This has been a most rewarding weekend to say the least.
On Friday night, 7 of us from the group decided to take a 6 hour bus ride out to the beaches of Esmereldas, for a nominal price we boarded a motor coach and set off for, simply put, the greatest adventure in the history of the world ever.
10:33 p.m. (Friday) - Departure from Kristen's residence with 3 members of the group for arrival at bus depot "Trans Esmereldas"
10:58 - Arrival at "Trans Esmereldas" makes known that the presence of the other 4 members in our group are nowhere to be found. Text Messages are dispatched to retrieve sleeping group members. Waiting inside sultry-hot bus station ensues.
11:15 - Remaining group members arrive with tickets in hand, bus number for some reason not being included on ticket stub.
11:30 - The ceremonial ascent and descent from various buses eventually seats us in the correct motor coach. Conflict thereby ensues when 'Man with child A' requests to have my seat. Local transit authorities intervene to direct man to a different bus.
12:00 a.m. (Saturday)- Coach number 186 departs full from transit station for non-stop drive to the beaches of Esmereldas.
12:10 - Transit authority wearing a Marlboro jacket turns on television for complimentary early-morning movie: "White Tiger." Hours later, the sounds of gun shots, sex, and martial arts action can still be heard throughout the bus.
12:44 - Loud denizens on back of bus begin conversation.
1:40 - Air pressure and heat culminate to the point of making babies on board the bus cry.
2:33 - Child sitting beside me becomes uncomfortable and uses my ribs as an elbow rest.
2:40 - Complimentary early-morning movie: "White Tiger" begins playing for the second time.
3:24 - Sordidly hot.
6:00 - Arrival at beach town of Tonsupa. Contact brother of group member named Andres nowhere to be found. Ceremonial wandering of the streets comenses. Strings of families are found heading towards the beach as well.
6:14 - Group haps´ upon very...friendly, dogs.
6:40 - All vacancies are full in all nearby hotels as a result of the holiday weekend. Calling Andres and his friends directs our group back out to the main strip. At strip, calling Andres directs our group to the direction of the beach. Desire to carry bags becomes markedly low on behalf of group members.
8:32 - After meeting Andres and finally finding a hotel, group departs for beach. Arrival at beach is met by a Ford Bronco parked "por la playa" with 4 people dancing on the roof. Unconscious locals are everywhere.
9:05 - After making camp on the beach, members depart for different activities. Some for the water, some for exploration, and still a few for tanning in the sunless sky. The pacific ocean proves to be surprisingly warm.
9:14 - I step on a hermit crab. I catch it and name it Frederick.
9:17 - Frederick is dropped into the ocean through shoddy passing.
9:33 - Rescue party finds Frederick, promptly removes him from the unsafe waters to the cool resesses of the beach.
9:40 - Unbeknownst to rescue party, Frederick is released by animal rights activist named Heather :)
10:30 - Group decides to fork out the shekles to "ride the banana" (a super-fun ya-ya inflatable rocketship that people ride through the water on).
10:40 - Ankle injury exchanged for head injury with Kristen upon flipping of banana boat by driver.
11:07 - Group returns to stable land. Hunger becomes prominent.
12:20 p.m. - Sun comes out to keep me company while rest of group wanders into the city for sustenance. Tanning commences.
12:40 - There's a very loud and annoying clown on the beach. He's making a lot of sound and has an army of children following him..all along the beach, for an hour from now.
1:14 - Hunting party returns with outrageously full box of shrimp and rice. Operation stop being so freaking hungry begins.
1:17 - Nearby flapping of towel by beach patron results in sand compromising the integrity of shrimp and rice lunch.
1:18 - Operation stop being so freaking hungry continues. Unfortunate inability to eat everything results in leftovers.
1:40 - Group of nearby men with beer initiates conversation about alcohol, the united states, women, and homosexuality.
2:08 - Departure from beach. Leftovers of glorious ambrosia are forgotten. Shrimp and rice of the gods is consumed by men with beer. Upon walking back to the hotel, it becomes known that the only available bus leaving town for the weekend is to come at 11:55.
3:00 - Tickets purchased at notably higher prices.
3:14 - Inordinately fun killing of time begins, with pools, hammocks, friendships with owners of hotel, and round'about good times had by all.
5:00 - Still having more fun than you could ever imagine :)
9:00 - 4 group members depart from hotel for night life at beach.
10:46 - I go stumbling through the dark streets of Tonsupa trying to find the missing group members, get to the beach, get lost in crowds of people, fall down on a dance floor, and return covered in dust and some sort of odd goo that crawled on me while I was in the street.
11:03 - Stress begins to mount with the approaching time of 11:55 creating the necessity to clean the apartment, say goodbye to the neighbors, kick out the locals, pay for the room, find the missing group members, and get to the bus station in half an hour. Easy.
11:28 - Missing group members finally show up at the gate of the hotel, proprietor of the hotel starts collecting money from each person, others are freaking out, a rat starts crawling up the fence and everyone staying in the hotel wakes up so that they can come out to see it. Members of the group start leaving, the hotel owner keeps locking and unlocking the gate, the people who were missing finally get their things packed and the rest of the visitors of at the hotel start playing with the rat.
11:45 - The entirety of our group finally gets to the bus stop, with 10 minutes to spare.
11:56 - A bus shows up, but it's not ours.
12:07 a.m. (Sunday)- Where the crap is the bus.
12:08 - A drunk man is carried to the bus station and lies down in the street with his arms sprawled out to his sides.
12:14 - Oh there's the bus. Oh wait, it's not ours either.
12:18 - Passed out man burps. I have a friend take a photo with me standing behind him.
12:23 - Our bus has arrived! Let's get on it! Bring the drunk man with us and put him in the back! What's this? There's a crack in the window, it's so very cold!
1:40 - Driving through mountains in a non air-tight bus proves to be insatiable while wearing shorts. Surprise surprise toes, you have frostbite. Fortunately, we took care of that with unconsciousness.
2:30 - Tactic of unconsciousness is still failing.
5:30 - Arrival in Quito is met with a shady man driving a volvo who attempts to convince us that he is a taxi driver.
5:34 - Real taxi is found, drive is made, house is reached, journey into the unfamiliar is made complete.
TOTAL SLEEP: 3 hours EXPENSES: 57 u.s.d. PHOTOGRAPHS: 37
Although it might come off as a bunch of bad experiences loaded into a cannon, fired into a chicken coop and then reassembled into something that resembles Metamorphasis by the great Salvidor Dali himself, I really enjoyed every moment of it. Of course, lessons teach that different beaches and better planning are sometimes a great thing to have.
Of course, 30 hours of spontaniety never killed anyone in Ecuador.