We took another exploratory drive today. Rocky is running great and we were feeling adventurous. It was after lunch so we didn’t want to go far. We decided on a 30 minute drive, South to San Clemente; the next small town south of us on the coast. One must turn off the main road just a little to actually see the part of San Clemente that is closest to the beach/ocean and although we’d driven through San Clemente on the way to Manta a number of times, we’d never taken the time to actually explore it. We expected to be in San Clemente for a few hours so I loaded my back pack, grabbed Carmine’s leash and we were off!
Upon first look, San Clemente doesn’t appear much different from the many other small …very small towns we’ve visited. The 7-9 main roads that run East and West all dead-end, on the west, a few feet from the Pacific Ocean…literally just a few feet!! We parked 9.7 feet from the shoreline at the end of a main road and felt the sea mist our faces when we exited the car. I looked north, up the beach and saw a stretch of sand and a couple of dozen folks splashing in the surf. There was a path/trail that led in that direction so we started walking, the sound of each wave a pinch to ensure I knew this was now my life. We exited the trail and wandered along the beach, listening to a variety of music from the various beach places serving the typical selections of beer, coladas and beach food like fresh fish and shrimp in various recipes. One place even had a fairly decent rock band playing live music.
Diane was getting a bit warm so we found a spot, under a bamboo cover and ordered a couple of cold drinks. We also broke out the water and bowl from my back pack for Carmine. We sat, watching children play in the surf and fishermen, done for the day, beach their hand-made wooden boats…driving them through the heavy surf and cutting the engine at the last second to slide up onto the sand. One-after- another beached this way. Immediately, a group of small boys and young men surrounded each boat steadying it in the heavy surf while two young boys dragged long logs down to each boat. The logs were positioned in front of each boat, acting as rollers while the group of men and boys pushed the boat up the beach and under a bamboo shelter. We continued to watch as each young boy collected payment in the form of two giant prawns…about 7-8 inches in length. The prawns were strung on a piece of grass or sliver of bamboo and each young boy hurried home with his prize to add to the evening meal, I’m sure.
An acquaintance has a restaurant in San Clemente but we’d not yet been there. We stopped and asked directions from a couple who said, “Follow Us! We’re headed there right now!” And we did! Met and visited with a table full of expats who had made San Clemente their home, one arriving just a few weeks ago. We ended the afternoon with a visit to the condo of one of the guys just to compare and to have an idea of the prices elsewhere.
We thanked our new friend and got back into the car, both of us kinda’ quiet. I spoke first.
“Know what Babe? I honestly think that San Vicente/Bahia is truly home!”
“I know what you mean. This is nice but…it doesn’t feel like home.”
I guess there is a ”feeling’ one gets; perhaps an attachment. We both felt it shortly after arriving in our community. It’s a personal thing. If I had to live somewhere, I would certainly make the best of it. But as I can now actually choose, I’ll choose where I am now…for now.
I sometimes receive private messages from folks readying to make the move to Ecuador. I’m surprised at the number of folks who say that they simply don’t have a clue where to settle. Certainly, the press is fond of Cuenca and Cotacachi so many gravitate there. And…there are a great group of expats to support the newbies. But there are SO many other choices in this country!!
So….to those who truly don’t have a clue where in this beautiful country to settle, permit me to make a couple of suggestions. Answer the questions below and you can more easily target where in Ecuador you may want to land…at least to start.
First, are you a big city person or not?
How important is the climate and temperature and what are your limits?
Do you enjoy structured activities such as orchestra, opera and theater?
Do you enjoy fishing in salt water?
How ‘bout transportation? Need to rely on public transportation or taxis?
Is having a large hospital minutes away essential?
Do you want a large collection of gringos nearby?
Have you ever lived at high altitude and/or are you healthy enough to live and walk in a high altitude, hilly environment?
Or….would you prefer walks on the beach?
Now…if you have a spouse or partner, how do they feel about the above and are compromises necessary.
Determining where in Ecuador to settle initially was the subject of several conversations. In the end, we did our research and took a chance, knowing that we could always move. But, as it turned out….we’re great right where we are. This Does Not Suck!!