A Parting Dose of Serendipity

New Beaches and Chance Encounters with Old Friends

After close to three weeks on the beach holed up in Montanita’s off Broadway, neighboring fishing town of Olon, things were pretty good.

Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. Things were real good.

Home on the Range. No baguettes in sight.

In a nutshell, it came down to waves, good food and cold beer. And pretty much in that order.

Most days were bookended with surfs in the morning and evening glass off in what would prove to be one of the most tide dependant and easy going line ups I’d ever seen.

In between would be a breakfast of fruit and lots of it with more mangoes, watermelon, papaya and bananas than you could easily carry costing half of what a single coffee goes for back in Australia.

Beach and water time with Kaia would come next with each subsequent day seeing our little mermaid getting more and more comfortable with all things aquatic.

A lunch ‘Menu del dia’ eventually came next. For all of $3 US dollars, this would include a hearty

Beach time.

starter of either a soup or ceviche and would be followed by a bountiful second plate of homemade yumminess that was sure to make a mid-afternoon siesta a foregone conclusion. Perfect for dodging the mid-day heat and, in doing so, usually with visions of more late afternoon surf dancing in our heads.

All of which,  would conveniently leave us more than salty and thirsty enough to justify a few ice cold, $1.50, 600 ml cervezas. Perfect for reliving the events of the day. And even more perfect for watching yet one more sunset sink into the Pacific in the direction of home.

Old friend=Big Smiles!

And all with subconscious thrill of knowing tomorrow we got to do it all over again.

Yes, we were living the dream. There was really no other way to say it.

Such was the reality of a place where the most frustrating endeavour to contend with revolved around the complete and utter randomness of the opening hours of the only place in town to get baguettes.

Indicative of just how slow things moved in sleepy Olon would be

the little street corner ‘bakery’. This being a generally locked door behind which two small ovens

(L to R) Eli, Tattiana and Lou. Mendiolaza madness.

periodically pumped out European style loafs of bread. Intermittently and at banker hours that ranged from anywhere from 8:30 to noon.

This, on account of the fact, ol’ Frenchy--blurry eyed, dishevelled and unkept as if fresh from an all-night poker bender—appeared anything but a morning person. Oh, to be a baker in Olon!

But such was the beauty of coastal Ecuador (and most of South America, for that matter). Life was made to be lived at one’s own pace. A pace where, if Frenchy’s ever changing message board opening hour postings were anything to go on, was pretty much whatever the hell you felt like.

But after a few weeks, we decided to spread our wings. So, with two days remaining before our scheduled flight to the Galapagos, we decided to throw a spanner in the mix by loading up our boards and taking a 30 minute bus ride north.

Eli and Kaia...making music.

North to an area we’d heard made sleepy Olon look like a booming metropolis. And more importantly, a place we’d heard nothing but good reports regarding the surfing potential.

So load up we would and off we’d set leaving barely knee high waves in our wake with our fingers crossed for better things to come.

Which is just what happened. Only thing was, the waves would prove the least of it.

It’d be in searching for a shaded spot on the beach to set up camp that they appeared out of nowhere. They being, a couple friendly faces not seen since the northern Argentinian town of Mendiolaza nearly 8 months earlier.

For three weeks in June of last year, Eli and Lou had been two of a houseful of our Workaway co-workers. Plodding and toiling away digging holes and mixing concrete for what word on the street said was supposed to be some sort of eco house but, to our untrained eyes looked like little more than a giant hole carved out of a hillside.

They’d be three weeks that, while not exactly what you’d consider 5 star luxury, would result in

The band (minus Tattiana) together again.

parting teary eyed sobs of Kaia. “Mommy, I’m gonna miss them, they’re my friends,” was how Kaia summed up her time with the Eli, Lou (and their partner in crime, Tattiana) just as we boarded our Cordoba bound bus for our connection to Paraguay.

There’d been a lot of water under the bridge since that sad parting but, in the blink of an eye, all of that time hardly mattered. And in less time than it took Eli to bound screeching through the sand to Kaia’s side for a long overdue hug, Kaia would find herself a part of one of the most simple pleasures of the traveling life.

This being the magic surrounding the formation of close ties with strangers met while on the road. And, as this day so perfectly demonstrated, how effortlessly such friendships are rekindled.

Besos for an angel...from an angel.

The serendipity of the moment wasn’t lost on me as we paddled out into enticing head high sets. It was a serendipity made all the more special by Eli and Lou’s scheduled departure the following morning.

But the golden opportunity was not to be wasted.

Lady Luck, Good Fortune, Karma, The Force, and Fate it seemed, were all on our side. Each doing their bit to remind us one more time, just how good we really had it.







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