Although I spent some time in San Vicente yesterday, I wasn’t able to accomplish one of my primary missions. I accompanied my neighbor, Daniel, to an appointment to speak with the man who was to transfer Daniel’s Internet service from his condo unit (immediately next door) to mine. As my neighbor will be returning to his home in Switzerland for a few months, this process would be more efficient and less expensive than installing a new cable and antennae into my unit. BUT….when we arrived, we learned that our appointment guy was still traveling from another town on a bus and would be late (I’ve learned never to expect appointments here to be actual appointments). I shrugged it off, said goodbye to Daniel and pulled a short shopping and errand list from my backpack.
Once my other errands and shopping were completed (or so I thought), I caught a taxi back to our enclave to unload. Unfortunately, I neglected one essential item on the list so just before dinner, the Pocket Babe and I decided to head back to town for the remaining item and a quick adventure. We walked outside the enclave gates to the main road or Malicon (a road just along the coastline) to catch a bus, taxi or mototaxi…whichever came along first. It was a mototaxi. We jumped in for the quick ride to San Vicente.
We asked to be dropped off at the mercado grande circa estacion de autobus (the large market near the bus station). No charge for the Spanish lesson. As we walked down a short neighborhood side street, children were playing with mothers nearby. A variety of cooking aromas drifted and mingled with the smell of Frangipani and night blooming jasmine as dinners of rice, fish, chicken and fried plantains were being prepared. A small group of young men and boys was gathered around a motorcycle working together on a repair. As we approached a corner, we noticed a group of young women, perhaps 15-18 years of age who were sitting and visiting on the steps of a small store. Our appearance always generates much interest as we make our way through local neighborhoods and visit local markets and this group of young women stared at us like we were from another planet. We each used our best smiles and spoke to them first. They returned greetings and smiles while continuing to stare as we crossed the street. First, we look much different than the locals. We much lighter in coloring and MUCH taller. I collect frequent stares from children who literally gawk. We also wear manufactured tennis shoes that are in good shape. For some here, that is quite the luxury and proclaims our affluent status (insert perspective here).
As we approached an intersection, Diane noticed that one of local bakeries was open, the smell of fresh-baked bread wafting out the door. We walked in to a group of men visiting with the owner. I greeted them all with a large smile and asked in my pre-school Spanish, if I could have a large loaf of bread. Their glass case was filled with a variety of baked goods but I saw no loafs of bread visible. The owner stepped behind some storage shelves to the rear of the store and quickly returned with a long loaf of french-type bread. It was probably 20 or 22 inches long and when he handed it to me, partially encased in a brown paper bag, it was quite warm. I gladly paid the un dollar he requested not feeling the need to bargain. Diane and I walked the rest of the way to the large market ripping chunks of warm bread from the loaf and stuffing them into our mouths. We nodded to many and exchanged smiles and greetings along the way. I offered and collected a few “high fives” from small kids who will, no doubt, be counted among the bravest among their friends. We grabbed what I had forgotten at the store and took our time walking back toward the main road. When it was time and the sun had begun to barely touch the Pacific, we caught a moto-taxi back to our enclave. The ride was nice and breezy as we continued to watch the sunset. Dinner was great followed by a nice visit from a neighbor.One of our new Ecuadorian friends has invited us to their farm for a large party celebrating her birthday. It will be a feast with music, dancing, a roasted pig and many other people to meet and much more food to learn about and enjoy.
We have heard from some who proclaim their fears and insecurities about leaving their current situation for a life overseas. And we regularly hear from others who tell us they can’t wait to do something similar to what Diane and I have done. To all, I say “You can live life as a passenger or you can drive”. Right now, we’re driving and loving it!