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Hippie town Montanita

Written on: Thursday September 20th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Author: Julie

Hola!

We woke up to pure quiet except for the waves crashing. What a wonderful sound, it?s good for the soul to hear the rhythm of the world. Getting up earlier than I, Kevin quietly grabbed his guitar and headed for the beach. I was having my first lazy day in bed in weeks and luxuriated in the soft bed, reading the book Christian had given me the evening before. I was as happy as a pig in mud. It had been since Banos that did not have a book to read and I was getting antsy. It?s harder to find book exchanges than I thought it would be. We had tried a couple of book stores in Guayaquil but none had an English/French section other than translation dictionaries, which does not make for casual reading. Near mid-morning I decided I had spent enough time being lazy and headed out with a nutritious meal of granola/yogurt, cupcakes and orange juice to share with Kevin. I found him not to far away from our cabanas with a new friend. They were passing the guitar back and forth, playing whatever tune came to mind. I spread out my sarong, munched on breakfast while listening the soft guitar music and watching the surfers crest the waves.

As the afternoon approached, the little bit of blue sky disappeared behind grey, angry looking clouds and a soft mist started falling. We took refuge at a restaurant/bar across from our hostel and spent the afternoon eating and drinking the national beer Pilsener which is, get ready for it, a pilsener type beer. They come in huge 600ml bottles for around 1-1.50$ depending on where you are. For that bottle size, in Ottawa, it would cost about 8$ a bottle, so we didn?t feel too guilty when the bill came at the end of the afternoon with a charge for 6 shared bottles. At one point during the afternoon, Kevin got into a drinking war with the Australians sitting at the table next to us, unfortunately, he never told him that he was drinking against them, a small oversight on his part I?m sure. He declared himself the winner when they went back to their hotel room without a word to us. This morning after breakfast, we saw them leave with their backpacks: ?There isn?t enough room in this town for all of us.?

Following the same pattern as yesterday, the weather is still holding tightly to misty rain. In a beach town with the main activity being sitting under the sun and surfing, bad weather is not very conducive to doing much of anything. We spent a good part of the morning and afternoon with Matu, Chanti and Christian trying to help them with a couple of computer glitches they are having with their laptops. Everyone we?ve met who?ve used our laptop to uploaded photos have had mallware/spyware on their USB keys and the computers in the internet cafes seem to be badly infected. We may be in ?retirement? but there?s always computer clean-up work to be done everywhere we go. Once everything was fixed, Matu said his good-byes and headed back to El Bicho (meaning small animal, or in slang weird). He and Chanti were moving on to their next stop: Puerto Lopez.

Needing to stretch our legs, we headed for the beach to take a few photos. We had so quickly adapted to the easy life of laziness that we hadn?t photographed anything yet. Our excuse was that we were holding out for sunny conditions. The moment we stepped on the beach, we were surrounded by the friendly local dogs. There are maybe 20 of them that run around the village, but they must belong to someone since they seem to be in fairly healthy condition; their coat looks brushed and their teeth and ears are clean. As you walk, they come up beside you and join you for a stroll. One of them, a black coated dog, stopped at a long tree branch that had washed up on shore and barked at it for a long while. I picked it up for him and he took off walking with it. It was such a funny sight to see this proud dog with a 7 foot long branch in his mouth. Another one, a little beige colored beagle-looking dog spent his time chasing rocks we threw, coming back with it in his mouth. At any given time, on the beach or in the village, you can have up to 3 dogs hanging out with you, waiting for the occasional petting or drop of food. None seem to be wanting which is good to see, after some of the sad looking dogs we?ve seen in other villages. Although, there is one dog that captured our hearts over all the other ones. He lives at our hostel and he?s had a tragic life. You just have to look into his eyes to know that he?s hurting. He?s had 4 car accidents (okay, so he?s probably not the smartest), is supposedly anemic, and almost died for a badly infected bite after a fight with another dog. He can barely walk and if he stands for too long, his legs start to shake and one by one they give out on him till he topples over. He?s also got a really bad cough which knocks him off his feet. His last car accident about 3 months ago, he was ran over by an SUV truck that stopped right on top of him breaking his hip bone. The owner of the hostel told us that the village rallied around him, getting veterinarian care for him and always having someone with him around the clock. Since the accident, he?s been a nervous, neurotic mess and is easily spooked by loud noises. He?s almost skin and bones, it?s so heartbreaking to see. We?ve spent a lot of time with him, petting him and just giving him lots of encouragement. Kevin petted him till he fell asleep today. The hostel staff say it?s the first time since the accident they?ve seen him fall asleep. We?ll do as much as we can for him while we are here.

On a happier note, we had a wonderful supper tonight. We saw a sign for a new Argentinean Paradilla restaurant today, so we decided to give it a try. We walked down a dark side street, off of main street, wondering if we had gone the wrong way, when we saw the little restaurant. There were a couple of men working in the open kitchen but not a customer. We actually turned around since there was no one there, but after discussing decided to give it a try anyhow. Are we glad we did! We ordered the Paradilla for 2 people and had so much food left over. Paradilla is a form of Argentinean barbecue where a variety of meats are slow grilled over coals. We had chicken, chorizo sausage, steak, blood pudding, pork, and chimichurri (bread with lime and herbs). I also ordered a litres of Chilean red wine. Ah, wine how can I live without thee? It was such a nice change after all the beer of late. Our meal was a slow affair, watching our meat slow cook, talking into the night, drinking our wine, and enjoying each others company. Especially when tomorrow night is going to be one long, dance-filled night with hundreds of other travellers and Ecuadorians here for the monthly full-moon party.