Ecuador
Don Pancho

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    • Day 6–56

      Olón

      November 6 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

      !Hola a todos!
      Nach den ersten Tagen in Quito auf 2800m über Meer sind wir nach Guayaquil geflogen um anschliessend per Bus nach Montañita zu gelangen.
      Nach einer Nacht in einem gemütlichen Hostel sind wir weiter nach Olón zu unserer Gastfamilie, wo wir bis Weihnachten bleiben werden. Die Wohnung ist sehr einfach gehalten und warmes Wasser gibt es nicht. Jedoch gewöhnt man sich daran. Bei Aussentemperaturen von 25°C ist das noch zu verkraften.

      Unsere Gastfamilie setzt sich aus 4 Generationen zusammen. Vom Jüngsten (Rogger, 9 Jahre) bis zu seinem Urgrossvater (75 Jahre). Die Chefin im Haus ist aber ganz klar Cécilia, unsere liebevolle Gastmutter, welche uns stets bekocht. Bananen gibt es zu jeder Mahlzeit in verschiedensten Variationen. Das scheint hier in Ecuador ein Grundnahrungsmittel zu sein.

      Während unserer Zeit in Olón haben wir primär zwei Ziele: Unsere Spanisch- und Surfkenntnisse auf- und auszubauen. Ersteres klappt aktuell ein bisschen besser und es ist bereichernd zu merken, dass das Konversationsniveau Tag für Tag ein wenig besser wird und wir auch mehr von den Leuten vor Ort erfahren.

      Wir haben im Vorfeld lange hin und her überlegt ob wir nach Olón oder Montañita gehen wollen. Der Entscheid für Olón war definitiv der Richtige. Hier in Olón ist es weit aus weniger touristisch, sehr übersichtlich aber dennoch nicht zu klein.
      Nebst den beliebten Strandbars gibt es hier seit mittlerweile 2-3 Jahren nette kleine Cafés, in welchen man einen guten Espresso sowie leckeres Brot erhält.

      So nun bleiben wir dran, verbessern unser Spanisch und melden uns in einer Weile wieder.

      ¡Vamos!
      Read more

    • Day 105

      Valentines Day in Olon

      February 14, 2020 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      So today we spent the day in Olon, which is the next town over along the coast from Montañita. We jumped in a taxi (which is only $1.50 anywhere to and from Olon or to Montañita centre from our hostel). We were dropped off on the main road and had no idea where to go, but managed to find our way to the beach front easily enough, as Olon is very small compared to Montañita. There a few restaurants, and most street foods for sale nearer the main road, but as we got closer to the beach alot more beach shops started to appear and right on the beach are a few rows beach hut style seafood restaurants with local style meals. We had met a guy in Montañita the night before, while waiting for friends, that had invited us on his date 😂 ( he was clearly not happy with her company for some reason) but anyway after lots if talking he recommended 'Mar y Sol' on the beach front to eat at, we found it and it was packed full of locals and a few tourists. It was great food and cheap, I had coconut prawns with... Yes you've guessed it double carbs 🤗 of fried plantain and rice (they love this in Peru and Ecuador). We spent the rest of the day on the beach here, as its so much quieter and cleaner than Montañita. Also it seemed to be more local families that use this beach rather than tourists 😁 the beach also has some beautiful views of the mountains further down the coast, and a nature reserve just off the beach front past the town centre. In the evening we went out for a meal in Montañita... Being valentines and all ❤️😘💕 and we had the best Pineapple Daiquiri, and of course goes without saying while we ate our romantic meal we had club music and parties in the street next to us 😂 once in a lifetime experience lol.Read more

    • Day 143

      Finally Falling For You, Olon

      January 8 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 75 °F

      The holiday season was wonderful in Olon, though the combo of Christmas music and palm trees was strange. It’s regularly sunny here now, and the sunset views from our apartment are…well…kinda obnoxious, given the current weather in DC, Boston and Canada.

