We were lucky enough to have Viviana and Juan Martin visit us during the month of April. We had been talking for a few months and organised to go to the beach while they were here in Ecuador. So only a few days after we arrived from Peru, we packed our bags again and drove to Salinas which is a town on the coast( for the Australians out there, a place a bit similar to the Gold Coast) full of buildings and beaches. This is where I used to spend most of my childhood holidays so it brings up many good memories and it holds a special place in my heart.
My aunt Myra was kind enough to lend us her apartment, a very comfortable place on the main street of Salinas with an amazing view of the esplanade and the beach.
I also wanted to go there because Salinas is my mum’s favourite beach, she loves to be able to sit under her umbrella and while working on her tan, get served by all the beach sellers. You can get anything you want on the beach, from ice cream to empanadas, fresh fruit, seafood, beer and all kinds of goodies.
So there we were, Viviana, Juan Martin, Mick my mum and I on this beautiful apartment right next to the beach. Our days consisted on waking up, doing some exercises, maybe swimming or walking on the beach (Mick and I), maybe some yoga (only me and sometimes Juan Martin would follow), studying Spanish(Mick with Juan Martin’s help), going to the Yacht Club (Viviana’s favourite place), where she could order all the typical food that she had been missing in the States, playing card games, especially building house of cards, that my mum would play with Juan Martin and he would love to destroy, and of course going to the beach, something we could all do at the same time and enjoy.
At the beach, we would talk, eat, play fresco ball, eat a bit more, buy things (after the first day, we were constantly inundated by the beach sellers because it was now well known that we had a great buyer under our umbrella, yes, that’s you Viviana, haha!)
But the most magical moment, I think for all of us, was going one day to Punta Carnero, that’s a beach on the other side of Salinas’ bay where there are a few more waves. We took the longboard with us and Mick and I went in to play on the small waves. All of a sudden, we had an enthusiastic 4 year old boy, screaming that he wanted to surf too. So we put him on the board and Mick and I, carefully took him out on the small waves. It was just breathtaking seeing his happy face and witnessing his excitement with every wave he took. After the tenth wave, Mick and I were super tired, but Juan Martin kept going, “Una mas!” (one more!). An overly proud mum was also taking a 1000 photos and Juan Martin was even confident enough to pose for the shots. It was just an amazing moment. We laughed all the way back to the house and from that day on, Juan Martin would ask us to take him surfing every day.
The next surfing trip was when we went to Montanita. My mum stayed in Salinas with her good friend Monica and Viviana, J.M., Mick and I drove the 40 minutes north to Montanita and stayed one night. Montanita is famous for his great waves and multicultural atmosphere. We stayed at my good friend Damiana’s hostal called Rosa Mistica. It’s right at the point in the area of town called La Punta. This is the quietest spot to stay at if you’re looking for peace and quiet in Montanita(it can be a big party town). We arrived in the morning and stayed at the beach all day. Mick and I went for a surf and later took J.M. for a quick surf on the small waves. The next morning was the best to come for J.M. and Viviana. J.M. took so many good waves and there was a travelling photographer who took great shots of him in action. Mother and son were really happy and proud.
The only thing that didn’t quite go as planned while we were in Salinas was thinking that we were going to surf good waves at the main breaks there. There was a good swell starting and Mick and I were really excited to surf the local break called La Fae. We woke up really early one day and went to check the waves. We got there around 6 a.m. and were a bit surprised to see there were a few cars already. We walked the 50 meters to the sand and saw all different groups of young kids warming up to get into the water. We had forgotten they were going to held the ISA Junior World Games that week and all the teams were already there getting ready for the competition. We went back into the car and took off. We decided to use the longboard on the not so popular breaks and enjoy our time with the family instead of trying to fight the waves against the best young surfers from all over the world.
By the end of the two weeks, we were all really used to our routine in Salinas. We had such a great time and we laughed so much. But all good things must come to an end. Viviana and Juan Martin had to go back to Fort Lauderdale, my mum was ready to go back to Guayaquil and work on getting set up to start a new year teaching at university and Mick and I were heading north to Las Tunas to surf a bit more and catch up with some other friends. We all said goodbye and continued with our own journeys. We left Salinas knowing how special this time had been and promising each other we would try and do it again sometime soon somewhere in the world. Thanks Viviana, Juan Martin, Mick and mum for a wonderful time!