Travel days are always a challenge. There’s the stress of making sure were in the right place at the right time, the kids, and the fact that we are easy targets since we are carrying everything we own on our shoulders. Thursday night we took what ended up being a midnight bus from Quito to Esmeraldas with a transfer to Mompiche. The idea behind that was that we would sleep on the 8 hour ride. Well, there were a few issues with that plan.
1. Our kids go to bed at 8.
2. Carrying 7 backpacks and 2 children is impossible.
3. It ended up being a 5 1/2 and 2 1/2 hour ride on 2 different buses.
4. Sleeping on a bus is very difficult.
We still have a bit to learn about bus transportation. We made it here to Mompiche at a little after 9 a.m. Overnight bus travel was a challenging experience but was rose to the occasion and survived. Once we actually made it to this tiny town that’s hardly on the map we discovered that it was high tide. The establishment where we are staying is impossible to get to until the tide goes down, because there are no roads- only beach access. We decided to take the opportunity to fill our bellies, and found the first beachside restaurant to unload our baggage and our travel weary bodies. We had seafood for breakfast, because they eat seafood here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t know if we were just starving, but the food was outstanding.
After enjoying our meal and watching the boys play in the sand a bit it was finally time to load up the mototaxi (a motorcycle with a cart on the back) and head to the hotel.
It’s always interesting to see how a place compares to the online description. The location is beautiful, 2 miles away from the nearest pueblo. We are staying in an idyllic bamboo walled, thatched roof cabin set amongst palm trees with the waves crashing out our front door. And then there’s the reality.
The wifi is available only if you need to use it and it is a hotspot using someone else’s data plan. The electricity looks like it’s a major fire hazard. The shower is cold and the water is salty. Salty water is not potable even using our magic Steripen water sterilizer. Oh, and then there are the tides.
Not surprisingly, we enjoyed a long nap after checking in. We awoke around 3 and knew we needed to make the 3 kilometer walk to town for some dinner. It’s a lovely walk down the beach that we all enjoyed. We ate another fabulous seafood meal and had to go to the grocery store to get some fruit and bread to take back to the cabin. It was cloudy, but we got to watch just a bit of the sunset.
Then we realized something. The tide was much higher than before. The little stream we had previously crossed had turned into a raging river. There was no choice, we had to cross. If we waited any longer it would be dark. Israel went first with Jovani on his shoulders. Thankfully, the water was just up to his waist. Next he took Judah, and I followed carrying our groceries and phones. Joaquin found his own way across farther up river. It was shallower, but it took much longer for him to navigate and he almost tumbled in a couple of times. After surviving the river we had to conquer the wall. On the other side of the river someone had built a seawall that was now crumbling. The water was breaking against it, so the boys took the high road, Israel and I decided to walk next to it since we were already wet. By this time it was dark and cloudy, so there was no light in the sky. The boys finally made it to the end of the wall and jumped down. Did I mention this was just the very beginning of our 3 kilometer walk? We made it home safely in spite of the dark, more walls, barking dogs, and fallen trees. The kids were real troopers that day! Now it’s time for us to sit back, relax, and enjoy this secluded beach!