Spanish, surf, yoga and no sun

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South America » Ecuador
October 18th 2013
Published: October 20th 2013
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Ok, here we are at the place that was supposedly a tropical paradise. We spent pretty much two weeks here, and how many times have we seen the sun peak from the midst of greyness - maybe twice. Not only the constantly grey skies, but also the temperature has persistently stayed in the lower 20s, if even that. We have slept with woolly socks on, and once I considered wearing my technical underwear when going to the beach to watch the sunset! When you know a place is basically on the equator and on sea level, you just assume it's all hot, sunny and nice. Now we know that September to November are the coolest months in this area, and citing the owner of the Spanish, yoga and surf school we are attending, this area has the shittiest weather of all Ecuador, and basically of all the long North Peruvian - Ecuadorian coast. It should get sunny again in November-December, though.

So, the village we stayed in was called Ayampe. It's a tiny place without any of the crazy party resort atmosphere of the neighboring Montañita. We are just too old for all that. Ayampe proved to be a good choice. We woke up to roosters every morning, we could walk from one end of the village to another in five minutes, the place is mostly inhabited by local families, as well as a small community of foreigners running tourism related businesses. It’s one of those places where everyone knows each other, and where you actually greet all the people you see on the street. Nice and cozy!

So, despite the weather, we really enjoyed our calm time in Ayampe. We will miss everything about it, except perhaps our room (which was so humid that even our towels, which we never used, were moist at the end), and of course the weather. Besides nice and relaxing, it was useful too, as after just 40 hours of intensive studying, we actually manage to have a conversation in Spanish now. Well, among ourselves or with the teacher mainly; whenever we encounter someone in the real world speaking in Spanish to us, we are still like "errrr...que....?" a lot of the time. At times attending the Spanish class seemed like hard work draining all energy from us by the end of the class– four hours of intense private lessons a day, five days a week, was quite much. In addition to that, we had homework to do too. We are quite glad to resume the holidays now.

It’s remarkable that in those weather circumstances we got ourselves into the sea for surf lessons twice. It’s a pity we didn’t complete more lessons than that, because our ability to surf way exceeded my expectations, and we were doing good progress. We got to the point where the teacher would push us on the wave while we laid on the board on our stomachs, and then we would surf the board towards the beach. Using this assisted technique, by our second lesson we were able to stand up on the board and ride the wave most of the times. Leo tried the paddling too, but we didn’t get very far with that yet. It was great fun, not to mention great exercise, and I’m certainly looking forward to learning more, but then the weather must be better!

Another new sport we found in Ayampe was yoga, and we got a bit excited about that too. I’ve always thought I’m way too stiff to do yoga, but now I realized that is not the case. Ok, compared to the super stretchy teacher, we probably looked like stiff 90 year olds attempting to do some of the poses (especially standing in the shape of an A), but hey, the only direction from that point is forward, right? We are already planning to continue yoga once we are back home. Let’s see if we still remember this next year.

Ayampe also has the friendliest dogs ever, and there are lots of them. The other night we walked to a restaurant a bit further away, up a jungle hill. It was dark when we finished our meal, and I wasn't crazy about walking through the jungleish path, and then the empty and unlit road back to our hostel. But no need to worry: we got two escorts bringing us back home safely. These two big but friendly dogs of the restaurant started showing us way through the dark path out of the restaurant yard, and ended up sitting on our porch at the hostel for some good scratching. Leo actually had to walk them almost back home to get them to leave. Sweet guys

Our time in Ayampe with Spanish studies is now over, but we have tentative plans to continue with the latter after few weeks. We gave up on the idea of trying to proceed up further North on the Ecuadorian coast in search of heat and sun, and instead decided to return to civilization. Next few weeks will be spent exploring some of the Ecuadorian cities, and other sights, but after that chances for good weather should already be better on the coast, so we might return for one or two weeks of more Spanish and surf.

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