We’ve arrived safely in Ecuador, and after enjoying some relaxing days in the south of the country, we made our way to the coast of Ecuador. We agreed to help out an American couple with their vacation houses and their dogs in a small fisher village. For quite a while we’ve already been looking forward to the three weeks we would spend in Puerto Cayo. We were looking forward to having a routine, a kitchen and especially the beach right in front of us. And after spending so much time in the Andes, we couldn’t wait for warmer temperatures.
Like before we found this place to stay on a website called Workaway. If you have no clue what I am talking about: it is a portal where you are able to create your own account and look for places that offer you a place to sleep (and most of the times food, too) in exchange for a few hours of work every day. My boyfriend and I have been using Workaway for a lot of our time in South America.
Puerto Cayo turned out to be smaller and more remote than we initially thought with only two or three small kiosks and a market once a week. We were there before high season, so neither a lot of Ecuadorians nor a lot of foreign tourists were there at that time which basically meant enjoying miles and miles of Pacific beaches by ourselves.
The house we lived in was as close to the beach as you could get and we had everything there – even a blender, high-speed wifi, two(!) bedrooms and a pool right in front of the door. We were ready to settle and get out of the “everyday something new” mindset and just do the things we couldn’t when in hostels or on the road.
I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but going out to see new places every day, traveling by bus and running around in towns to find a place to sleep after dusk can wear you down. So we were excited to stay in one place for a while, where before our only constant has been our heavy backpack sitting on our shoulders.
The work we did was mostly easy, if not that well coordinated. At 7:30 in the morning we took the dogs out for the first walk which was a blessing everyday. We either walked at the beach or in the backcountry surrounded by bushes and wetland. After we gave the dogs their breakfast, we started doing little jobs around the houses. Lars often helped the caretaker in the garden or repairing things around the place while I often cleaned the apartments or cooked dog food. In the late afternoon we took the dogs on another walk and by the time we finished feeding them the sun was already almost gone. Even though it wasn’t required to work all day we obviously had to be around most of the time in case there was something else to do.
The best thing about Puerto Cayo was by far the food Lars (and I – sometimes) cooked and the experience we had with it. After trying out some recipes in Cusco, Lars was now even more excited to dive into veganism and cook all the delicious meals with the fresh fruit and veggies from the produce truck that stopped by twice a week. He’s been reading a couple of books and was now convinced to try it out – cold turkey. I loved (for ethical and health reasons) and hated (for “taste” reasons) the idea of quitting all kinds of animal products, but decided to be rather passive about it and let Lars try it out. I must admit some meals weren’t great mostly due to the lack of spices. But as soon as we racked up on some oregano, ground pepper, curry powder and so on the dishes turned out great! And I loved it. After a few days both of us started to notice some small changes in our energy and mood levels and especially how we felt directly after meals. Just feeling really in synch with our bodies. We saw the direct contrast when we were invited to a pizza party or when we ate seafood in town. We felt so heavy and depleted of energy after that. So we were even more validated to keep it up!
We started getting up at 5am in the morning, did some reading, learned about yoga or did a workout, and jumped in the pool before walking the dogs. If the tides permitted it we would go out to the beach and have fun and jump around in the huge waves. It was the best time of the day. Nobody was up yet and when the sun came out around 6:30 am we were already excited for the day and ready to go.
Those were really great, active days and thinking back it was a huge turning point in both of our lives. Having all this delicious food around and feeling the best we’ve ever felt completely changed my mind about veganism.
But of course, we didn’t only eat, relax and walk the dogs in Puerto Cayo, so I have another post planned about what we did around there soon. ;-)