This trip is a constant state of change and adjustment. We plan to travel during the day, and then we find out it’s better to travel at night (or vice versa). We get our hopes up to stay at one guesthouse, and then we find out it’s booked. We show up at a museum only to find out it’s closed. It’s never-ending. Today, we had originally planned on leaving from Canoa in the morning and arriving in Quito at night. And then we found out there wasn’t a bus from Canoa in the morning. We hung out at Sundown for one last afternoon before we packed everything up for another overnight, this time from Canoa to Quito.
I’m much more of a sunset kinda girl than I am a sunrise. We’ve seen a few of these beauties from our room, but tonight, we all took the time to walk down to the beach and soak it up together. It was beautiful. There’s something really magical about being able to do or watch something extraordinary with a group of only days prior were strangers. We all may have just met, but it rarely feels that way after connecting over a fun activity or a beautiful view. It’s one of my favorite things about this trip. The constant reminder that we’re all connected, and that there probably is no such thing as a “stranger” after all.
There are times on this trip where I’m just… tired. Usually it’s from the stress of travel; long bus rides, wrapping my head around a new country/city/language and most of the time some international politics… I even tire after days of planning and catching up on editing photos and videos… Today, I woke up mentally exhausted from the intensive week of Spanish grammar. I took a break. I watched Scandal. a lot of Scandal. Apologies for the long walk on the beach (above).
Spanish was starting to turn into someone getting paid to read a grammar book to me. It made me a little nervous, but being a former language teacher myself, I planned on asking for some more conversation the next day and studied all afternoon except for the couple of hours Andrew and I closed our books and walked into Canoa for some snacks. We went into a corner market in search of popcorn kernels, and discovered ‘popcorn’ is not a universal word. The poor girl looked at me repeating “corn?” like she had never heard of it before.
“Maize… con pop pop pop pop pop” I tried again.
“Ohhh canguil” She answered with a smile, and quickly retrieved a small bag of popcorn kernels from under a pile of bags of rice.
Obviously, I have more studying to do.
You know what’s nice? Waking up in a room with a view in Canoa, and being able to walk out of your door to said view (above). We joined some new friends for breakfast, met our newest Spanish teachers, and got to work. This time around, Andrew and I were learning one-on-one with different teachers on the beach. It’s my first time learning a language like this, that is, if you don’t count my failed attempts to study Korean with friends in coffee shops… I was a bit apprehensive about it, but Luis (my teacher for the week) was nice, and the first day mostly felt like a big review of my week in Cusco. Sundown Inn provides (bootlegged photocopied) books that I was pretty satisfied with from the start. We spent most of the afternoon studying, Andrew in our room, and me in the hammock outside bundled up in the yak wool scarf.
Our latest bus journey was supposed to be super smooth. We woke up early to make sure it would be a two bus adventure instead of three. We even arrived at the second bus station and jumped on our next bus with relative ease. Perhaps I jinxed us when I said “Wow, this hasn’t been bad at all!” to Andrew as we pulled out of the station. And then several hours passed, and we still weren’t where we were supposed to be. On a map, it’s approximately a three hour journey. Factor in a bus change, and a few road-side pick-ups (of passengers) and sure, an extra hour or even an hour and a half seems reasonable. But SIX AND A HALF HOURS?!? No, six and a half hours from Puerto Lopez to Canoa was not reasonable. By the time we got into Canoa Andrew sat down at the first restaurant we saw while I went in search of a baño. Somehow, I ended up in someone’s outhouse in their backyard (with their permission) while Andrew ordered fish and rice for us to eat around the corner. It was nearing dusk by the time we got to our beachfront hotel and we were too tired to do anything other than jump in the ocean to cool off and then immediately lay down before our next round of Spanish classes started in the morning.