

Well, I could almost smell myself.

But… sometimes life doesn’t always end up the way it’s planned.  Mari’s car wouldn’t start that morning and that sent everyone in to a tizzy.  Duval came to the rescue and agreed it was the battery that, more than likely, needed to be replaced.  I wasn't exactly sure what exactly was going on- only fearing that the day may end up as more of a family outing to the local mechanic shop, as opposed to a fun day at the beach...  Probably would have been better for my burn...

Mari decided to skip the beach and take her car in... and it would be Duval & Pamela driving me to Salinas.  Thank GOD!!!  I was envisioning me hobbling out of Guayaquil, pack dragging behind me, holding a sign that read "Playa por favour!" It was very sweet of them to do so,  considering it was about 30 minutes out of their way for their own family weekend vacation.

Get the Gringa outta here! It was sad saying goodbye to everyone.  What an amazing family!  I am so grateful that they ended up being my host family... and I appreciate & love them all so much.  They were so lovely to me this week... words can not express... and I really do hope that it’s not another 26 years until I see them again.

They can't get rid of me now!

So - on to Salinas… again.  I was here 26 years ago, but instinct told me that it had changed a lot.  I was right.

There were high-rises & nightclubs & beach umbrellas & tourists as far as the eye could see.  In fact, it was almost like a cross between Hawaii's Waikiki, Portugal's Algarve, the place that Stag was filmed, the place that Birdcage was filmed, and of course... typical Ecuador.

To say the least, it was busy.

Not a big fan of busy- but I made the most of it.  I walked up and down the beach & the promenade.  I desperately wanted to go in the water because it was so clear & turquoise & beautiful & warm & inviting & hard to resist, but I couldn’t exactly just leave my stuff lying on the beach, unattended…

It’s tough traveling solo, sometimes...

The fear & anxiety of having/losing these four things can literally break me:

  • Passport.

  • Wallet - with money, ID , credit card, debit card.

  • Computer.

  • Key for wherever I'm staying.

I have those things with me, usuallyeverywhere I go.  And I constantly check that they are still my bag... safe.  If someone were to follow me around on a regular basis while I travel, they would think that I was nursing a small puppy in my bag, for the amount of time I check it.  Now, yes, I could have left stuff in the room, but that didn’t super sit well with me either.  So far I have proven to have chosen poorly in the hostel department.

  1. Quito - amazing.

  2. Cuenca - super shit.

  3. Salinas - family AND party.  I’ll explain that further because I understand that it must be confusing to see the words 'family' and 'party' bundled together.  Strange, but true... If it wasn’t kids screaming and crying ALL day - it was loud music and partying all night.  ALL night.  

I woke up at 3am and at 4am (and a few times in between & before and after...) and the party was still going strong... and very loudly. At the hostel pub, in the streets of Salinas... in the hallways outside my room...

BIG TIP: Don’t be fooled by the cute photos & rave reviews on the web!  Research!!!

Now if 19 year old me heard what 45 year old me was saying about this hostel, 19 year old me would have slapped 45 year old me... because all I ever wanted to do was party when I was 19.  Now that I am 45, all I still ever want to do is party... but not loudly... and not late... maybe till around 10 or 11pm... with wine and a few friends... and the music turned down. But maybe 19 year old me wouldn't have slapped 45 year old me too hard, because even 19 year old me hated screaming children.

I stopped along the pier and had wine.  Yippee!  Back on the sauce again.  Had been going though a bit of withdrawal lately.

I figure that one day I'm going to have to give it up for good, so until that happens, I might as well drink as much as I can now.

Make sense?

The fact that I'm in a country that doesn't necessarily celebrate or embrace wine is silly, if you ask me. I figure that it's close enough to Argentina and Chile to make that point moot.

I also had some patacones for lunch/dinner (fried green plantains)- so fruit for dinner basically vetos out the wine.... right?  I think so, anyway.

Ok… quick rant session…

  • I am drinking a LOT of water while I’m here… and it’s almost like people are looking down on me for it.  I have never been in a place where people really try to push the jugo and cola on you so much.  It's almost alien.

  • Everything is covered in plastic.  Tables and chairs are lined & draped with beautiful clothe and then... covered in plastic.  And then it's hot and you sweat and then you stick to the plastic.  Arms, legs, bum, face... it all sticks...  Personally, I would rip plastic off everything.  I'd have a rule... no plastic in my hot house.  Ever.

  • Alarms - day and night, night and day. House, car… whatever.  Everywhere you go.  Everywhere.  No one cares.  I just can't believe alarms have made it this far in society.  When one goes off... no one flinches.  No one.  Zero.  Everyone just continues on with whatever they were doing to begin with... though slightly more irritated now.   Go ahead, thieves... rob away.  NO one is paying attention.  No one cares.

  • Diet Coke?  Coca Light... isn't this a thing here?  Maybe this is more of a  blessing than a rant.  I’d probably be drinking more Diet Coke and less water, if it were here and readily available.

Ok.  Rant over...

On our way in to Salinas today, we passed a number of 'bathroom' stores that had yellow, blue and pink toilets on display.   How come we can't have those at home???

I think that besides the deep fried green plantains coated with rock salt & cheese, the colourful toilet would be the one other thing that would tempt me to live here...

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