Hello everyone. I am fresh off of my week of no Internet, and very little cell phone usage, and man does it feel good to be in the moment. However, I am not going to lie, I was very excited to be in contact with the outside world again.
Last week we lived in homestays in a very tiny costal town called Palmar. If you say Palmar to any Ecuadorian that does not live there, they have no idea what you are talking about, that’s how small it was. We all have the great fortune and misfortune of being in Palmar during their annual fiesta – Fiestas de Palmar. It was a really interesting thing to experience.
The town of palmar is beautiful and sad in many ways. It is a beautiful coastal town where people live off of fishing and selling their fish and oysters to markets outside of town. A lot of the men will fish for weeks at a time, and then return home to be what we consider “lazy” for a few weeks. I think that it is perfectly understandable that they take a few weeks off after their hard work. Unfortunately there is somewhat of a drinking problem in Palmar with the men of the houses. We were very careful everywhere we went because of the party and the drinking scene. It was a really eye opening experience to see such a large community drinking problem when it came to the men in the town. It was definitely an experience.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you’re looking at it, our APF Charlas both got cancelled for the week because of the Fiestas de Palmar. It was really nice because we all got to relax on the beach and really get to know the small town and the people at the Neo Juventud organization that we are sort of partnered with.
Neo Juventud is a really awesome organization that helps to support youth in the community of Palmar. They are awesome and they run a bakery, and internet café and a small gym for the town. Something about their organization was really inspiring to me, I think it was because it was the first time since we’ve been here that we have been with an organization that really has it together and really seems to be making an impact in the way that they have set out to make one. I hope to be able to keep in touch with the people of Neo Juventud because I think that it is an awesome program and they deserve a lot of support.
For our weekend off on Friday most of our group went to Montañita to spend the day. Half of the group that went, went because they wanted to learn how to surf. Unfortunately surfing cost $30 and we are just all very cheap at the end of our program money rope, so we all just laid around the beach for the day instead. There were a ton of stands lining the streets that had a lot of beachy drinks and batidos and juices, so I took full advantage of anything that had coconut in it! It was a really fun day and we all got a nice amount of sunshine. After that we divided again, Matt and Cate went to meet up with the other two in Puerto Lopez, and the rest of us headed back to our homestays, not wanting to spend more money on a hostel and food when we had a free bed and food back in Palmar (free being a loosely used term seeing as all of the money and housing we receive this trip we are paying for when we pay for the program).
The next morning we woke up somewhat early and caught a bust to Puerto Lopez para ver las ballines (to see the whales)! It was a rough morning with many arguments about how much we were willing to pay, who we wanted to go with, and just being Ecuador people (us) failing to be on time. It all worked out in the end though and we had an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day for watching the whales. We saw I think 5 whales, one jumped and was completely amazing. After that we came back and the boat dropped us off to swim in the sea for a little bit and snorkel some. It was beautiful, and a great way to eliminate the seasickness that people were having. After chillin in the water for about 20 minutes we all got back in the boat and were taken back to the shore. We then went to a really awesome Columbian restaurant (lucky mom dad and Wilson will get to try this place), and then layed on the beach outside one of the many many cabanas and enjoyed the strong equatorial sunshine :]
This was basically the end of our very relaxing week in Palmar. It was a great week, but I was definitely excited to get back to Cuenca where it is cooler, and the rest of our friends were there so we could all be together! Yay!
Only 2 more weeks in Ecuador! How time has flown!