Our last hours in Crucita were spent visiting with another expat couple on the morning of day #11. They live in a gated community right on the malecon, just a few blocks from our hostal, and I was assured they would be home because Andi’s homemade bread was rising. She bakes several loaves each week and sells them to friends and neighbors. The lovely houses inside the enclave are owned by international professionals, some of whom rent their places out on long-term leases. The community has 24 hour security and a pool.
Andi served good old American coffee and it was wonderful. No matter how I tried it, Ecuadorian coffee was just not going to be my thing. While we were there, the fish man arrived with some fresh corvina and another variety. Andi’s husband went out and scored some for dinner.
I wanted to be on our way by 10am with hopes of being in Bahia by noon so we said our good-byes and hailed a young man with a motorcab to take us back to get our bags at the hostal. He waited for us and took us to the malecon to catch the bus so we wouldn’t have to drag the big suitcase down the dirt road. I’d guess that we waited all of 10 minutes before the bus picked us up, they are pretty frequent. The big bag stored under the bus, we carried the little one aboard and were off to Puerto Viejo which was the connecting point.
I was my plan to get off the bus at the Paseo mall where the cabs are plentiful. We would get one to take us to Bahia. I told the bus attendant ‘salida Paseo’ and he gave me the response I’d been getting from everyone as far back as Guayaquil when you say Paseo – “shopping?” he asked. Si, shopping, I smiled. The ride was uneventful, about 45 minutes long, and full of beautiful scenery. Besides corn, the other really prevalent crop is rice and we saw acres and acres of rice paddys. Chickens, goats, burros, horses, and cows passed our windows.
When we got near the end of the journey, I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss our stop so I tried to converse with a young policeman who had boarded the bus about half way there. He assured me we wouldn’t miss it. Shortly afterward the bus attendant motioned to me and said ‘Paseo’. I was relieved that he was watching out for us too. Off the bus, retrieve the big bag, cross the street, into a taxi, and we were on our way again…. but Dan was hungry.
We’d traveled about 15 minutes when I indicated to the driver that we needed food. He was happy to pull into a little town and took us right to a street lined with food huts. Dan placed his order for civeche to go. While we waited, I pointed at Dan and said to the driver “come, come, come” pronounced ‘ko-may’ and meaning “eat, eat, eat”. He got a good laugh and said ‘grande’! meaning that Dan is big. Dan got in the car with his food, having heard our conversation and added “no – gordo!” meaning ‘fat’. The little driver almost popped a gut he was laughing so hard at the loco gringos.
Through the mountains again with that beautiful scenery I would miss when I was back in Florida. New road construction was taking place in several areas. The current president is very much into improving this country and it shows.
We arrived in Bahia about 1pm, an hour past the time I had planned, but safe and sound. The driver found our hostal, La Herridura, after asking only a couple of locals. We paid the driver, unloaded, and headed to the dining room for lunch. I had already missed a meet-up time with Aggie who was looking forward to receiving some things I had muled down to her. We would connect later.
La Herridura is a historic building on the ocean side of the malecon. When we arrived it was high tide and waves were crashing against the seawall sending spray high into the air. The hotel is all open air except for many of the rooms which are air-conditioned, as ours was. At no time during our stay did I feel hot while in the common areas. That feature reminded me of being in Hawaii, the trade winds always cooled the heat enough to be comfortable.
After eating, I made attempts to connect with the expats I was hoping to see while in Bahia. We took a walk but stayed within a 6 block radius of the hostal. I wanted to find a pharmacia where I could get some topical antiseptic for the stitches on my right hand. Although I was taking antibiotics, it looked sore since I popped it a second time. The owner found some spray betadine for me – $6 – and that did the trick.
We arranged dinner with two couples and Aggie that evening at a BBQ spot a couple of doors down from our hostal. One of the couples and Aggie had chosen to live in condos. The other couple had a house on an acre because they preferred having some space and animals and a garden. EC has something for everyone. It was very interesting conversation. I love learning from people who are doing, not just talking about doing.
I noticed that the little motor-taxis I’d seen in other towns were replaced by pedi-cabs. Bahia became an Ecocity when it was rebuilt after an earthquake caused much destruction back in 1998 or 1999. The town is noticeably clean, its streets wide and paved. Businesses along the streets are well-kept. This is a popular weekend and holiday beach location for well to do Ecuadorians. Many of the condo buildings are family owned and sit vacant till the family comes on holiday – then they’re full to bursting. It was pretty quiet during our visit.
The next day promised to be full, lots to see and do. I needed my beauty rest so it was time to call it a day. The bed was pretty comfortable and I enjoyed some reading before my eyelids came crashing down.
Next Chapter – Day #12 Bahia