      This month featured two amazing Hanukkah parties, which is a shock given that there are, like, three other Jews around here. We had latkes and a gift exchange with a ragtag group of tribe members at our friend, Robyn’s, house, and then we hosted a party for Talia’s school friends and their families. The party was made epic by the number of bottles of wine consumed as well as sufganiyot driven THREE hours from Guayaquil, as arranged by the Israeli co-owner of Talia’s school. It was a Hanukkah miracle. We loved sharing the holiday with a few Jews and the warm, wonderful families of Ayni Green School.

      Let’s see…what else? On Christmas Eve, a friend from Talia’s school invited us for a feast, which was great. On Christmas morning, we had Kyla’s famous baked French toast and then spent the day at the beach. Santa brought Talia a pina colada in a pineapple, which she loved even when she found out that half the kids in her class got 4-wheelers for the holiday. The “parking lot” (patch of dirt) outside of her school is now packed with 6 year olds parallel parking their quads. Talia is not getting a four-wheeler, but she it is likely that she will get carted around by the “you-were-a-toddler-a-minute-ago”set, for sure. Mom—please do not Google “four wheeler.” You don’t want to know.

      New Years was also a lot of fun…eventually. From Addie and Christian, we knew of the South American tradition of burning little piñatas (año viejos), making wishes with grapes and running around with yellow underwear and suitcases. We were game to participate, even though we usually like to chill at home on NYE.

      Figuring we’d need to keep Talia up to at least catch the beginning of the festivities, we went out to dinner at 7. I thought we’d be able to hit a few bonfires on the beach on our walk home, put Talia to bed, and then relax and head to bed at 12:01, as per our usual routine

      We were surprised that we saw ZERO people on our walk home via the beach at 9pm. Talia was dying to put her little año viejo in a fire, so we let her stay up until 10, thinking that the beach would soon fill with bonfires and party-goers. At 11, with no one in site, we decided to burn the thing ourselves. We headed to the beach with our año viejo and a lighter. Know what?! Those things are soaked in flame retardants. We tried to burn it for a half hour and the dude was immortal. We even smashed him with a rock so we could light him from the inside. It was brutal and unsuccessful.

      At 11:30, we took an exhausted and disappointed Talia inside to get ready for bed. At 11:50, she was just about to pass out when, suddenly, all of Olon streamed onto the beach, lit enormous bonfires and set off 9385738374 fireworks. The parties started at 11:50pm and lasted to 6am. Talia was psyched and kyla and I barely survived. Overall, it was memorable, though we may never catch up on sleep as our neighbors continue to set off leftover fireworks each night. See the video for our view of the fireworks from our roof deck.

      Talia went back to school after New Years, and was glad to see her friends and teachers. She loves school, particularly the bus rides, the vegetable garden, her little posse of friends and the long recesses. We get many hilarious notes from her teachers, but the video of Talia and a friend inspecting a (dead, but that detail isn’t entirely comforting) tarantula was not good for my heart. I put a screenshot in the photos with this posting. Sorry mom. Sorry Lauren W.

      Other stuff to report:

      —there are still stray cows on the beach.

      —Some days, Talia runs right from the school bus into the ocean in her clothes. I love, love, love when this happens. Most days, she wants to go up to the apartment, have a snack and relax after school, but I enjoy when she comes home with beach-energy.

      —In addition to the beach, Talia loves snorkeling in the pool. Sometimes she floats for an hour, just humming to herself through the snorkel—content in her own little sensory deprivation chamber. I’m glad she loves this activity, but I wish it were easier to confirm she’s alive when floating facedown in the pool.

      Overall, we are all enjoying the better weather (with a bit of guilt since it’s freezing in the northeast).
      Read more

    • Day 108

      Olon Before the Amazon

      December 4, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

      We had a great week back in Olon between our Thanksgiving trip and our b day trip to Mindo, Amazon and Cuenca. It’s finally relatively sunny!!

