Friday, March 31, 2017

ECUADOR - Montanita by Day & Puerto Lopez by Night

Yeah...the Pacific Ocean

Up early for a walk along the rocky beach with Bud and Choco, the resident pup.  The only thing better than the ocean at night is the ocean in the morning!

We walked for over an hour spying all sorts of fabulous treasures on the beach, feeling the crisp air, marveling over the motion of the ocean and enjoying our playful spirit.  Breakfast with 8 people was delightful.  We all shared our 'stories'.  It never fails to amaze me how interesting, similar and diverse our lives are. I love it!
A fisherman with his morning catch

Looks like rain!

Awesome rock on the beach

Choco loved playing fetch!

My shoes waiting for me while I
played in the water

Bud and Choco
     After breakfast, Shell drove a few of us to Montanita.  We checked out the shops.  We noticed that there was a full spectrum of fragrances and odors as we navigated our way through the town!  In one area there were tent/booths all lined up filling an entire street.  In the evenings, every one of them sells liquor!  This is still and has a history of being quite the party town.  Closer to LaEntrada, we saw lovely homes...that is where the once 'party animals' now lived as adults!

We continued to stroll the beach even though the drizzle was getting a bit heavier.  Shoes off, hair soaked and glasses foggy, we stopped at Shankha Sushi & Thai Restaurant at "The Point."
While our toes wiggled in the sand that made up the floor, our taste buds danced with the scrumptious food on our plates.  First on the menu was a 6" high and 16" long veggie tempura (called spiders or Aranas)...out of this world delicious!!!  Then we each ordered our main course.  I got shrimp with yellow curried rice and veggies...oh, yeah. Happy taste buds for
I absolutely loved this!!!

From Carnivale

The "Point"


Tummies full, we walked out to the street and stood on the curb waiting for the bus to take us back to the B&B.  One of the women with us, Linda, told us to be ready to get on quickly when it stopped. Also she shared that during busy hours, they practically pull passengers on and push them off so they can keep moving and increase their days' "bottom line."  Wow!
     When we got back, I went for a swim in the pool , sat awhile in the common area writing my notes of the day, then read, showered and hung out until it was time to go to dinner in Puerto Lopez.
This time there were 8 of us and we had a splendid time.  Marsha and Shell knew the owners as they frequent the place with guests from the B&B.  The hospitality was wonderful, the food was almost perfect (my mildly spiced dish was switched with someone else's very spicy dish and my first bite was a and the grounds were incredibly beautiful.  The slightly cool still night air was just right for outdoor dining.

Mama bird is keeping her little eggs warm
until they are ready to hatch

At the restaurant

ECUADOR - LaEntrada and a B&B I Won't Soon Forget


Our room

The B&B

Oh, boy, here we go...a 6 + hour drive through the mountains...hhmmm...sound familiar? LOL  But guess what?  All the way were paved roads...YES!!!  Bud was especially thrilled and grateful.  About 4 hours in, the sky opened up and down came blinding rain!  It rained so hard we could barely see where we were going.  Slow and easy was the order.  It didn't last too long though and at the first sign of sky, Bud spotted an incredible view off to our right.  He pulled into a long unpaved road and parked.  We got out and WOW...far beneath us in a lush valley was an area with meandering waters and trees and bushes that was being partially illumined by the sun.  It was so beautiful.  Our pictures truly do not do it justice.  We hung out there for a good 20 minutes.
     We tried to follow the maps and directions that Bud and Henry worked so diligently to prepare for us so that we would avoid the congested city of Guayquil...well, that did not happen.  We got pretty lost.  The map depiction of where to turn at one point did not match the 'real 3-D in our face' road configuration and we totally missed it.  SO...there we were in the midst of the craziness.  And, don't you know we had no cell service.  We couldn't even consult our frequently confused Google Maps chick...LOL   At least it wasn't raining anymore.  That would have been the icing on the cake.  We lost about 45 minutes, but finally managed to free ourselves from the madness and were once again on course.  When we got service, we quickly looked up the B&B that was recommended to us by a friend of Rita's.  We got directions and promptly passed it.  Marsha, the owner, was gracious enough to stand out front and wave us in after we called to explain what happened.  The place was breathtaking.  Multi levels, pool, jacuzzi and more...overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Shell, Marsha's husband and two other couples were sitting around the table chit-chatting when we arrived.  Each one of them greeted us warmly.  We knew it was going to be a great experience there.

     Marsha not only took me next door to order some dinner for Bud and me, but rounded up a bottle of Caladryl to soothe the insane itching on my calves and ankles from whatever bit me alive at the animal rescue in Puerto Misahualli. not where shorts and flip-flops in the jungles of Ecuador!!!  What was I thinking?  Guess I wasn'  It was an early night, but a fabulous one.  I actually slept out on the veranda in a hammock that first night.  The gentle breeze was warm.  The sounds of the ocean, like a lullaby, could have soothed a savage beast.  The sky diamonds sparkled. The full moon crept about behind the clouds.  It would take me at least a decade to get bored with!!!

B&B view from the beach

ECUADOR - Cuenca - Full Day of Fun and Friendship

The 'stuff' under the cones is not ice's meringue...bought by the scoop!

And, YES, that is a whole roasted pig
hanging there

Spectacular displays of alpaca textiles...
every color imaginable...and SO soft

Fried plantain strips
and chips

Fresh flowers in the marketplace...aaaah!

Rita and I were up and making fresh fruit salad by the time the guys surfaced!  They were up to all hours discussing...possibly...everything they had in common and then some.  After an amazing breakfast, thanks to Rita, we got ready to hit the town.  First, Parque Calderon, then on to do some serious souvenir shopping...alpaca, leather, wall hangings, shoes, etc.  It was great to walk along and stop to buy fresh foods from local vendors.  At one point, with tremendous enthusiasm, we took a break from strolling the streets for scrumptious ice cream delights.  (Pictures speak louder than words...see photos below...Yum!)  It was one of our more amusing experiences with the language
I scream, you scream, we all scream for
ICE CREAM!  Mine sat atop a bowl of
fresh was so yummy!

This was such a fun place...
the girls were so sweet trying
to understand our order!!!
We sat upstairs, of course!
     Then Henry took us up to Mirador de Turi for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of was gorgeous!   We went back to the house for dinner and a movie.  An early bedtime followed. We had to get on the road early in the morning.
     Bright and early, Rita and I took on the monumental task of stuffing all the souvenirs into this one duffel bag.  Go, us!!!  Success!  In the meantime, Henry and Bud mapped out a route that was supposed to save us a lot of time and potential aggravation by bypassing Guayaquil (the beating commercial heart of Ecuador!).  The best of got terribly lost and ended up having to go through the whole darn city anyway...part of the adventure!
     After our gourmet breakfast of oatmeal with ALL the trimmings, we hustled to get on the road.  Rita and Henry prepared lunches for us (leftover fillet mignon...YES!)  It was such an emotional mixed bag for me as we drove off.  I was filled with gratitude for having had the opportunity to be with my dear friends, have them meet a new friend of mine, and for the adventure that was still ahead of me in Ecuador...however, I was wishing that we had more time to spend with Rita and Henry in Cuenca!  Perhaps I will return someday!
A cemetery

CUENCA as seen from Turi

On the road view

Awesome architecture in Cuenca


Add caption

Gorgeous Ecuador street

Henry and Rita

Me and Rita

Bud and me

Men in the kitchen...oh, my!  lol

Hanging out after a lovely meal

For a couple bucks, you could get your
picture taken with that adorable pooch...

Mapping out our route 

Surprise!!!  Rita...friend and
hostess extraordinaire

Henry...friend and grill master