Monday, April 16, 2012

miss manta

About a month ago we had the privilege of seeing family - it was so good, even if for a few hours.
Eric's mom and her husband (Emmi and John) took a cruise along the west coast of South America and they had a stop for the day in Manta, a coastal city in Ecuador.  With a great deal of hassle, I must say (special permission for kids to miss school, but not miss highly desired field trips, driving, flying and what-not), we managed to get there and enjoy some time with them.
Their cruise arrived a little late, but they were able to get to the hotel that Eric, Maddy and Lucy were staying at (Cade, Mia and I flew in that morning) by around 9:30.  We spent a few hours hanging out by the pool.  While the kids were swimming and enjoying the warm weather and cool water, the rest of us were enjoying the Miss Mini Manta pageant.  Now that isn't really true - but there was something of the sort going on with girls probably ages 8 through 12.

Watching all of this (I will keep my "mouth" shut about my feelings toward this whole deal) made me realize why the majority of Ecuadorian girls of whom I took photos of this past month automatically tilted their heads and turned on a charming smile.  Apparently pageants like this are very common.....  In many cases, I could hardly disconnect the smile from the head tilt.
There were also some "fitness" classes run by the hotel going on that were rather entertaining.  The leader of these classes is pictured here in khakis, a leather belt and a white dress shirt.  These are also my choice for fitness wear.
Of course I need to throw in some photos of my adorable children.

This following one may not be in the "adorable" category as she is a little old for that.  
I'm not liking how she is looking much closer to adulthood than childhood.  Why can't they just stop growing up?  Sheesh.
After some swimming and people watching, we all went out for a yummy, somewhat Americanish lunch.  You, at this point, might not even believe that John and Emmi were even here.  There is, after all, no evidence.  That would be because I am a lousy daughter-in-law and didn't take any pictures of them.  But they were here and you will have to trust me.
After lunch they decided that they would let us get an early start on the drive home (a bit of a precarious one, especially in the dark) so they headed back to the ship early.

The first part of the drive, in the city, proved to provide an excellent opportunity with which to share some of the great safety methods used in Ecuador.  Pretend the two photos  below are actually connected and are one big picture.
Yes indeed.  A city worker was fixing a street pole with his ladder being comfortably settled in the shovel of a front end loader.  Once again, safety first.
We did drive past a place where they build boats - that was pretty cool.
Someone was apparently even preparing for a flood:
I'm sure the animals are yet to come.
There had been a lot of rain and flooding as well.  When Eric and the girls drove down, they had to drive through an area where the road was covered by a couple of feet of water.  
Driving back through two days later, they had the road mostly recovered, but as we drove along we saw many many houses surrounded by water.  Thankfully most of them were built on stilts.
Even though the visit was much too short, it was refreshing to see family.  The world is much smaller now-a-days and we are so grateful that seeing the important people in our lives is not nearly the challenge is was years ago.  Hopefully we will get more of those visits!

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