      This week featured sun, more World Cup games (even Talia’s outdoor school managed to stream the game!), a sting ray attack during a surf session (poor kyla!), an expat outing to see a local band and did I mention the sun?Read more

    • Day 89

      Más Olon

      November 15, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      Posting this a few weeks late, but wanted to put a for on our map back in Olon and post some photos of the transition from mud and constant clouds to HOLY CRAP IT’S FINALLY SUNNY!!!

      This period of time included Kyla finally having a day off while Talia was in school, so we walked a bunch of miles up the beach through Curia and San José. We also trapped and inadvertently dismembered a lizard (their tails grow back!!!). And we spent some great time with friends from Talia’s school. And, of course, there are more photos of the stray cows.Read more

    • Day 74

      Oh Olon

      October 31, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

      We’ve spent the last few weeks in Olon and surrounding areas, and we’re getting comfortable in this quirky little town. I wish Kyla and I spoke more Spanish, so that we could access the local community more effectively, but, even in our weird little expat world, we’re learning a lot. Recent weeks have featured:

      -Parties! Despite excellent training by Addie and Cristhian and my general tendency to be late for everything, I’m not late *enough* for anything in Ecuador. We showed up a half hour late for a birthday party and we beat the rest of the expats by about an hour and Ecuadorians by 2 hours. The birthday party included Mirabel and Isabel hype ladies, a DJ, strobe lights, a fog machine, organized games and gifts for all of the kids. I’m SO GLAD that Talia won’t celebrate her birthday in Ecuador. I would fail miserably.

      -Halloween! Halloween isn’t really a thing in Ecuador, but Talia’s school went all out for the kids. There are not enough Pinterest sites in the world that would make me good at crafting, but I did my best (and Kyla baked Halloween treats, which were a hit).

      -Telas! Talia loves fabric acrobatics and she had a Halloween-themed recital this week. She had a great time! Not sure how transferable this interest is to life in DC, but she’s enjoying it.

      -Stray Cows! I’m constantly adjusting my route along the beach into town to avoid stay cows (and their poop). The strays are for real around here: cows, dogs, roosters and even horses run loose,

      -Bread festival! We went down the coast a bit to visit a local bread festival, featuring local bakeries and various bread sculptures. We went towards the end of the day, and the bread sculptures were looking….ragged. Had fun and carb loaded.

      -School! Talia loves, loves, loves school, and the kids are super sweet. School was cancelled due to excessive mud one day last week and her teacher came by for a house call with two other kids.

      Surfing! Both Talia and Kyla are taking surf classes now. I’ll join when it’s warmer (it’s still winter here—not cold, but not the type of weather that gets me in the water). Talia’s school teacher is also her surf instructor.

      Food! We go to the fish market every few days, but we haven’t branched out to the meat-on-hook or lobsters-in-a wheel-barrel guys. After years of instacart, it’s been interesting to get fresh fish, vegetables, fruit and homemade bread every day.

      Logistics! Our day-to-day requires way more logistical planning here than in DC. I’m in charge of gathering (i.e. grocery shopping at the various stalls around town) and external relations (i.e. using google translate to navigate various exchanges via whatsap) and Kyla is the “advance team” and handles all travel logistics. We have to move out of our apartment in December, which is proving to be a logistical pain….but I think we’re just going to move into another unit in our current spot. It’s not very adventurous, but it’s easy and frees Kyla up to plan our various travel adventures.

      Next spot is Cotacachi! Amazon and Cuenca are on deck after that.
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    • Day 25

      Birds so far

      September 12, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 72 °F

      Most of these birds were right outside our door in Olon, but some are from Puerto Lucia and Sucre (Rio Muchacho farm). Kyla and Talia have done their best to label them using our 94738364 page Ecuador bird book, but please feel free to leave a comments with suggestions and corrections.Read more

    • Day 15

      Fishing in Olon

      September 2, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

      We had a chance to watch some local fisherman right outside our apartment on Friday.

      They started by dragging their huge net from the beach into the ocean on a small paddle-powered boat. They spread the net out over what looked like about a quarter of a mile. Then, two lines of people standing a quarter mile apart dragged the net in over the course of an hour, slowly meeting in the middle, right in front of our apartment.

