Ecuadorian creepy-crawlies underfoot.

“Ventana” (Spanish for “wind”) derives from the Latin word for wind, ventus. English window has a similar connection with the wind. It derives from the Scandinavian word vindauga, a combination of vindr ‘wind’ and auga ‘eye’. So a window is, literally, the eye through which the wind enters.

That has nothing to do with this blog, I just love stuff like that.

We left the tourist colony of Montanita behind to continue our ramble north up Ecuador’s coast, aka the Ruta del Sol. We’d heard there was a sleepy little fisherman town a short ways up called Olon, so headed there.

“A short ways”? It was basically walkable. And “sleepy”? Try catatonic. I loved it.

First we played Goldilocks with the accommodation option. K liked the cute place with a permanent art exhibit on the walls but I vetoed the price. I liked the $5 place but K vetoed it due to the scraggly dogs lying in the dirt outside (and maybe the owner dude, who was rocking the international style of the wife-beater shirt pulled up over a big protruding basketball belly). The humble place around the corner whose sheets had actually been washed recently (this month) but whose room was just barely large enough for the bed was just right. Or an acceptable compromise anyway.

(Maybe politicians should travel together and learn how to compromise. Plus, it’s hard to vilify someone whose hair you’ve held while they vomit bus station burek into the dingy porcelain receptacle…)

Olon has a looong beach, like a horizon close at hand, that lives with its eyes squinted shut against the relentless wind. The tidal zone is a metropolis of skittish crabs, entirely textured with tiny pellets of sand they drool-poop after eating off all the plankton, algae, and bacteria in it. It’s oddly relaxing to watch them sweep up sand in elegant swoops of claw, moving steadily sideways in that crabby motion of way-too-many-legs, leaving new patches of clean sand behind.

As waves slide off the beach you can see either of two other species in their millions. The first are small snaily guys, slithering around like mobile pebbles. The second are frickin disgusting.

Some sort of filter-feeder, I think tiny crabs, they stick their arms out into the thin retreating water, and feel positively repulsive squirming under your feet in their thousands. I grew up on the seashore and her sandcrab attendants, but bleyucht! These things gave me the heeby-jeebies. To the point that I wore my sandals on the beach, which always feels a tad sacriligeous.

Wow, did I just talk that much about Olon’s beach? I guess I’ll leave the miracle and its dried blood for next time.