Footprints of Darwin: Ocean Living

It’s been a crazy two days. Got in at 9:15am and no one was there to pick me up. Fortunately, the gentleman who runs my program is somewhat of a celebrity on San Cristobal – and other islands as well – and thus I was promptly driven to “Casa de William”. When I finally got to my homestay I immediately fell asleep for four hours.

Speaking of homestay families, I couldn’t ask for better people to be staying with him. Everything I have seen on television about South American hospitality is 100% true. In fact, shows like No Reservations don’t do it justice. The food is something else too. Home cooked Ecuadorian meals are muy buen. Rice is served at least twice a day, along with either seafood, or chicken. Tomatoes are common as well. So much flavour. Anthony Bourdain’s episode on Ecuador was fantastico (though I still haven’t had Ceviche or Guinea Pig) but he really needs to do one on solely on the Galapagos.

There is another volunteer staying in my house. She’s teaching and is funnily enough, from England (Liverpool to be specific). Her Spanish is much better than mine. We have another volunteer joining us on Miercoles (that’s Wednesday). Apparently she’s some 15 year old from France, who has been traveling and volunteering since she was 12. Will also be doing theatre so there’s that.

I have been rather fortunate my first two days here. It was one of the American girl’s 21st birthday so on night one we went to Golden Bay Hotel & Spa – the fanciest place in town – where I dined on white wine (since when am I a wino) and delicious grilled Octopus. Tonight, night two, we went to Calipso, allegedly a pizza place, but really where people go  for something called a chocolate volcano. Coupled with Bachita’s amazing comida, needless to say I am pleasantly full. Though I have probably committed carbicide several times over.

Had my first Spanish lesson and teach my first class at 8am. I am not a morning person so this shall get interesting. What is interesting here is that school is from 7-1:40, which means I have my afternoons free. Snorkeling with sea lions anyone?

The infrastructure and architecture is quite unusual. None of the buildings are finished, (save for the hotels and places oriented to towards tourists) yet everything has a simplistic and rugged beauty about them. Casa de Ballesteros is no exception. The television is always on, food is always being prepared, friends constantly visit and conversations are plentiful.

I met have several other volunteers and they are all wonderful, beautiful people. We are quite the international group. By my count there are three Americans (Chicago, Oklahoma, and NYC), two Norwegians, four Brits, two Aussies, one German, Dutch, French, and one Austrian, plus several others I have yet to meet. I believe I am the only Canadian. I’ve had a laugh explaining what poutine is (has it become our national dish). Gravy too.

Okay, that’s all I have to say right now. Good night from San Cristobal!

Song of the day  – Howie day “Collide”


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