How to describe Montanita? Well.....a bit hippie, a lot surfer, bamboo/tiki architecture, party atmosphere, artists, dreadlocks, a bit on the wild side, barefoot. That about does it!
We settled into our digs at SoleMare which is located at the surfers end of the beach rather than smack dab in Montanita-central. The setting was nice but there was no AC and it was humid. Dano don't do humidity. I sweat....I pour. The rooms were more expensive but nowhere near as nice as our rooms and amenities at Nantu in PL. It didn't take long before I was not liking it. Carlos, the owner/manager, immediately chastised me for raising the window blinds to let more air in, because they are fragile and may break. "DON'T TOUCH THESE!!". Gimme a break!! I also parked my car at the worng angle. I was not supposed to eat in the room. I went for a walk on the beach late that night as it was pleasant and cool. When I returned to SoleMare, Carlos's father jumped to his feet and scolded me for not hosing off my feet before entering the complex and ultimately my room. ETFOM!!!
But, let's back up a bit. It was now Monday. Banks open. There are no banks in Montanita...only an ATM. Maddy-Mae and Opie were signed up for surfing lessons. Granny and Mah-maw were proudly waiting to take 157 photos of every surfing movement they made. I, on the other hand, was miserable with the room, hot and humid. I got the idea to drive to Salinas, about 50 miles away, to the bank and bring my car registration fees current. The cool part of the drive was the fact I would be COOL in my AC car!!! Before I left, I took advantage of the huge mud puddles outside the complex to scoop up mud and fling it at my car....primarily the license plate to obsure at least one of the digits so cops couldn't read the entire thing and enter in their on-board computer. My car was already a muddy mess due to substantial rains in days beforehand that caused a lot of dirt runoff onto the paved roads.
In Salinas, I paid the $375 registration fees at the bank and got a receipt, then drove back to Montanita.
We strolled through the village, admiring beautiful jewelry art displayed by the artists on simple tables made of plywood and sawhorses, or just laid out on sheets on the sidewalk. Dinner and a few beers and a stroll back to the complex via the beach and we all crashed.
After a fitfull night sleep sprawled across the top of the bed with fan on full force, I refused breakfast and hopped in my car and headed for my favorite hotel in Montanita...Charo's (as in 'coochy coochy'). There I had breakfast and asked about room rates/availability. They had a room for the same price as I paid at SoleMare but it had AC and the complex had a pool and jacuzzi. BOOK EM' DANO!!! So, I loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly...uhhh...Charo's, that is. I laid out by the pool, dipped in the cool jacuzzi, had a beer (or two), and napped in my hammock on my balcony listening to the roar of the surf.
I drove back to SoleMare to watch the kids on their 2nd day of surfing lessons. They were up on their boards and having a ball. Granny and I took to the surf ourselves, sans boards. I tried to body surf but could never catch a wave.
The next morning, we headed to our next destination, Banos. But, first we needed to make a stop just outside Montanita to visit Denise's tree-house home with her boyfriend who handcrafts surfboards out of balsa wood. It was amazing to see how someone from the Pacific Northwest in the USA was living in a 3-level 'house' made of bamboo, open air, no glass windows, bare-bones kitchen, no walk-in closets, no dishwasher, no car, no AC....just the raw basics. Her boyfriend proudly showed us his very rudimentary factory where he produces highly sought-after surfboards to aficionados around the world.
After our short visit, we were back on the road for a lonnnng drive back and through Guayaquil and onto a route I'd never driven before. I had no clue how long the drive might be, what the road condition would be, whether it was flat or hilly or winding. We just winged it knowing that somewhere it would connect us up to Riobamba where it would merge with a highway I'm familiar with to take us into Banos.
Why Banos? Because Opie wanted to see a VOLCANO!!
Enjoy the photos!!!
|Just before entering Montanita is this intriguing cliffside.....thing.|
|The flipside of what you see on the previous photo. So, where's the two elephants, 2 billygoats, 2 ostriches, 2 zebras......????|
|Beautiful downtown Montanita.|
|This was under construction the last time I visited, now it's done. Odd architecture for Montanita, but then again Montanita is odd.|
|The courtyard of SoleMare.|
|Opie and Maddy-mae practicing their technique before heading to the surf.|
|Opie chatted up this woman who joined us for dinner. She looks a lot like a younger Granny.|
|Opie, Victor (the board maker), Maddy-mae|