I’m five days in to my solo two month stay in Cotacachi, Ecuador. I miss my sweetie immensely! We chat twice daily on the phone using WhatsApp. I sometimes think this may have been a mistake, but then I take a stroll around town and begin to enjoy the friendliness of the locals, the noises, the constant music emanating from everywhere, even the garbage truck! It is truly magical.
My day starts precisely around 5:00AM with the noise from the early busses running in to town to pick up the people that travel to the larger towns nearby for work. Then at 6:30 the church bells start up. The church is directly across the park from my apartment. Dogs begin barking and people start gathering in the park to visit and chat.
I am starting to get into a daily routine. Get up, put on some coffee, shower, read the latest news online and eat some breakfast – mostly fresh fruit, yogurt and coffee. I’m starting to go out for a morning walk. Most stores are not yet open, but many storekeepers are out cleaning the sidewalks in front of their businesses. The town is pretty quiet until around 9:00 when things start to open up for the day.
I’m starting up on my Duo Lingo Spanish lessons again. I really need to learn the basics to effectively communicate with the local shopkeepers. I don’t want to be that person that never learns the local language and lives behind a gated wall in an exclusive community.
At 4:00PM, I saunter over to Doc’s Place, a local bar that mostly expats go to. My friend Don is always there at 4:00 and we have a beer or two and chat with Doc and some of the locals. I usually sit outside as the inside has a couple of pool tables and is always filled with local expat guys playing pool. After a beer or two, it is time to head out for dinner.
I am not much of a cook and there are tons of small restaurants in town. Food is relatively inexpensive. A full dinner might cost as little as $4.00 or as much as $10.00, depending on what you are craving. My first evening here, Don and I headed over to Sub’s Station and I had a burger with fries. I think it was $4.50. The next evening we went to El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant. I had the shrimp fajitas for $6.50.
Today I am heading over to Athena Homebrew for their Saturday patio get together. They open their premises once a week on Saturdays and sometimes provide live music along with pizza and burgers to go along with their great tasting craft beers. I am looking forward to it and hope to meet some new friends. The owners, Roger and Malena, are from Canada. They have been here for about 8 years now and have a great business going with their finely crafted beers which are available in many of the local restaurants.