      As the fishermen finished their work, lots of other people showed up: a ceviche-on-a bike-cart guy and the pescado-motorcycle guy were first to line up, followed by vendors from the local fish market. Others brought nets and some tied ropes around their waists and stuffed their shirts with flopping fish. The whole thing happened without any exchange of money, so I’m not sure whether this was a business venture or just a fun Friday morning fishing trip among friends (have I mentioned that our Spanish is terrible?!). As they wrapped up their work, the men taught Talia how to play fetch with some hungry birds, using the fish that were to small to keep. A lot of excitement on a Friday morning!

      Oh, and the other exiting moment this week occurred when a lizard dropped from our ceiling onto Kyla’s desk while she was working. Talia and I were eating lunch in town, but we ran home via the 5 minute commute on the beach so that Talia could help set the lizard free. Later that day, the lizard’s BFF showed up and we had to do another lizard relocation project. I felt a little badly evicting the lizards, given my line of work, but I’m hoping we did right by them.

      Pics/videos of lizard and fishing below!
      Read more

    • Day 3

      At home (for now) in Olon

      August 21, 2022 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      Our first few days in Olon have been peaceful. We explored the little town of Olon, which has a million beachfront ceviche places, some markets, a small playground and various little shops, restaurants and cafes. As you can see from the photos, there’s no Wegmans here, but we’re managing.

      In addition to Olon, we’ve explored nearby Montanita, a slightly larger and more touristy town (for Ecuadorian tourists, not US tourists) that has a bigger market, more restaurants and a ton of backpackers/surfers. Talia had an unfortunate run in with cow poop on the beach and I snapped a photo of her running into the ocean to clean her tie-dye crocs, which is just about the most “gringo-in-Ecuador” thing ever. We were a bit overwhelmed by the scene in Montanita in our initial explorations, but it’s useful to have a nearby town that is slightly bigger than Olon.

      Kyla is back at work full time, so I’ve been going on the sorts of adventures with Talia that I don’t think Kyla will mind missing. Adventure # 1 was a horseback ride and hike to a nice little waterfall in an area called Dos Mangas. Before I move on, can anyone photoshop a helmet onto Talia’s head before my mom (and her posse of friends) sees the pics of Talia on a horse and scaling a waterfall?

      Adventure #2 was a sailboat whale watching expedition. During this trip, I learned two important things: (1) I’m terrible at photographing whales (see evidence below) and (2) those little anti-seasickness wristbands are a load of beachfront cow poop. That aside, it was cool to see a bunch of whales and we spotted our first blue footed boobies (apparently the ones we saw are young, since their feet turn a brighter blue as they mature). I’ll make a separate post with all the birds at some point.

      In addition to adventures outside of Olon, the three of us have done a lot of walking around on the beach and hunting for various products that we didn’t bring with us (I’d kill for some unscented laundry detergent, for example). We’ve also been working on identifying various unfamiliar birds and fruits, as you can see from the photos. It’s been fun to explore with Talia, but the unstructured time is also exhausting, so we’re all excited for school to start in mid-September.

      There have been a few things that have been harder than expected in the first week. Talia was the first to fall to “traveler’s stomach,” which is a bummer. It’s also been s challenge to find feed ourselves. There are bunch of restaurants in town, and a few markets…a lot is made more challenging by not being able to drink or cook with the water. Next week’s project will be figuring out a good system for grocery shopping.

      It’s cloudy season here and that means it’s cool on the coast. We will use weekends to chase the sun in other parts of Ecuador. It’s a good thing that Kyla packed the vitamin D in those 9274629273 bags! We’re off to Puerto Lopez tomorrow!
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    • Day 242

      Surfi Surf 🌊

      December 15, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      Da wir ja nun Hauptsächlich zum surfen hier sind, haben wir auch mal versucht ein paar fotos mit einzubringen...gar nicht so leicht, weil meistens sind wir ja doch beide im Wasser 😜

      Trotzdem hier ein kleiner Eindruck von einer unserer sessions hier in olón 🤙Read more

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