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Published: September 3rd 2011
Where's the beef?
We spent a week at an "eco-farm" in a small valley called Rio Muchacho on the coast of Ecuador. We went there because there was a Spanish language program there where we all studied Spanish four hours a day (again!). Unfortunately, Dad didn't look too closely into the place that we were staying.
On the one had, it was incredibly fun - we road on the back of trucks into the beach farm, made rings out of local nuts on big grinding machines, rode horses at a gallop down the valley to where we climbed through the jungle to see monkeys, took a canoe ride through a beautiful mangrove island called Isla Corazon where we saw thousands of red-chested frigate birds and red crabs nesting (and a huge boa constrictor sitting just above our heads), went to a cool beach town called Canoa and went fishing with real fisherman out on the wild Pacific (more on that later).
On the other hand it was really gross - the only food they gave us was rice, old salad and sometimes beans and they served all the food in these gourds that were never washed and we had to eat with
big guitar picks - no meat ever! They were strict vegetarians but we're strict carnivores! There was only cold water and compost toilets where you poo in a hole and then throw wood chips on top. And the hut we stayed in had no windows or even screens so we had to hide under our mosquito nets from all the bugs at night. The worst were the beds - they were always wet and getting into them at night was like trying to sleep under an old damp washcloth.
On the last day we went shrimp fishing with some local fishermen in their row boat out onto the great Pacific ocean. The waves were huge and we thought the little boat would tip over on the way out. We made it past the worst part, but the waves kept rocking us back and forth in the boat until one by one we all got sicker and sicker. Finally we got out far enough for the fishermen to throw out their nets, which took them a long time as they must have had at least a mile of net. We waited around, feeling sicker and sicker, until finally it was
Making delicious coco
time to pull in the nets. The fishermen pulled the net in hand over hand as we waited for the big catch - but there was nothing! Finally, the whole long net had been pulled in but all we had caught was two shrimp - and one got thrown back. We finally headed back to shore, still pukey sick, with our one shrimp but when we came close to shore we saw that the waves had gotten even bigger and looked like they would dash our boat to bits on the shore if we tried to come in. The fisherman drove the boat in through the waves which were way over our heads and we got very scared until finally they turned the boat around and drove back out to sea. Just when we thought we'd never get back to land, they turned the boat again to catch the biggest wave and we surfed the big wave at full speed all the way up onto the sand. It was really incredible!
All in all, our time at Rio Muchacho was much more fun than gross and we managed to escape the vegetarians a few times for great shrimp and
ceviche dinners in a little shack in the beach town with sand on the floor. It also made us appreciate even more every nice place we went to after!
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