Aunt Sue returned to Chicago early yesterday morning, and given the option of a couple of days of four-hour bus rides to get to Canoa, the second of which would be on the girls birthday, we took the wimpy way out and flew from Quito to Manta. We spent the night in the seedier side of Manta, in Tarqui, and caught a bus from there north to Bahia de Caráquez, then a 10 minute passenger ferry, and finally a 30 minute bus ride up to Canoa. The passenger ferry will soon be only a memory as a long bridge across the Rio Chone will open in the fall.
This time of year the coast is mostly overcast and rainy, and we arrived in the rain. We met Debby's Peace Corps friend Alex and her family here, and most of the afternoon was spent on the beach, catching up. We celebrated the girl's birthday at the hotel with cake and a few small presents. And tonight, although I can hear the waves breaking outside our hotel, the dominate night sound is the bar next door, blaring Ecuadorian top 40.