We left Texas at 4:30 in the afternoon Wednesday and landed in Ecuador at about 11 a.m. Thursday morning. We were heading straight to the orphanage, so we sorted our bags (that all arrived safely - yay!) to make sure everything was in the "big" bags that should be, and the few surprises we'd save for the week were separate.
First things first. We would usually take the CLP bus from Guayaquil to Montanita/Olon but with four large checked bags plus carry-ons, we bit the bullet and hired a taxi. After negotiating the price for several minutes we reached an agreement with a nice young driver and proceeded to figure out how to fit all of the luggage and ourselves into his small cab. Success.
The orphanage is actually on the cliff jutting out into the ocean right between Olon and Montanita. We couldn't wait to see the kids and my emotions were high wondering who would still be there, who wouldn't, how much they may have changed - would they remember us?
Many beloved faces came running for hugs, back and forth, all around. It was a few minutes before I woke up from this dream come true and noticed our bewildered taxi driver taking in the scene and probably wondering how he'd ever get paid and back to the city. We took care of him, and the kids swarmed the taxi carrying the bags in for us with impressive zeal.
We visited briefly before making plans to join up for dinner after we'd settled in. I started unpacking but Geoff, naturally, went straight for the cold (to me) ocean waves, so I just had to enjoy a walk on the beach instead. Joy.
That evening our "amigos" returned with various survival necessities (spices for cooking!) for us to use, and drinks for us to enjoy together before heading into town for dinner. Sitting there with them, catching up on how everyone was doing, while enjoying a nice glass of wine as the sun peeked around the clouds before it set - life was so good. We caught a bus to town and enjoyed great thai food at a Thai-Sushi place in Montanita. After Geoff grabbed some treats at the bakery, we returned to our beach house for some overdue sleep.
This morning we rested and unpacked and then - the SUN CAME OUT! This is a big deal, and we took advantage of it. Kayak time! Vicente had dragged one out the night before insisting we use it - we were happy to oblige.
By the time we go the kayak and ourselves cleaned up it was time to head to the orphanage. They were in school in the morning, so we'd promised to return this afternoon when they were out. Life got better.