So, since mama time, I took a bus up to the coast to Tujillo then straight away to the beautiful and relaxed Huanchaco next to the sea where I met the lovely Tarig from Dublin, who I hung out with for the day on the beach watching the surfing competition that was going on, joined by Eoin and Adriana. Adam arrived the next morning, and that day we met the excellent Andy and Austin from the States, no less.
My first ever surf lesson was a roaring success. Given that I was the only girl taking thr class, and given the latin american general attitude towards women, I was treated with charm and grace. Also pronounced enormously patronised. He carried my board into the sea, and then proceeded to sit on the end of it 'showing me how to sit on it'. Well that was that. So I damn well told him that I needed no more help than thr boys and was just as incompetent as they were. 'We'll see'.
Well. We did.
I took the first wave like a pro. I pushed myself off my front and stood. Wind and sea in my hair and the BIGGEST grin on my face.
It was pretty much all downhill from there.
I spent the rest of the week failing to surf, doing nothing and, ummmm... Doing nothing. It was lovely to be by the sea though, I'd been having withdrawal symptoms.
So the wonderful, luscious, green, rolling Ecuador now houses me for the next little while, and I am in love. As our bus wound it's way up through the reality of everything I imagined, my smile widened and my heart melted. Villcabamba was a beautiful little town nestled in the hills, like an old person tucked up in a bed of green. A little overrun by mad old gringo hippies, but beautiful surroundings. Our hostel was AMAZING, a beautiful jungle garden secret winding paths leading to hidden houses and a massage parlour, and a wonderful brekkie of eggs (how you like em), or pancakes, with the BEST, JUCIEST pineapple I've ever eaten, granola, tea AND juice all included and taken with a panoramic, sweeping, gliding view of the valley. AND! A pool! In which Adam and I arose early to swim in the mornings before starting the day, whether that involved a stroll around the surrounding hills with the amazingly lovely Quentin, Clemence and Isabel, or climbing mountains on horseback (bit weird and unpleasant but galloping was the most amazing feeling - a dream fulfilled). Since making pizzas with Austin and Andy and Randall, we took a bus up to Cuenca - a charming little colonial town which reminded me an awful lot of Sucre and added the delightful and funny Canadian gals Krista and Evan to the group.
In Cuenca we cooked bean burgers, strolled around the town, went out, sang karaoke, ate Shwarmas, drank coacoa, watched films, fought with the locals with water pistols and spray foam as our ammo for carnival (heaps of fun).
Thus follows my testament to the stunning country that is Ecuador.
I have fallen in love.
After a long wait at your border, accompanied by Shakira shaking her hips on a widescreen tv, I sink back into an easy slumber on bumbling wheels in the hazy early early morning light.
Upon opening my bleary eyes again at 7am, my outward gaze is met steadily by unctuously curvatious, soft green hills decorated with patches of crops of all shades; emerald, moss, swamp, lime, bottle, pea. This shimmering tapestry is draped across the land we slowly wind through, dripping with eucalyptus and oozing pure, liquid life.
You are lusciousness personified, you are elegance embodied, you dance across your stage in slow motion, rippling like the auraura borealis. You are the epicentre of a great earthquake of natural beauty, a beauty which devastates, and my heart aches to know you completely; my eyes open forever wider to fit your vast landscapes into their vision.
Flashes of firey orange-red burst through your skin, exposing your beating heart that lies beneath.
Sometimes you look ever so much like England, with your long grasses, your fences, your cows, dandylions littering your fields which rise and fall in not a dissimilar fashion to that of the undulating English hills, which too are punctuated by pylons.
Your sporadic patches of woody pines, your scatterings of yellow-spotted gorse bushes. Your rain. Oh how familiar you are at times.
Our relationship is just beginning, and yet I know we will get on famously. You are exactly how I imagined you to be; startlingly so. It is a rare thing that my expectations are not only met but exceeded.
Ecuador, I think I love you.