March 31, 2012


Salt is everywhere here. It's especially potent in the warm waves, but ever present upon our lips as beads of sweat evaporate and reform without regard to day or night. Relief from the heat arrives precisely at 6 pm when dusk cloaks the vivid blue of the sky with pale colors and then blackness for exactly 12 hours. Hostels and homes alike empty as people take to the streets for the sheer pleasure of escaping the cinder block walls from which the afternoon heat is passed. Shopkeepers sit on their steps and restaurants set up tables which spill across the sidewalk into the middle of the road to accommodate the locals and tourists who come with appetites after being able to eat little thanks to the heat. The foods I do eat during the sweltering heat are usually limited to fruit juices to try and stay hydrated, and locally made ice pops made from heavy cream and fresh fruit purée.

Puerto Ayora is a clean, charming town whose inhabitants smile at their visitors. Everybody I talk to here is kind, helpful, and curious about who I am. Locals ride scooters and bikes for their short commute around town, and leave bikes unlocked and unattended at municipal bike racks around town or propped by their pedals along the sidewalk curbs. Thievery, apparently, is nearly irrelevant. I am delighted to have a week to savor this island community, salt and all.

This afternoon brought forth the most refreshing of events. All morning, clouds had been obscuring the sun, providing shade from direct sun rays, but increasing humidity. Will and I worked through the heat by reading Catching Fire (the third Hunger Games book) in its entirety with a fan pointed directly at us. I occasionally paused from our marathon to take a tepid shower to rinse away sweat and cool my skin. Without warning, the dark clouds finally gave way to a heavy downpour which instantaneously over flowed from the large gutter. We climbed from bed and walked out our open door to stand directly in the stream of cool water that poured from the leaky gutter without regard to the clothes I was wearing. I sensed that the storm would be short lived and didn't want to waste time searching for my swimsuit. The storm abated in just a couple of minutes, but it's cooling effects lasted all day. Though that didn't stop me from craving another fruit pop.

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