A "Soft" Ocean and a Bumpy Ride
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms in the world! I know I wouldn't be who I am today without the support of my fantastic parents. Having just one day to celebrate each of them doesn't begin to approach all the thanks they deserve for the countless times they've put my sisters and I before themselves. Sending an especially big hug to my mom today, even if we're far. (See you Thursday! xoxo)
Today I woke up to this lovely surprise:
I think we left the window open or something, because I definitely had 40+ bug bites all over my body. In the photo I'm opening both eyes equally, I swear! My eye didn't hurt at all and the swelling went down by the afternoon, so that was lucky, but we sure got some good laughs in before my face returned to normal.
After staying up until 3 AM last night (we hung out on the beach for quite a while and I took my good ol' time updating the blog), we slept until about 10 AM this morning. Sometimes sleeping in is simply the best thing ever. Also, just so I don't forget this funny detail, we 100% had an owl family living in the roof above us. They didn't bother us at all, just squawked every now and then. We packed up our room, showered, and head out searching for a meal.
My biggest mistake was not taking a photo of my ceviche before eating it. I love ceviche so much, and that's coming from somebody who isn't a diehard seafood fan. Ceviche basically consists of fresh fish, shrimp, or other seafood cooked in citrus juices, spices, tomato, and plantain chips on the side. It's so simple and yet so delicious; I can't even describe it.
We headed to a beach in Machalilla National Park called "Los Frieles" which is absolutely a must-see. To get there, we took a $1 tuk-tuk to the bus terminal, and in 10 minutes we were dropped off at the entrance of the park.
Classic Ecuadorian experience coming up. To be honest, I wouldn't normally share this because it's such an everyday normal thing, but perhaps some of you might find it amusing. We got to the gate and the guards there said they were closing early--3:30 instead of 4:30--because of Mother's day. Since the beach was 3 kilometers away, we wouldn't have time to walk there, enjoy the beach, and walk back before closing, as it was already about 2:00. A maintenance truck was heading past us at that moment, and before even asking, Carol (the Ecuadorian) climbed into the bed of the pickup and said we had plenty of time if we hitched a ride. The guards shrugged, one saying it didn't really matter if we registered or not since we were foreigners anyway (Emily, our German friend Clara, and I), and only asked for Carol's ID number. She yelled the numbers to them as we all sped away on a short bumpy ride to the beach.
It was a fairly rainy/cloudy day, but this was still a breathtaking place, even if the photos don't necessarily show it. The sand was so soft and enveloped our feet with ease, and the water was... smooth? It's funny, because the water actually felt soft, even though that's not a great word to use to describe an ocean. The temperature was perfect. For a good while, Clara and I just floated. A few times, I felt like a little kid crying with joy playing in the waves. One is never too old to enjoy the ocean.
We headed back to the hostel, picked up our stuff, showered at Clara's place, and headed to the bus station. Once there, Emily and Carol had a good laugh when I replaced words in a song about earthquakes to words describing ceviche made with cho-chos, a grain (ie. instead of terremoto, I said cevichocho). The bus left at 7 PM, and we got to Quito at 3 AM. Nobody slept well, but for me it was 100% better to travel at night than during the day. I can honestly say that these 3 days at the beach were a perfect way to spend the weekend, and an awesome last big outing before heading back home on Thursday morning.
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