Supersize me in montanita!

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of Ecuador  , Manabi,
Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas was approaching and so we decided to take a two week holiday like we do at home except instead of taking time out from work we were holidaying on a permanent holiday- perfect!
And so arriving at the beach town montanita - ecuadors party capital - we decided what better place to settle down and enjoy a while of not travelling, trekking or really doing anything particularly strenuous or tiring.
We had heard good things about a hostel called tiki limbo but were shocked to hear the price of $30 a night! We checked in for a night anyway while we trudged around the town finding another place for the Christmas and new year period- after an hour or so in a town consisting of 3 roads we were finding ourselves out of luck until finally we stumbled upon a little 3 storey wooden building on the beach front for half the price, we decided we'd check in the next day. The sun was shining and after filling our empty tummies we headed to the beach where we stayed for the rest of the day until sunset. Montanita was everything mancora wasn't , as the sun set beach bars played bob Marley (quietly) in the background, people filled the streets and the beach stretched as far as the eye could see. A small alley lead from the beach which had been imaginatively named cocktail alley and was lined with little huts selling fresh juices and cocktails. It was in this alley we first met a guy who bore an uncanny resemblance to Zack galifanakos in the hangover! A slightly larger man wearing sunglasses with very impressive facial hair began talking to us as tai bought his third pair of sunglasses so far this trip, he was American and to our delight seemed to be sitting at a cocktail hut drinking with 3 other skinnier friends and a baby - which looked south American - in a chair next to him! We couldn't believe it and wondered if montanita was indeed ecuadors equivalent of Vegas- we later found out his name was Zack and We still wonder if his last name was in fact galifanakos - not wanting to spoil our hopes we never asked and so in our memories we will never forget meeting Zack galifanakos on our first night in Ecuador, not sure if I mentioned that by this point is what nighttime and so the sunglasses were not needed by Zack at all- even better!
The next day we changed hostels and booked ourselves in for a week of Spanish school to begin after Christmas in an attempt to improve our dismal Spanish!
That night we had drinks on the hostel terrace with some other people who'd been on the bus behind us coming from mancora and had unfortunately been robbed - an all to often occurrence it seems in south America.
We had our first night out in montanita, drinking cheap rum on the beach, tai got an american girl drunk with one cocktail and she proceeded to dance very innapropriately with a guy we later nicknamed player after seeing him with at least one different girl every night we were there and we realised there was a nightclub right next door to our wooden hostel!
A good night was had by all and we woke up the next day and spent another day on the beach. The beach itself was wide and stretched for miles which made a nice difference to the small patch of beach everyone squeezed onto in mancora which got smaller and smaller as the afternoon went on and the tide came in, although it did make for good entertain as everyday numerous people were surprised by a big wave coming in and covering them as they lay with there eyes closed sunbathing.
They next few days drifted on and montanita had been cloudy for around 3-4 days- during this time we decided to have another surfing lesson. After our last one we decided there couldn't be that much in the quality of surf instructors- besides all they seem to do is stand in the water and shout either paddle or up at you for 2 hours, we therefore chose the cheapest class we could find. We were wrong the guy we had here was so much better than the guy we had in huanchaco and we both improved a lot during the lesson. It was great fun and we surfed until sunset. We decided to head out that night to celebrate our newly found surfing skills and found an awesome bar called Cana grill, which just had sand as the floor and had a band playing who were really good and they also had a half hour or so of karaoke- not so good!
We started to head back to the hostel at around 2ish when we bumped into fiorella- a Peruvian girl from our hostel - she was out with a group of Argentinians and we decided to have a few more drinks with them. One of the other bars cafe Hola ola was having a big party but you had to pay to get in, as the front was open and the music was played so loud no one bothered to pay and so there were loads of people just on the street outside and we met loads of people from all over south America.
