To the beaches in Ecuador. This is a fill page, to get us from here to there and back!
So how does it all play out after those last dramatic days in Peru? The van, I left him in Lima, on bus we came to Mancora, and on another night bus we travel back to Ecuador, to Guayaquil, and on to Montañita. I promised the boys beach and pizza and ice cream, it is important for them to 'chillax', for 2 more weeks, before European reality consumes them back. Also I need time to fathom my deed, of 5 months intensive traveling, solo with my twin boys, Daniel and David. Huuuuch..., damn it has gone by fast.
So here we are in Montañita.
Daniel and David spend their days on the beach, soon they go alone, or I send them ahead. Soon everybody knows them, they try surfing with boogie boards, exactly what I had promised them, just here the lifeguards lend them the boards for free, so they go 10 times a day and then come back from where the waves spilled them back in, dragging the boards behind them, thanks God they know how to swim by now. Or they run around flying a kite, they got it from somewhere for free, a few days later each of them has a kit, how they manage? Or they engage just about everybody, lifeguards, back-packers, hippies, and I see it is good, they are fearless, communicative, in almost 4 languages. They speak Spanish now! 'How come they speak Spanish? Peruvian/Ecuadorian mother?' I hear that so many times. No, they are just seasoned travelers! They are 5 and a half years old and I have taken them to 34 countries already.
And I, I sit in the sand and watch Daniel and David and am a little proud, and watch the pelicans, and they still glide in formation down the Pacific ocean, 'as they did in California already, almost 20 months ago', I ponder. I do nothing, drink beer and enjoy an Ecuadorian beach ceviche every day, which has nothing in common with the exquisite Peruvian ceviche, but why not.
In the end, Christina comes and visits, the Miss Quito that I had left behind, and we spend 5 days together; the circle has closed and it is good. One day we go on a bus to Guayaquil, on a night bus to Quito, from Quito back to Guayaquil on a plane, from Guayaquil to Madrid on a plane, from Madrid to Vienna on a plane, in the end our baggage does not make the last flight... but I am back and brought the boys back safe. And no, I cannot fathom it.
A little Euro journey, why not, I need inspiration.
While I deal with the exhaustion of the jet lag, the boys start going to school/kindergarten again, and their switch bears no signs of effort or disorientation; I mean, come on, away for almost 6 months, most of the time in rough circumstances, in a van, on the road, and then they walk through the door to kindergarten with enthusiasm, as if they were there yesterday; my most independent!
Vienna holds me exactly 10 days,... I kiss my boys goodbye, go to Salzburg with my brother, to Munich on a train, to Oktoberfest, Leberkäs, sunshine and rain. I go to Paris on train for more rain, also great wine and bottles of Caribbean rum, I see Louvre and Notre Dame again, stand where I stood and saw them first time 30 years ago, walk my teenage walks. I go to Elbeuf on a train, to see a circus in the making, the rains hit hard, food is great, cheese, sausage and wine, moule frite in Fécamp, the cliffs of Etretat. I take a train from Rouen via Amiens and Lille to Brussels, eat in the cantine of the Berlaymont building, the seat of the EU Commission, have a few Hoegaardens outside the EU Parliament. I take a bus back to Paris; the food is better in Paris, one night on an invitation I think I have two bottles of the great Sancerre wine from the Loire valley by myself. Another night I run on a bus and a ferry boat to London, spend 3 days and talk over famous London Indian curries to old friends, walk together long walks along the Thames and talk more in old pubs till late. I am done with Europe, am on a plane, to Miami, and another one to Quito.
One more time Ecuador, with C. to the other beaches, and then back to Lima.
In Quito I see Christina again, we head for the windy beaches of Atacames, Mompiche, Pedenales, dance Salsa in Quito's Aguijon club, drink beer in Manta and this is where it ends, - for the moment.
It is 15 hours from Manta, Ec. to Mancora, Pe., 4 buses where you start praying even if you never prayed before, 3 taxis, 2 motor taxis, 4 police checks where all have to get off, a border crossing, the crooked taxi drivers, the thieves in Tumbes, Pe., which I already met, the countless preachers and salesmen that hop on and off the bus, and don't forget those 'great' 30 year old fight movies at full volume that drag. But the weirdest thing is I don't drink a sip of water for 12 hours and don't pee for 14 hours, all in all an experience... for just 20USD. The transport from Mancora to Lima then is more comfortable, direct. But folks I prefer my own transport, the van that has waited here in Lima for more than a month.
So this is it, after 6 weeks back in Lima, it is the beginning of a new South America leg, and God knows where will it lead me.