Olon day 2, a peaceful beach

I am starting this right before noon, sitting in a hammock outside our hostel room. We have an elephant living above us, so we woke when she woke, but it wasn’t too early, so that was fine. Besides, we’d already been on the edge of consciousness for a time due to extremely heavy rains. My first thought was, “oh no! They’re following us!”

We went down and had breakfast with the hosts and an older American couple from Philadelphia who were very chatty. Apparently, the woman has been coming here for decades and owns some land in neighboring Montanita. She is trying to convince her husband of Ecuador’s fabulousness, which isn’t very difficult to do.

After breakfast, the woman, Davita, walked us over to the local laundress, which I’m glad of, because we’d never have found it. Then we went for a walk along the gorgeous beach, the longest in Ecuador.

The fishermen were cleaning up the last of their catch, selling the small leftovers to locals while birds wheeled overhead.

We saw a huge sand dollar, missing a chunk almost half its size, but it was alive! Periwinkle-like things were being dragged along with the surf, digging into the sand and wiggling their soft bits up in the water.

After a bit of a wander, we headed back to the hostal. We hoped to move our things over to the new room, but they weren’t ready for us. Instead, we hung out reading on the hammocks for a while before going back to the beach to find a parasol to sit under.

This beach is so peaceful. There aren’t too many people here, although it’s also certainly not empty. There are cafe cabanas along the beach, as well as a few cocktail stands and vendors selling all kinds of treats and souvenirs. Matt had a shaved ice with 3 different flavors and condensed milk sprinkled over the top. We shared 2 fresh coconuts, drinking their water from straws. Later we had ice cream. My coconut ice cream was the coco-nuttiest I’ve ever tasted. Yum! No pictures through the afternoon because we were going swimming too, so left the tech in our bags at the hostal.

The water at Olon is great for body-surfing, although very full of sand so very uncomfortable when you get it up your nose or down your throat, which we did. It’s also very warm, kind of like swimming though a very large area where someone peed. Every once in a while we’d get a cooler bit, but mostly it was warm.

After a few hours under the parasol, I started thinking my toes felt a little tight. We went and picked up our laundry and a big bottle of water, then went back to see about our room. Reminiscent of yesterday’s soup, it still wasn’t ready, so we sat and waited. Our constant presence this time seemed to move things into higher gear, and we got into our room within the hour.

By now it was about time to be thinking about dinner, and we needed cash. We also needed more aloe vera to help deal with the sunburns we were sporting. Matt s particularly lobster-esque. My burns are bad, too, but I was under the parasol the entire time, whereas he’d decided to get a tan and spent some time lying out directly under the bright equatorial sun. Oops.

Anyway, we decided to go into Montanita, and inquired about the bus. This led to an attempt by our host to be helpful, which led to an hour sitting around, ending in our walking to the bus stop. It was a pleasant hour, though, spent being manhandled by a troupe of girls, ages 9-17 if I’m guessing. A 12-year-old and a 9-year-old were particularly interested in my dreadlocks and my piercing. They were sweet.

We’d been told about Montanita several times since arriving in Ecuador. It sounds like a party hippy town, and it is. The beach is known for surfing, but it’s small and crowded.

The streets were filled with people and vendors, bars and discos, and crappy-looking restaurants. All the prices were as high as European prices, the first we’d seen this in Ecuador.

I am so glad we stayed in neighboring Olon instead.

We found everything we need, including a nice little clothing shop with clothes similar in style to the things my friend Brenn makes. I tried on a little sundress that fit but could have fit better, and the young woman running the shop said she could make me a better one, same price, within an hour. She even gave me a choice of fabrics, although I chose the same one. So we went to dinner, which was disappointing, then picked up the dress and took a taxi back to Olon.

The teenagers (including Aussie Elephant) were having a birthday party directly under our new room, so after reapplying aloe vera, we thought we’d take a walk on the dark beach to look at the stars some more before bed.

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