Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016

Going to Bahia de Caraquez

We hired a driver to take us and our luggage to Bahia de Caraquez where our rented condo waited for our arrival. Our driver’s name was Segundo, a warm spirited Ecuadorian man who greeted me with a hug. He spoke very little English but it was still more than my Spanish. He and my son Easton loaded our luggage and after a lot of effort and sweat in the humid heat, we were able to fit all our luggage and us into this one van.

The trip took 5 hours from Guayaquil to Bahia de Caraquez. (Did you know Bahia is supposed to be one of the best places to retire in Ecuador? There are even retirement tours to Ecuador that bring you specifically to Bahia.) Our drive time included a stop along the way in a small Ecuadorian town for lunch. There was no menu and we can’t speak Spanish; the owner of this restaurant didn’t speak English. So I motioned for him to bring us what our driver, Segundo, ordered. He motioned and spoke some Spanish back. I again pointed to Segundo’s meal and then circled my pointing finger to the three of us. The owner said something and disappeared into the kitchen. It turns out we had a traditional Ecuadorian lunch of chicken, rice, and plantains for about $4 each. It was actually very good.

Arriving to Town

When we arrived in Bahia we didn’t know exactly where our condo was located. We knew it was close to the ocean and we knew the name of the building, Edificio Torresol. It seems crazy to travel thousands of miles and not know an actual address, but that’s all I was given and I went with it. I was trusting that someone would know the name of our building when we got into town, and that’s exactly what are driver was counting on as he pulled to the side asking people along the way where Edificio Torresol was.

Fortunately the pics we had of the place from the internet showed a park diagonally from our building. My son Easton recognized the park when we passed it and then we looked back over our shoulder and we saw the building. Our landlord was on the balcony waiting for us to arrive.

We unloaded the van, took the luggage up the small elevator, and entered our new living space for the next 4 months. Our landlord and his wife, Don and Donna, gave us an overview of Bahia….where the close markets were, an easy restaurant to eat at for our first night here, where taxis can be found, etc.

My son and I went to the small neighborhood market and got a few things to get us through the night and next morning. Things like bread, PB&J, cheese, tortillas, salsa, chips, wine and beer. I have a confession to make. When it totaled $71.00 I was a bit shocked. When we got home I reviewed the receipt and saw that our peanut butter cost over $10….and it was a small jar!

What Have I Done?

Something happened in that moment. In my extreme fatigue and hunger I became afraid. Fear gripped my mind and started to squeeze my thoughts. Suddenly I had visions of retiring in Ecuador and running out of money within a week, having to go back to the states, and having to find a job. I thought how insane I was to give up my great paying job; how foolish I was to sell everything I had owned. By the time this runaway train finished roaring through my mind, I was certain we would be broke, homeless, and stranded in South America. I did decide however to give it until morning to see how I felt after a good night’s sleep… before I announced to my family to pack it all up and head back to the states before we died of starvation. But I have diverged, let me get back to our dinner on the first night at our new place.

We were all so exhausted that going out to dinner seemed like too much. We made some cheese tortillas, had chips and salsa, opened some wine and enjoyed our first evening in our new digs. My spirit started to lighten. As a family we toasted our accomplishment at getting ourselves here to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. It had been months of planning and preparation; hours and hours of mental, emotional, and physical work. Now after 2 days of travel, and unfamiliar places, people, and language, I could finally just relax. I am exhausted and pretty sure I will sleep soundly for the next 12 hours.

Check in tomorrow at Todd Talk in Ecuador to see how I am doing.