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(Ecuador – Jan. 31, 2015)  Today’s Daily Prompt arrived as I traveled the 7-plus hours between Jama and Guayaquil.  Michelle suggested,  “Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of five songs that represent it.”

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Ha!  The week delivered disappointments as well as grand moments, but I managed to keep my sense of humor.   On Monday/Lunas, I painted  until noon, put away my paints and brushes, changed and waited for a driver to take me an hour up the coast to Pedernales.  Rolando and I had talked on Saturday, and I told him about the floor project and the most important item needed was a non-yellowing varnish for floors.   I said that I would be painting all day on Sunday and again on Monday morning and would be ready to go by “…1 or 2 o’clock…”    He didn’t show up!   Welcome to Ecuador!  (Perhaps I absently said, “Martes/Tuesday” instead of “Lunas?”)

I shrugged; it wasn’t important, and I switched back to painting while watching the birds come home to roost.  On Martes, I waited again, and at 2, decided to walk to town (5K) and glare at Rolando with the ‘truck taxi’ and watch his mouth drop when he remembered that he’d forgotten!

Maybe he feared he'd have to help carry heavy items from Playamart!

Maybe he feared he’d have to help carry heavy items from Playamart!

P8180072 little birds algarrobo tree small fileI enjoy the walks to town, and I inspect the birds along the road, in the al-garrobo (mesquite family) trees and in the shrimp ponds.  This week I spotted the Peruvian Meadowlark, a species that’s been absent for months.  About twenty minutes into my trek, a friend drove along at high speed, braked, backed up and gave me a ride to to town!   As he resumed top speed on the gravel road, I didn’t tell him of my two-day wait for the driver!  Instead I smiled after we all but broke the sound barrier and said, “Muchicimas Gracias!”

Some people think that third-word countries are dangerous;  thankfully there are sweet angels who enhance the quality of my days!

(Image from 2013) Some people think that third-word countries are dangerous; thankfully there are sweet angels who enhance the quality of my days! Thanks, Doc Castro!)

Instead of seeing Rolando, I spotted one of his brothers (they have a fleet of pickup truck-taxis.)  He chuckled when I told him the story;  we discussed the fare to Pedernales, my list of things to do there, judged the time, and he said if we left immediately we could be back before dark.  I hopped in the co-pilot seat and said, “VAMOS!”

Squinting at the laptop, I worked on photos for National Geographic’s “Your Shot,” while peering out the window and occasionally snapping photos.

Harvest in progress of a balsa tree farm near Camarones Ecuador.

Harvest in progress of a balsa tree farm near Camarones Ecuador.

We returned just before dark, and he helped carry the items from the road to Casa Loca.  I slept well and started Wednesday in painting mode.

My friends harvested a shrimp pond near the house, but I was very focused on adding details to the floor.  I emerged from my painting fog around dark, looked out and noted that the pond was drained, and the trucks and workers were gone!  Only the birds remained as they foraged the muddy bottom for shrimp.

I painted on Thursday morning as well; my high-energy painting sessions often correlate with strong rain, so I was not surprised when the sound of rain pelted the roof.  The rains strengthened, and I noted one slow drip-drip-drip from the tin roof;  I moved the potted ceibo tree beneath the drip and continued painting for another hour.  That lovely one-plus inch of rain saturated the ground, but it also extinguished the electricity in this 7-house circuit!

The skies cleared slightly, and I painted until almost dark and photographed the details for Timeout for Art.   With an opportunity to try out my new green mud boots, I retrieved my rain coat (just in case of more rain!) and walked to town in the late afternoon.    

Some days the walk is muddy; other days it's dry and dusty.  There are always interesting flora and fauna waiting to be discovered!

Some days the walk is muddy; other days it’s dry and dusty. There are always interesting flora and fauna waiting to be discovered!

While uploading photos for the Timeout for Art, I enjoyed a great meal (Churrasco) at Restaurant Exclusivo and washed it down with TWO glasses of watermelon juice!  (I was hungry and thirsty!)  The skies dumped more rain, and we watched as people tried coaxing the lagoons from the poorly-drained streets.   The mototaxi drivers did not want to drive me home  – the roads were too ugly, they said – so I returned home via truck taxi to a still-darkened home.

Mud boots are all but mandatory!

Mud boots are all but mandatory!

Friday was a full day of work. I was preparing to meet a tour group on Sunday in Guayaquil, drive to Salinas for the night, then continue north until Canoa.  Isla Corazon and Casa Loca are on Tuesday’s itinerary.

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I arranged the almost-finished panels on the floor, restored order to the house, packed my bags and returned to Jama at dark.   My plans were to leave for Guayaquil at daylight on Saturday, but I had earned an evening with friends at Palo Santo! TGIF!

Luchy whips up many fruit drinks as well as cafe specialties!

Luchy whips up many fruit drinks as well as cafe specialties!

Anyone who has embraced the local culture will agree that Ecuadorians are happy people!  (Perhaps many spend most of their work days in the outdoors?) A foreigner with basic Spanish skills was struggling with an order, and a friend’s precocious ten-year old stepped forward and asked, “Do you need some help from someone who speaks English?  My mother (he pointed to her) speaks  English and my father (pointed) speaks English and that’s Lisa and she speaks English and over there’s Fernando, and he speaks English…”  He was precious, and everyone in the room was affected by his ease with the stranger!  He then scribbled down the fresh juices available for the night, went to their table and took their order!

P1370734 luchy menu

There could be no better song to illustrate the mood of the night than the following one.  Enjoy!

If the above video filled you with happiness, enjoy this interview, which all but burst my heart.  I recalled two precious young girls who danced for Bob (Piran Cafe) and me in 2013;  I could picture them dancing with this talented group from Detroit.

Check out the young beauties’ portraits on Bob’s post “Bootleg Barbies, an Inauguration, a March Against Monsanto and the Coolest Floor in the World – RTW Week #18”

My wish for all of you is to stay HAPPY through the entire month of February, and if you can do that for February, let’s shoot for a year of happiness! Z

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