Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Estamos aquí!

We arrived in Ecuador three days ago.  We've been staying just outside the small city of Bahia de Caraquez.  So far traveling has been good.  The 6 hours on the bus to Bahia went pretty smoothly.  Harper and I had our bounciest turn on the toilet ever and we managed to get Cal to take a nice long nap in Danny's arms (one of the perks of dramamine!)

The days we have spent wandering around Bahia and playing in the ocean.  The water is really warm and the kids have had a ball.  Yesterday Harper made a friend at the beach named Mayeli.  She was seven and Harper was able to pull together the courage to ask her if she wanted to help us build our sandcastle, "quieres ayudar?"  After that they were off to play in the sand and ocean much of the afternoon.  Harper was very proud of her español!

The food in Bahia has been hit or miss.   We've been surprised that beans don't comprise a big part of the Ecuadorian diet.  Plantains are a definite staple- at one lunch we had dried plantain chips, fried plantain slices and plantain cakes.  We've eaten a lot of seafood and soup is always part of the lunch or dinner meal.  Harper and Cal have loved the soup served at the inn where we are staying.  Fresh fruit and juice is also served all the time and we are all trying to acquire a taste for papaya.  Danny mostly likes it, Cal and I are on the fence, and Harper has yet to speak positively about it (although she still tries it each morning.)

The bus rides to and from town have been a great adventure.  The music is blaring and as soon as we clamor up the steep steps the driver hits the gas and we go tumbling in to find our seats.  Cal likes to sit on the window-side, spending the entire ride looking for garbage trucks.  Thankfully yesterday he finally saw one.  The people we have sat with on the bus, and the people in Bahia in general, are all so friendly.  People rub the kids' heads and give them all kinds of compliments about being beautiful- "qué linda!" "qué bonita!" "qué presioso!"  We prepped them before the trip for this kind of attention, thanks to advice from our friends, Lauren and Julianna.  Cal occasionally throws people a "don't pat my head" look, but for the most part they have allowed the cooing and patting.

The place we are staying at is pretty wild.  The food is wonderful- all vegetarian and fresh fruit juices with each meal- and the people are friendly.  We had no idea that there would be so many animals here though.  There are the usual suspects- dogs (3 are golden retrievers which has been fun, but make us miss Sadie,) a couple of cats, parrots, peacocks, and also iguanas cruising the grounds.  The parrot calls "hola" to us each morning which the kids love.  And there is a sloth that lives upstairs in the house!  Unfortunately, there are also cages and pens of all sorts of other  animals- rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, exotic birds, geese, goats, donkeys, and horses.  The confinement of all this stuff has been a little overwhelming as are the squawks and braying all through the night.  Cal and Harper enjoy checking all the animals out and have yet to be woken by them before 6:30 so that has been good.  We had no idea our farm experience would begin even before Rio Muchacho!

We will visit the town of Canoa today and I'll write more later in the week.  I guess our only complaint so far are a few mosquito bites, so so far so good.

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