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).
This is the first of what I assume will be many posts drafted in an airport…continued on a plane…and finalized in a hotel. I’m typing out the first few words at Dallas Love Field as I wait for my hopefully-only-slightly-delayed connecting flight to Orlando.
When Gav and I arrived at Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela for our three-day/two-night tour, it didn’t take us long to realize something was amiss. We waited on the rapidly emptying pier, looking for expectant guides. Groups gathered and left, while I literally spun in circles, hoping for a clue. Luckily I persuaded a woman on the pier to call the number on my Mockingbird Tours receipt (seriously, people, bring this with you everywhere).