Friday, Apr 21, 2017

Trek to Bahia de Caraquez

Heidi and I made the trek to Bahia on Saturday by bus starting from Montanita. We thought we might get better seats on the Manglaralto (the Green Bus) beginning from there. On the way from our house to Montanita our taxi driver told us there is a Manglaralto ticket window at the main intersection off the Ruta Spondylus in Montanita. This was new info for us.

I discovered the “direct” Manglaralto bus leaves at 5 am, 10:30am, and 3 pm. Since it was only 9 am we went and had breakfast. On the 10:30am bus, the ride to Manta was comfortable and it took 3 hours, which I felt was kind of long for a “direct” bus.

Travel Challenges

In Manta we got on a bus…the wrong bus…that headed to Portoveijo before Bahia (or San Clemente where we were actually staying). This added an extra hour to our trip. When we arrived in Portoviejo Heidi and I had it with buses, so we hired a taxi to take us the rest of the way. It was $20 for the 40 minute ride and so worth it! In no time we were with our friends, Roy and Melody, who were kind enough to put us up for the weekend.

Roy and Melody

Chase and Easton had friends visiting from Cuenca when we left town, so they didn’t head out until Sunday morning. Their trip entailed walking out our front gate, within minutes catching a passing Manglaralto bus, arriving in Manta 2 1/2 hours later, and catching a cab from Manta to the farm. They arrived before lunch was even ready. It seems like their loose plan worked better than our “well thought out” plan did. Go figure.

Porch Dwellers Reunion

change happens with lives

The Porch Dwellers

A year ago on April 16th, we ended up at Don and Donna’s farm as survivors of a 7.8M earthquake. Heidi, Easton, and I, with Don and Donna and other friends, lived on the farm porch for 10 days. Today, on April 16, 2017 the “porch dwellers” and other friends who were in, or connected, to the earthquake in Bahia one year ago got together to connect and count our many blessings.

Change Happens

In some ways it doesn’t feel like a year has gone by since the earthquake, and in other ways it seems like a lot has happened. What I do know is that this was an event that created many different and unexpected trajectories in the lives of those affected. Change happens whether invited or not, and in this case it was plainly forced on a whole lot of people.

Sometimes change is slow and it is hard to see, other times it is sudden and startling. In either case developing a strong “change muscle” only adds to one’s ability to successfully navigate life. How strong is your “change muscle”? Does it flex big? Can it stretch long? What decisions have you made in the last year that have strengthened or weakened it?

Living in Ecuador has a lot of challenges and requires a strong change muscle. No matter how great the beach is, or how wonderful dining out with friends can be, living here has required I deal with a lot of change. For example, one change I encountered immediately was living without a car.

Getting from point A to point B now requires greater planning and involves more time. These aren’t “bad” things, but a change I have to deal with constantly. Think about what it is like to travel by bus or taxi or private car to a “real” grocery store 1 &1/2 hours away from where I live.

What kind of planning is involved to get my meat and dairy items home without them getting too warm? What restrictions does that create on what else I can do while I’m in “the city?” Moving here and choosing to not have a car requires me to deal with change in how I do a lot of things. Most days it is great, and some days it’s a royal pain in the ass. Such is how it goes.

Trashed Our Beach

change happens in location

On our way back from Bahia, at Manta bus terminal.

When we got back from Bahia, after a holiday Easter weekend in Ecuador, I was shocked to see the condition of our beach. Trash had been washed up all along the shore line for miles. The currents must have moved large amounts of this trash from other areas along the coast because we did not have the volume of tourists near us to create this mess.

Awareness and personal responsibility of proper waste disposal is a missing part of Ecuador’s development right now. Until this change happens, the beauty and wildlife of this country is at risk. This Blue Footed Booby’s death is most likely a result of eating some trash that it choked on. Very sad.

change happens with the environment

Trash and Consequences

Northward Bound…Kinda

Easton left for Alaska via a stop in Salt Lake City this week. Unfortunately the day he left it was raining torrents.

His bus ride from Olon into Guayaquil went well despite the heavy flooding in some spots along the way. His flight to Quito from Guayaquil on Tame however was 3 hours late, which caused him to miss the midnight flight out of Quito to Fort Lauderdale on Jet Blue.

change happens with travel

Missed Flight

He only missed it by 10 minutes, and only because it took so long to get his backpack from luggage. It was close but no cigar…or should I say “no seat” for Easton. It also meant he missed his Delta connection in the States.

He got to spend the next 24 hours in the Quito airport waiting for the next midnight flight out as a standby passenger. Change happens sometimes even with the best made plans.

Thankfully all went well and he has made it to the States! At his layover in Atlanta he had an opportunity to voluntarily get bumped and receive an $800 travel voucher for it. He had no interest. All I can say is that he sounded tired and cranky, and hopefully he isn’t the one randomly selected to be involuntarily removed from his seat. 😉

Always Learning Something New

I learned something through his experience. I have never been one to use travel insurance for my flights. Only on a couple of occasions in my life have I missed a flight, and it usually has worked out without a problem.

Because Easton was flying three different airlines, requiring he handle and move his luggage for each leg, his risks of potential problems increased. Because his trip involved different airlines, no one airline has a responsibility to make “right” a delay caused from another airline. This is a situation when travel insurance makes sense! Lesson duly noted.

Workout Window

This morning Chase, Heidi and I continued our 7 am workout routine on the terrace. I am in awe of the beauty I get to enjoy while working out. Initially I have resistance to the workout, then looking at this view, all I can do is smile…and sweat.