What's better than a 4 day vacation? A 4 day vacation followed by a 2 week vacation!! Less than 48 hours til I hit chicago!!!!
I made it back from the beach this morning at 5 am, after taking a night bus. Despite the hassle of figuring out transportation and lodging in the #1 carnaval destination spot, a good time was had by all. The town (a party town to begin with) is wild during carnaval, but not in a stressful way. It was mostly families vacationing - even the bars and discos at night are packed with babies and grandparents. Sara and I took the night bus on Friday and were met later that day by Jody and Cayanne (who flew) and Allison (who hitched on a ride on the bus coming from her spanish school.) I'll have pictures later, but basically imagine us laying on the beach with infrequent trips to the bathroom or to get another round of tropical juice or batidos (smoothies) to spike with rum from the bottle we brought with us. And reading Harry Potter :) It wasn't very sunny, which was nice because even without the sun it was plenty hot. But I did manage to pick up a tan! Though probably no one can tell since my skin is so pale to begin with. We survived power and water outages (a problem when you generally take at least 3 showers a day!)and the constant attacks of water and foam. The way people celebrate carnaval here is suitably ecuadorian... no parades or anything, just dumping water on people and spraying this foam (like silly string but foam) all over you. This was particularly annoying in Quito when you are walking around in business clothes and its cold. At Atacames, since most people are in beach clothes and its hot, the water isn't such a big deal, though some people dump buckets of it off of balconies and such. The foam got REALLY old, especially when you get it in the face/ear/mouth, but the WORST part of being at the beach was getting seawater dumped on you. Ew. And it was like a war zone... you couldn't even walk down the street without lots of strategic manuevering. It's totally a gender thing... mostly guys going after girls so that they will giggle and scream. And as some of the few gringas, we were prime targets. That was rather degrading, until we decided to take back the night and bought our own foam cans! FABULOUS... getting our revenge on our attackers, just spraying the hell out of these tough guys who never saw it coming and would run and cower while their freinds laughed.
Anyway, pictures forthcoming once I am stateside with wireless 24/7! Despite the unfortunate news I just read that the $25 fee for flying out of the country just got raised by 30%, I can't wait to get on that plane. If I can survive the next day of wall to wall classes, choir, errands, cleaning, packing. HASTA PRONTO!!!