I Y Montañita
This past weekend we PDs had four days off for a holiday, 10 de agosto, the day on which Ecuador first declared its independence from Spain. Although actual independence wasn’t achieved until much later, the day is very important in Ecuadorian history, especially for Quito. Everyone had time off for the holiday and like almost everyone else in the city, we took advantage of the long weekend to take a trip to the coast. Although Ecuador is a very small country, it takes a long time to navigate through the sierra to get the beach. We have heard a lot of horror stories about long bus rides through the mountains, so we were all a little apprehensive about how to get there. After a lot of deliberation we opted to fly to Guayaquil, then take the three hour bus ride to Montañita, a small but lively beach town that was highly recommended to us by former PDs and locals alike. At 5am on Friday we grabbed our bags and piled into the back of a camioneta (pick up truck) for the 40-minute ride to the airport in Quito. Due to flight issues and an overcrowded bus terminal it ended up taking us a lot longer to get there than planned, but we passed the time with lots of card games and cheap food.
The town was like nothing I have ever experienced. It is full of surfers, international travelers, wandering craftsman, expats, and Ecuadorians looking to have a good time. We stayed in a really neat hostel right in the center of town, which was awesome until it was time to go to sleep. The music and celebrations finally started to wind down around 6am and which point we could finally catch a few hours of shut-eye under our mosquito nets. By the end of our trip we were scraping our change together to buy choclo con queso (grilled corn with pesto sauce, mayo, and cheese) and most of us were indebted to the bank of Emily. We are quickly learning how to make a little money go a long way. Unfortunately we didn’t see the sun once during our trip (though some of us still managed to get sunburned). We did however play in monstrous waves, dance in the streets, buy lots of jewelry, and get to know each other a lot better.