Flying in Canoa, Ecuador.

 

With Krista and Scott safely on the plane back to the USA, we set off once again for the coast. Having scoped out the flying scene and a better place to camp, we stopped in the Canoa area just before 5:00. The family (two strong women – a mother and daughter team) who owned this small 4-room hotel were just closing up for the night. We asked if we could camp in the gated courtyard and were welcomed with open arms! They showed us where the bathroom was, where we could find the shower, and told us to take what we needed in the beer fridge…we could pay the next day. People in the world can be so incredibly nice.

We spent a few glorious days here walking on the beach, hang gliding, and making new friends. The family had just hired a new watchman for the hotel. We spent time sharing our adventure and learning about his over breakfast of pancakes and Nutella made on our camp stove. He is a third year med student from Venezuela. He left his mom (a nurse), his dad ( a mechanical engineer) and his sister (also studying engineering) as he set out to find better opportunities for himself and his family. He had wonderful things to say about his travel through Colombia, spending several nights in the street in Bogota and how it was to cross the border. As I listened to him talk about the hardships of living in a country over which an individual had no control, my appreciation of my life doubled. Not that I was not already extremely aware of how lucky I am to have been born in the USA…however, there is more to it than this. You see, when I decided to tackle a PhD in physics, I had access to transportation to and from school, funding for my education and the ability to feed myself and my family while working my butt off in school. I had support from family, friends and neighbors and ultimately access to a secure job with great benefits. Yes, I worked very hard to get my degrees, but hard work alone doesn’t help the people of Venezuela. You can have the strongest work ethic in the world and if there are no buses to take you to school, no teachers left to teach the classes, no food in the cupboard – it is nearly impossible to accomplish your dreams. This smart young man is now sweeping dirt floors, cleaning bathrooms and serving others while he waits for the opportunity he very much deserves. I hope we get a chance to see him succeed.

 

Jorge’s flight from the steep cliffs overlooking the beach was exhilarating! It may be hard to see from the photos and videos, but from high on the hill the giant ocean below was breathtaking. There was plenty of time for me to drive back down to the beach to watch him him soar and capture his beach landing with my i-Phone! Thanks so much to Jaime and Javier in Canoa for showing us the site and sharing the afternoon!

 

Just before leaving, we took one last walk on the beach. It was early and the small fishing boats were returning to shore to pull in nets and share/sell their catch with the locals. I walked for about an hour and when I returned, it was as though I had walked onto the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds.” The crowd was forming under an umbrella of sea birds dive-bombing the debris and discarded delights as the fisherman chose and tossed a variety of fish, crabs and sting rays to the beach. Women with giant machetes waited to collect them, hacking at the sharp spikes and stingers and leaving them in small piles on the sand. I have seen a lot of organized chaos before…this fell into the top five category.

 

Today’s theme – Better watch where you walk on the beach in the morning…

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