I landed in Amsterdam last Wednesday around 10am. I was exhausted but grateful to get off the plane. Schiphol Airport was buzzing, and in the middle of a confused crowd heading (hopefully) towards customs, I met Amy, an artist from Portland. Her first words to me succinctly summarized the situation: “I am so confused.”
So far, it seems everyone in Amsterdam is beautiful. And rides bikes.
I’ve wandered the canals, stumbled on the I Amsterdam sign, ran in the park, and visited the Van Gogh Museum. And I’ve taken a few pictures…with my phone. I left my incredibly expensive, amazing camera behind. In storage.
It’s 7:30am some May morning, and I’m knee deep in frigid, Pacific surf. Well, they’re in the surf, and they’ve probably been there hours already – the guys with the wetsuits and boards. I’m wearing shorts and a Vans hoodie, yelling at my camera to focus as the guy I’m tracking catches a right. After he makes the wave and dives off, I release the breath I’m holding and pause to look around. The sky is the same dull grey as the ocean that meets it. The May greys have a solid hold on the coast of San Diego. It’s between sets, and the almost still water is peppered with surfers who waxed their boards before the sun broke the horizon.
I awoke to the sound of children giggling as they skipped past my cabin on their way to school. I pushed my way out from under three heavy blankets, grateful for their warmth during the cold night, grabbed my glasses, and made my way to the large picture window.
I pushed back the curtains and looked out at the vista that would take my breath away this and every morning during my stay. I was on a hill overlooking the town of San Rafael de la Laguna, Ecuador. Just beyond the town, I could see the glassy Lago San Pablo, and towering protectively over its surroundings, the imposing Cerro Imbabura, the sacred protector of the region. The plan for today was Christmas shopping at Otavalo’s Saturday market. Another amazing day in Ecuador.
I was on my own again in San Cristóbal for an inner-island group tour with an English-speaking guide. Mockingbird Tours translation: a slightly awkward one-on-one tour of snorkeling spots with Danny, a very young guide with a better command of English than I have of Spanish (but, admittedly, the bar is low here).