Christmas was now only a few days away and so we went in our own separate directions for a spot of Christmas shopping. Tai had lost one of his spacers in cusco so I wanted to get him another one the problem was they only had really huge ones on the stalls. I got talking to a guy from Peru who makes them and so drew the design I wanted, chose the wood and left him to make it for me. The next few hours was spent secretly going to check on the gift without tai realising! In the end I got the finished product and was excited to give him the gifts on Xmas day.
They celebrate Xmas on the 24th here which I think is pretty standard in a lot of countries, and so we sat at our hostel with a mix of people from across the globe and got into the festive spirit. At midnight you have to hug and they let off fireworks then they open presents so Xmas day itself doesn't really have much going on. The 24th was a big night and feeling extremely worse for wear we ventured to the main street to find some wifi so we could speak to people at home. The ATMs in town were down and we had no money at all so we had to go to the only restaurant that accepts cards and had a fresh juice and shared a plate of nachos for Christmas dinner! We swapped presents - id also bought tai some juggling balls and he taught me to juggle the next day and he'd bought me a ring and a dream catcher.
Unfortunately the night before when we were all having a few drinks someone went into our room and went through our bags- luckily nothing was taken but nothing of value was in the bags they went through so who knows if there had of been. Anyway what with that and starting Spanish school the following day we decided that we should probably find a quieter hostel and so we did and that night it was bliss to fall asleep without the bass vibrating through your body as you lay in bed.
So as our week of Spanish school began which consisted of doing 4hours of lessons a day the clouds cleared and 4 beautiful sunny days followed- typical! In between classes we would race to the beach and cool ourselves down in the sea. As new years was now approaching the beach was getting increasingly busy, it was crazy how much it was changing. One day we decided to walk to the end of the beach where there was loads of rock pools filled with hermit crabs and you could scramble over them and get to the point where waves would come up and crash down on the rocks. We got some awesome photos and it was hilarious watching each other getting soaking wet without warning. Then it was back to school in the afternoon. Unfortunately we were just taught lots and lots of vocabulary and not conversation and so when we went back to our old hostel on the 29th to celebrate finishing our classes we weren't able to impress them all with our Spanish although the more rum we had the better at talking we thought we were!
New years eve was one of our last nights in montanita and it was crazy- and the only night to absolutely pour it down with rain! Unfortunately all the bars charged to get in so we were left with just drinking on the streets in the rain. At midnight we went with fiorella to the argentinians house and celebrated new year in the traditional Ecuadorean way which was to burn a papier mâché figure in the street whilst letting off fireworks, eating one grape and making a wish. The streets were like a war zone- there was fires everywhere, fireworks exploding all around us with no regards for safety one guy was pouring petrol onto his papier mâché figure which he'd stuck loads of fireworks into and they were just shooting off all around the road! The sky was raining ash as the hundreds of fireworks exploded around us it was a very cool experience! Luckily the rain stopped for half an hour at midnight whilst all this was happening!
Then we headed into town to join the rest of the parties- the streets were like the walk to Shangrila at Glastonbury once the rest of the music has finished- you literally couldn't move for people. We managed to push our way through onto the beach where there were numerous parties going on and for once they weren't playing Calvin Harris or black eyed peas it was actually really good music. We bumped into a few people that we'd met during the last couple of weeks and drifted from one beach hut to another.
The next day we were up and out surprisingly early- there were still people partying from the night before! We spent most of the day wandering around soaking up montanita for the last time. Here are a few things we noticed during our time here - everyone whistles to each other- maybe they had a special code so they each knew who was whistling at who but if your not aware of such a code then it's very confusing, don't sleep next to a nightclub if you want any sleep at all, everyone is better at both Spanish and surfing than us, you can't eat anything unless it's deep fried, fried or meat- this resulted in a couple of increased dress sizes! It's also very hard to resist the numerous burger stands as your walking home at 3am!
And so the end of our holiday had arrived, our bus the following day left at 5.45am- our next stop is banos - a town at the foot of a volcano which just happens to be erupting at the moment!
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