A Gringa in Ecuador

Arriving to Ecuador after a great flight leaving Edmonton to Toronto, then onto Bogota, Columbia we landed in Guayaquil, Ecuador to the smiles and waves of Leah and Gillian. It had been 5 and a half months since Leo and Braydon had seen Leah. Everyone was very excited to reunite.

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city that has undergone a transformation over the last decade. We stayed in a brand new hotel near the airport. The Hotel Sonesta was very hospitable to Leah and Gill who arrived at 6 am in the morning after an all night bus trip. They were checked in when they arrived, had a rest and waited, I must say in the lap of luxury, for our flight to arrive at 11:30 pm.

After a wonderful night’s sleep and a scrumptious buffet breakfast including ceviche, fresh fruit and omelets by design, we boarded a bus heading to the southern coast and our home away from home. The bus ride took us by many shanty villages and homes that spotted the highway. However as we drove by the surfing village of Montanita we began to see signs of a more modern village that caters to surfers, backpackers and gringos.

We arrived in Olon and were met by our escorts Javier and Juan. We later realized that these two young men worked as gardeners in the gated community of our vacation home. They helped us carry our luggage and walk three blocks to Jardine de Olon – a gringo community with investors and expatriates from the United States. Jardine de Olon is nestled within the community of Olon and faces the Pacific Ocean.

The shabby-chic streets of Olon, Ecuador

Our new home in Olon, Ecuador

Olon itself is situated on the Ruta del Sol – route of the sun. Beautiful beaches border the Pacific Ocean, a long sparsely populated beach that seems to go on forever but really only 14 kilometers. The beach recedes into the ocean at such a gentle slop the novice surfer can easily catch a 2 – 3 meter wave. We have all been in awe of this beautiful beach for swimming, surfing, and hanging loose.

Olon is a small community that is not only quaint but also very friendly. Welcoming residents are so cheerful and courteous. Always a “Hola” as we pass by. Families stroll by on a Sunday morning peering in the window of our home – waving as if we are long lost friends — “Buenos Dias”.

Relaxing on the beautiful palm-fringed "playa"

We have enjoyed wonderful meals, great books, a challenging puzzle and great rest, especially afternoons in the hammocks for a lovely siesta. The evening air is filled with the most wonderful floral aromas that help to relax us after our fun filled days. The most luxurious sound is the crashing of waves that lull us to sleep. Although we have had a few interrupted nights’ sleeps. The dogs of Olon find nighttime a great time to greet or challenge visitors including other dogs, a wild horse, a donkey and her foal or a stranger. The local rooster has found 3:30 am to be the awakening hour, cheerful but very early and not always welcome.

We did a lot of cooking in our beautiful home.

We made friends with a cute dog who was named Daisy

We spent an afternoon treating ourselves to pedicures. Gill decided on a lovely seafoam green.

Ecuador is home to more bird species per square mile than any other South American country – the birds are heard day and night chattering and calling to let everyone know of their presence.

Lack of sleep is never an issue as the hammocks beckon us at about 2 pm and a siesta is in order.

We took a nice family portrait with Daisy

Relaxing on the beach post-surf enjoying a beer

Olon borders a rain forest to the south, hills to the east and ocean to the west. Only 1 degree south of the Ecuador the sun shines from December to June. Clouds and rain tends to settle in by July. During the night the rain pours down. During the day there may be clouds and rain but it is more like a fine mist. The temperature is always perfect and very easy to enjoy. We lucked out and enjoyed some very sunny days that made our experience paradise.

Needless to say this has been a wonderful vacation location. We have enjoyed our time with the girls and settling into the Ecuadorian lifestyle.

The lovely Germain family at sunset on the beach in Olon

Braydon and Gill doing the Ecuadorian sundance

Daisy had a hard time making it past the doorway. Such a good girl.

As the sun sets we bid adieu to Olon Ecuador