Monday, March 3, 2008

¿Como se dice?

OK, we're still in Selinas but are leaving tomorrow. Selinas is a typical beach side town. The strip along the beach has been updated and tourist-ised but as the guide books say beyond the strip is just a small fishing town with dusty, pot holed streets. We've really enjoyed our time here being on "holiday" more than any place else we've been in Ecuador, but as we said before it's not the place we ultimately want to live - too hot, nothing to do except go to the beach.

The beach scene expands on the weekends and it's chaos. Vendors selling everything, all the time - CDs, lamps, drinks, food, ice cream, beer, fresh fruit, clothes, jewellery, etc. We spent most of our time on the beach but did discover the back streets for our eating. There's a kindof people's market that's like a great big outdoor food court and because you're on the ocean they mostly specialize in sea food. Brian has been enjoying (gluttonizing) on a rice and shrimp combo for $4 and Shelley discovered a breaded fish meal with rice, salad, plantain and fish for $2.50. It's more than you can eat! We're both getting absolutely terrific tans! In the day time it's 31 degrees and at night it cools down to 27. Thank gawd we have air conditioning.

We were very surprised that we appear to be the only gringos here. In the past week we've only spotted 3 or 4 others, and have
spoken to 1, a guy from Long Island, NY. The water is very salty, you can feel your feet rising when you swim.

Yesterday is rained all day for the first time since we've been in Selinas. The people just walk around in their shorts and t-shirts as it continues to be very warm even when it's raining. Not much to do when it's raining however, in a beach resort.

By the way we had to use our Ecuadorian electrical outlet adaptor here as well, so I guess it was worth buying - we've ended up using it about 3 times now.

We took a bus trip (25 cents) to La Libertad one day and went to their beach area and watched the fishermen do their thing. We went to a water park one day. Can you believe Brian managed to live 67 years before he went to a water park - it was a blast!

They say it's malaria country where we are now and we're taking our malaria pills religiously but there really aren't a lot of bugs around.

We've had banana or plantain any way that it can be served - fried, roasted, banana split, deep fried, banana chips, etc. They come with every meal!

Every morning there's a contingent of old men sweeping the sidewalks and every night they must have people who pick up on the beach because the beach here is very clean.

Well, we've had volcanoes, flooding and now there are troops massing at the border. You'd think Ecuador would pay to have us not be here. Apparently the Columbians followed a rebel over the boarder into Ecuador and killed him. Ecuador is very upset about it - as they

should be. So now both Ecuador and Venezuela are claiming that the Columbian government is US friendly and supported by the CIA and that the rebels have a legitimate claim to power. We are, of course, no where near where this is all happening!

Two things - they keep eggs on the shelf here just like cereal or cat food and they have no idea how to butcher beef - they just cut all the meat off hilly nilly and sell it in chunks. We're told that the beef is sometimes cow rather than beef cattle as well.

Tomorrow we're off to Guayaquil then Cuenca a couple of days after that where we hope to connect with an immigration lawyer. They call the lawyers Doctor here. After Cuenca we'll go back to Vilcabamba and meet Brian's friend John, so our missives may be longer inbetween as we'll be retracing our steps and won't want to bore you with the same old same old.

We do plan to go on the famous train ride at Riobamba and see the volcano that just erupted when we visit Banos. Banos is where the leading hot springs of the country are.

So far we've managed to keep on budget and if this continues we'll go home with exactly the same amount of money that we left with. We are a lot more comfortable with our muy poco Espanole, to the point now where Brian has small conversations with shop keepers, etc.

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