oWe are in a small coastal town in Ecuador called Montanita. We originally came here for Brad to spearfish and I was going to go to school. However, the fishing fell through and the school is expensive....so we are going to move on tomorrow. I spent the past day alone walking through Montanita...it is a lazy surfer town with tons of hippies selling jewelry on the side of the street. It is somewhat touristy and the prices are a little higher then the other towns we have visited. I decided to get out of the main drag and check out the local areas. I was able to watch a soccer match, see a child´s birthday party, and observe every day life of the Montanitans. It was refreshing to me....to be in a completely different country, different culture and still see similar interactions among people, friends, and family. I saw a wife bantering with her husband over something and then several seconds later they laughed and hugged....kids were picking on each other and playing hide and seek. There was a group of older men sitting at a table enjoying beer and playing some type of card table game. I can hardly communicate with these people and don´t look anything like them, but still, as I walk and observe their town, most everyone will look me in the eye and smile.
Another thing that I wanted to share was the living conditions. Ecuador is a very poor country. I lucked out in staying in some decent hostels the past few places, but Montanita has been my first peak inside the poverty here. Our first night here we came in late and found a woman that would let us stay in her house for $5 a night. Literally, we stayed in this woman´s house, shared the family bathroom, and she said that all living areas were ok for us to use. The bedroom was basically two old beds with mosquito nets. Sheets were on them, but they did not look clean. The walls were not fully built and holes were everywhere. But it wasn´t the bedroom that really got me, it was the bathroom. Brad warned me about the bathroom when he came out which meant it had to be bad (since Brad could sleep inside a dumpster if it meant he would save money). First of all, you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilets here. No matter if you go number 1, 2, or 3...you have to put the paper in the trashcan. Well the trashcan in this bathroom was overflowing and the stinch of the room overwhelmed me immediately. The entire room from shower to sink was filthy. Hair and dirt was everywhere and remnants of soap and toothpaste were on the walls and sink. It was BAD...I had a hard time going pee and didn´t even wash my face or brush my teeth. There was NO WAY I was going to take a shower. Brad told me I needed to get over it bc there would be plenty of places like this on my journey. I agreed, but then told him that I was okay with paying a dollar more to have a clean bathroom....We decided to look for a cleaner place the next morning. We actually found a nicer hostel for only $3.50 a night and it was much cleaner then the other place. It wasn´t clean....just cleaner :) I was happy though. However, at about 9pm when the dance club next door opened, I soon realized why it was only $3.50 a night. For a somewhat cleaner hostel I had to jam out to dance music until 2am as I tried to sleep. I was totally ok with doing that too!