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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bahia de Caraquez

We're settling into living in Ecuador for the summer, trying to find some semblance of a routine for our days here. We haven't delved too deeply into boat projects yet, although John has taken care of a few minor problems like replacing the fuel lift pump (to try to stop diesel from getting into the engine oil) and repairing a tear in the main sail. It feels like we spend most of our afternoons on the internet in the bar, which inevitably leads into happy hour, which often turns into an excursion with friends out to one of the many small eateries for dinner, and then it's back to the boat to watch a DVD from the borrowed collections of other boats.

One of our favorite new discoveries, inspired by the loss of satellite radio access, is the free online NPR podcasts. John downloaded iTunes to the laptop and we went to the NPR web site to subscribe to our favorite shows. Now whenever we turn on the computer we bring up iTunes, and the latest episodes are automatically downloaded. So we're back to listening to shows like Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, Car Talk, and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I discovered a new one called Coffee Break Spanish which is produced out of Glasgow, Scotland. So not only can we learn some new Spanish, but John gets to practice his Scottish accent at the same time! It's a weird combination but, having lived for a year just north of Glasgow, I enjoy it.

We are experiencing some big tides at the moment and the current in the river really rips, especially on the ebbs. Occasionally we see some big trees floating by, but so far nothing has knocked into Nakia's hull. It can be a challenge getting the dinghy up to the boat for loading and unloading, but we're getting the hang of it.

Monday morning we walked south half an hour to Leonidis Plaza for their weekly tianguis (swap meet). There was no food to speak of, and it was mostly clothing and housewares. I managed to find one second hand clothing stall that had a "dressing room" where I could try on a pair of light blue capri pants, which I bought for $5. I'm going to have to invest in a few more cool weather items so that I'm not wearing shorts and tank tops all over town during what is essentially their cold season.

Saturday we went to Canoa with two other couples. This is a beach "resort" town which was reached by taking a panga ferry from Bahia to San Vincente, across the river, and then a bus the rest of the way. There wasn't much more to Canoa than a few beach restaurants, some beach vendors selling jewelery, and a few "hotels" catering to the back-packer, surfer crowd. But it made for a nice outing and we got to hang out with Rob and Linda of Cat 'n' About before they headed north to the States and then to Guatemala for the rest of the season.

So life is quiet for now, while we wait to see what happens next. We're looking into making a trip to the Galapagos by air, and hope to do that before we leave here. In the meantime, we'll try to make short trips to places like Guayaquil, Quito, Otavalo, Banos, and Cuenca, all in Ecuador.

Linda and John