I asked at a couple of places about renting for a month and heard as low as 80$ w/private bath (later I heard oh 50$ is a good deal!) but opted to stay where I was since for me it’s cheap and has everything I need. I’m staying a hostel called Villa Colombia, it has a really nice garden w/ hamacas in the centre and then rooms w/ outside access all around. It’s only 2 blocks from the “downtown” but on the right side, not the beach side, so it’s relatively (as is everything) quiet and private for here. I have a kitchen to use and decent speed wireless internet, some things do change here after all!! So I’d say I’m pretty spoiled… We have a sweet old dog (European golden lab) and tiny crazy cat they rescued as a kitten (one of the many strays the roads are full of here…) as well as some turtles in the back garden that just had babies! The owners (a man and his mom) are super nice and so friendly! As well there is a guy who works here and 2 other guys from Guayaquil staying long-term working on archiving a local museum. And of course random groups of tourists that come and go but there will be soon be less since the whales will only be here a couple more weeks at most.
The weather is well, blah. For those of you who haven’t been here, sorry to burst the tropical beach life bubble! It’s definitely not idealistic here in any way but I like that better. It’s always cloudy, though rarely rains and I’ve been told it stays just like this at until December, so much for seasons! However, the temperature is perfect. Since it’s not sunny it’s never too hot, I’d say 20-25 in the day and just under 20 at night. It’s surprisingly humid though for all that we’re in the dry tropical forest and no there is not a lot of lovely vegetation, have to hike a bit inland to the cloud forest for that!
And as always the country is in a perpetual state of disrepair, I’m so used to it, anything new and shiny is a curiosity! However, they have paved more roads, put in plumbing in Puerto Rico and built a town square over the last block of the main road to the ‘malecon’ beach-front road which is actually quite nice and diverts the traffic around, wouldn’t want the tourists run over by a taxi-moto now would we?
As for volunteering… Well there are tons of opportunities here it’s just a matter of being patient and insistant and meeting the right people. Actually, I won’t be teaching in the schools this time and get to experience teaching adults which should be an interesting experience! I mean the fact that I will be the youngest in the class just kind of adds a new twist… however motivation and discipline should be a breeze! I am working with a foundation for the protection of whales and other wildlife. One of their projects was to teach English to the guides but then the teacher that was supposed to come backed out at last minute so the head lady was super happy when she found out I was an ESL teacher! I will be teaching M/W/F all afternoon, 3 classes (basic, intermediate, advanced). The basic is really just the tour guides with the foundation, the intermediate will be for the more advanced and just whoever else wants to join in (we’ve already recruited about 6 extra students, everyone really wants to learn English but there are so few opportunities here) and the last class with just be 3 people, the head lady, another girl and the hostel owner who works at the foundation. And…. They insisted on paying me (shhhh) just enough to cover my food and accommodation but still appreciated. They said it would be better if people had to pay a bit so they would be more encouraged to come so they didn’t waste their money and I would be a bit more motivated but really doesn’t make a difference to me. We are also planning on helping out a school at least one day a week that is a good half hour outside of a village (Agua Blanca) that is pretty isolated itself! They just set up this school and lots of the kids have never been to school since before they had to walk to Agua Blanca. So I’m looking forward to that!
Que más? Oh yes, I went out to Puerto Rico and visited everyone, they are just the same, everyone is doing well and they all say hi! Liz is no longer hosting volunteers so the house (which now has several nice showers outside and all) is pretty empty since Samuel and Mary have moved out down the road to a house they built. Friday I also ran into some people I knew from here last time and we sat around and chatted to the limit of Spanish ability anyway… nothing has changed with them. Earlier on Friday I went out for dinner with the hostel owner and a German girl who was volunteering here for a few weeks but left this weekend. Finally got my ceviche fix, yum!!
Otherwise…. I guess I have just been relaxing. Reading, learning to cook and buy food here, unpacking, etc. It’s going to be SO nice not be living out of a suitcase!!!! I have a shelf-thing for my clothes!!! Love it.