Friday, May 20, 2016

I woke up at 6 am. The first thing that hits my consciousness is that Keeper is not here. I think about her and the good times but, lying in my bed, my mind goes back to our last few hours together. I am starting to feel claustrophobic with these thoughts so I got myself up and out the room Heidi and I are in.

Outside, my face feels the cool, fresh air of the coast in May. It is going to be a nice day and we have a trip planned to visit Ayungue, Montanita, Olon, and Ayampe. We have hired a driver to take us. Heidi and I have never been to Ayungue or Ayampe but we want to check them out as possible places to relocate. We have been told our friends Bev and Jim are moving to Ayampe.

Easton has never seen Montanita, a surf town with a character and feel all its own. He needs to see this place because describing it doesn’t do it justice. The people in this town are for the most part younger; for the most part they are Easton’s age. Free spirited men and women who love to surf, be in the sun, party, and embrace life as it is showing up for them. At least that is how I interpret it through my 53 year old filter of living.

The town is filled with hostels that offer a room plus breakfast for $10 per person per night. The streets are lined with bars and discotecs, eating places, tatoo shops, and massage studios. During the day the streets are packed with young men from North America, Europe, and other countries around South America who have set up their wares of hand woven beaded and silver jewelry, all hoping the tourists walking the town will spend some money so another night at the hostel can be bought.

Chillin' in Montanita

Chillin’ in Montanita

Locals carry their big boards filled with knock off sunglasses to sell to the tourists looking for a good deal. Other locals have set up impromptu ceviche restaurants with a plastic table, umbrella, and four plastic chairs that sit in the street. Under the umbrella of their tricicle (tree-seek-lay) bike that carries this all into town are stacked several tupperware containers filled with the ingredients to make a good ceviche.

We walked around town enjoying the sites then went to the ocean and checked it out. Montanita has a long stretch of white sand beach with blue water waves crashing onto shore. There are several surfers out riding the waves and getting lost in the white turbulent tips. Before we headed on to Olon we wanted a coffee. It was hard to find a place so we asked around and were told to go to the Hola Ola restaurant. It had an espresso machine!

We headed to Olon after our coffee and saw a beautiful long stretch of beach with great waves. This is probably the best beach I have seen in all my travels of Ecuador.

The beach at Olon with our driver Frank

The beach at Olon with our driver Frank

We enjoyed lunch on the beach served in one of the several bare bones beach restaurants backed up along the edge of the parking lot. We were shaded under the thatched roof over our table, could feel a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, and enjoyed watching the blue water, white crested waves, and sun glinting off all of it as we ate.

Ayungue and Ayampe were cool little villages. They had a nice ocean beach as well. Ayungue was set behind a horseshoe shaped bay, while Ayampe had the long stretch of ocean and sand that we prefer.

Fishing Village of Ayungue

Fishing Village of Ayungue

Ayampe with rock in background where Easton had caught his fish on our fishing trip

Ayampe with rock in background where Easton had caught his fish on our fishing trip

Both of these villages however were too small for us. With the exception of one tienda, any shopping for food and supplies would be a 15-30 min drive into the next nearest town.

It has been a good day for us. When we got back to Casa Blanca Playa Cautiva we were tired. We had picked up Keeper’s ashes from the Vet before we came back to our hotel. Her ashes had been prepared in a pleasant and honorable way. The ashes were in a small, brown molded dog house, and it was accompanied with a memorial certificate with Keeper’s name, birth date, and day of passing. We were also given the paperwork that had tracked and identified her remains throughout the process. It was more than I expected and I am grateful.