Carnaval at the Playa!

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
Trip End May 16, 2011

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Where I stayed
Condo on the beach

Flag of Ecuador  , Esmeraldas,
Saturday, March 5, 2011

The beach. This weekend was carnaval in all of Latin America and of course it is celebrated in Ecuador. For carnival most people in Ecuador go to the beach. The beach here is of course the pacific ocean and very very warm! This was the first time I had been to the Pacific Ocean. I actually went with an Ecuadorian family who I knew because my Mom hired their daughter back in Jersey. Their house is in a the town of Same (pronounced differently than the same in English) but were in the area known as casa blanca. It is pretty evident why its called this just by looking around. Every condo and house is white. It resembles Greece quite a bit. It is supposed to be one of the best beaches in Ecuador and you can tell why.

So we were going to leave Saturday morning at 9:30 but of course in Ecuadorian time that means about 10 or after. Ecuadorians really don't rush to make informal times they set and are usually late. The environment overall here is so much more relaxed which in a lot of ways is a lot better. But anyway we got going little bit after 10 with Luis, Nancy, Tati (their grand kid). The beach is around 5 hours away from Quito, so it was a bit of a drive. With everybody going to the beach and a bit of traffic it took a bit longer than that. We also stopped for lunch a little bit after Mindo (see other entry). Here I took some pictures of hummingbirds. There are so many different beautiful varieties.

During carnaval many kids main objective is to get you wet. This involves throwing water balloons, throwing buckets of water, and using squirt guns. Also kids will spray this kind of foam stuff at you. So anyway on the way when were passing through towns we had to keep our eyes open and close our windows as not to get wet. Along the way it is interesting to see the landscape change from cloud forest to palms and beach. You can also clearly feel the change in temperature. Almost the whole way is down hill. Of course like most other routes in Ecuador the scenery is beautiful. Waterfalls, mountains, etc. Past this is rivers and rows of palms and rubber trees. So we finally got to the beach right before dusk and the sunset. The sunset there is beautiful because the sun sets right over the ocean right on the horizon (see pictures).

The next day I woke up and took an early walk on the beach with Nancy. You can see the mountains just beyond the beach and of course it is very pretty. We got back and had breakfast made by their personal chef. She made all our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The food was really amazing. It was a change from the usual highland food to much more sea food. For breakfast every day we had fruit and different coastal dishes. This day we had balles de verde which are delicious balls made with a type of banana with cheese inside. The other breakfasts included shrimp omelet and of course fresh juice. For lunch we had ceviche to start. Ceviche is a soupy combination of shrimp or other sea food with veggies and other spices. We also had Dorado a type of hearty fish. I couldn't get enough. Lunch on Monday consisted of rice with calamari and peppers. We also had fried calamari for dinner one night. Everything was so fresh. It is almost like they grab the fish out of the water and cook it right after. It was amazing food and I enjoyed every bite.

Otherwise, most activities were shear relaxation. The condo was literally right on the beach. You could sit out on the balcony and just enjoy the sound of the waves. There was a really nice pool right below us and the beach was so close. The water was also really really warm and enjoyable. The sun however is very strong there and you have to be careful not to get burnt. At night I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony and hearing the waves crash. You could see a fair amount of stars and just relax.

Tati (11 years old and already knows 4 and a half languages - Spanish, Swiss, German, English, and a bit of French) was excited to hit people with water balloons and the spray she had bought. It is really crazy that she knows that many languages at 11. I wish I knew that many at 11. She is Paulina's daughter and she is originally from Switzerland (explains all the languages). But anyway she filled up a bunch of balloons and we spent a fair amount of time in the pool throwing them at people. I was also attacked a couple of times by that spray stuff. She was almost like my new sister for the weekend. I also spoke Spanish for the whole weekend which was a good experience and change from my usual weekend trips.

We left on Tuesday, the last day of carnival and my school vacation. We left for Quito at about 11 am and hit less traffic. The traffic they complain about here is far less than the US so I wasn't too worried about it. Most of the roads are not highways anyway and most of them have only one lane. This means a lot of passing on the wrong side of the road! Again we ate near Mindo and I took a bunch more pictures of hummingbirds.

Overall it was a superbly relaxing trip and I came back very rested. I also barely paid for anything and I am very grateful to the Alemans for sharing their house with me. The beach here is really beautiful and best of all warm! All for now. Next week I'm going back to the jungle, but I'm staying there for 3 nights!

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UT on

Hey Joe,
What an amazing trip to the beach! Everything looks so beautiful. I had a lot of cerviche and dorado when I was in Panama. It was really tasty. Hints of spring are in the air here at last.
Be Well,


Richard and Barbara on

As usual Joe your writing is just great - you really know how to bring your adventures to life for us flat landers up here in good old Nueva York! - keep up the good work and you'll start making me think you should consider pursuing a career as a travel writer! We're all intensely jealous - so keep stoking thet fires of our jealousy with more stories and pictures - thank you!
BTW - the pictures really are great.
Take care,
Barbara and Richard

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