This is actually my 50th post – what a nice thing 🙂
Crossing the border into Ecuador from Peru was quite easy. The border force officer even smiled at us – it is the first time in my life I have met a smiling border force officer. And he gave us a 90 days stay even though I only asked for 2 months.
However, our bus was searched no less than three times. Everyone was ordered out of the bus every time and there was a dog that was made to enter the bus and sniff around while our backpacks and suitcases were searched.
I am not sure if there is a particular reason for this. I wondered if it had something to do with the possibility of someone trying to bring coca leaves into the country from Peru, since we experienced no such thing the two times we crossed borders between Peru and Bolivia, where coca leaves are legal.
We were both very tired since we had spent the whole day waiting for our bus in Mancora, which was a nightbus. It came at 11 pm and we were at the border at around 2 am. A had almost fallen asleep when we reached the border and had to get out and through the pass control. But she always takes it so fantastically. She wakes up, gets her things and gets out of the bus. If something seems weird, like our bus being searched so many times she will ask me why they’re doing it and I’ll try to explain as well as I can. But A always makes it through things like these without complaining and I really admire that. We are definitely not travelling the most comfortable way possible, first of all I can’t afford that and second of all I choose to travel slowly overland for many different reasons, and she never complains about it. I don’t think A even thinks about our way of travelling as being ‘unusual’ for a single parent and a child, she simply thinks of it as another aspect of our lives. This is part of how we do things.
Our first stop here in Ecuador is Montañita. We had a quick stopover in Guayaquil but I had chosen to skip this city for now; I had read different things about the city that made me not want to stay there and besides, we wanted to swim, so we moved on up north. Montañita is very good if you like partying, and, needless to say, partying is not exactly what we’re after. But, there is also a very nice stretch of beach here. We walked up and down the beach yesterday and went for several dips. We almost had the beach to ourselves. It was quite cloudy and we were both wearing sun screen but we found out that the sun is very harsh here, so we need to be really careful. None of us sunbathe but we like to swim and that exposes us to the sun as well.
We have found a favourite juice stall with 1 dollar shakes and toasts and crepes and another stall with veggie burgers. But prices are different than in Peru here. I don’t know if it is just Montañita that’s pricey because it’s so touristy, but I suspect Ecuador is just a little more expensive than other countries in South America.
Today we met a friend from Huanchaco. A girl from Switzerland, Shania. She had made almost the same journey we did and is now staying in Montañita for a while. She is making her way up north to meet a friend in Colombia. It was really nice to see a familiar face and we enjoyed talking and exchanging experiences. Shania is looking for a job here, so she can save money on food and accommodation. That’s how we met her in Huanchaco; we came to the hostel she was working at for breakfast. We also met two Dutch girls at our favourite juice stall who had been to Colombia and were making their way down to Peru. They showed us some very beautiful pictures of places they had been to in Colombia. A was so delighted to have someone to talk to other than me that she couldn’t stop telling them how happy she was to meet them.
After breakfast we went for a long walk along the beach. It is quite beautiful here. And almost deserted. All we saw were pelicans, black vultures, and lots and lots of little sea snails.
A ran along the beach in front of me, following the lines in the sand, which the waves were making and dancing while she was singing a made up song.
She said to me that even though our Christmas this year would be so different from all our other Christmases it would still be a Christmas. ‘Just a different one – one that we will remember always’, she said. I smiled.
I hope she will look back on this Christmas and remember it as a fantastic adventure.