The Bish Krew on Tour

Welcome to the antics of the BishKrew on tour round the world. Bish Crew members: Tommy O'Gallagher, Kieran Rafter, James Askew, Tom Fleming, Laurie Howell and Teo Lopéz-Bernal.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Atacames, 11th June


Ok i'm no less exhausted than yesterday so bear with me as I recount my various adventures in deepest ecuador. Firstly complaints. Mosquitos/Sand flies/Ticks have all established what many people already know, I taste really good! I have more bites than the rest of the volunteers put together. The heat, it's really really hot, 30 degrees and 85% humidity, and I tend not to thrive in warm countries!

Thats my griping over. I set off for Musine in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas not really knowing quite what to expect. 9 Hours later I arrived pretty much drenched from the absurd humidity, and was quickly introduced to the international team of volunteers and our spacious if basic volunteer home. The team consists of 3 Canadians, 3 Ecuadorians (not including me), 1 Swiss, 1 American and 2 English (including me). Naturally, Tom is from Bristol.

The next day was my first day of working, in a typical day we will do one manual task and one conservation or community task. For example my first day featured 4 hours of hacking at a rainforest trail with machettes in the morning and turtle monitoring out on the ocean in the afternoon. In the following days we have done a lot of machette work, built roofs, made trails, stocked shrimp ponds, monitored the rock pools and generally wondered around Congal Island itself harvesting pinapples, lemons, corn as well as rubbish clearing on the beaches. It's all really hard work, but really satisfying and we definately pack a lot into each day.

My favourite part of the course so far however has to be the community work. We are based 5 minutes walk from a tiny village called Bunche where we spend a lot of time. 2 volunteers teach English every morning and while the kids are ridiculously rowdy, it is really fun both for us and for them I hope. We also help the village president with the running of the village which has included repainting and cleaning the health centre, laying a floor in the nursery and my own personal favourite playing football against the villagers. This next week we are going to spend 2 nights on Congal island for Marine conservation clases and the whale season started last week so pretty soon we should start heading out on the boats after them!

Our free time is slightly limited by exhaustion and sickness, but most mornings everyone gets up at 6 piles into a 4x4 and races the 30 seconds to our own private beach for surfing and body boarding. We also have enjoyed the hospitality of the Bunche government, (who all seem to be around the same age as us!) and there culture of all night drinking sessions featuring home-brewed liquor retailing at $2 for 4 gallons has definately kept spirits up in the evenings.

The main events however have been our free weekends and this one has been pretty epic to say the least. Following the game on Friday partying hit the streets of every town around Ecuador and we definately enjoyed ourselves! Heavily hung over we hit Atacames, the party capital of Ecuador for a mad weekend. The ultimate hangover cure of 24 Ecuadorian girls school leavers in your hotel seemed to work pretty well and while they didn't seem to understand my invitation for me to be Charlie and them to be angels I felt it would be rude not to join them on a night out. Things got out of hand pretty quickly as within 20 minutes i found myself dancing salsa, merengue and of course reggaeton in a competition, for "chicos y chicas sexy", which took place on the bar itself. I'm not sure whether it was the thought of wining four pitchers of caipriña for the girls or just my natural dancing talent coming through but somehow me and my partner, a lovely quiteña called caroline, swept all before us and won!! I quickly became very popular and the girls are all looking forward to meeting Teo and Tom next weekend!

I haven't quite managed to make it to bed yet and the thought of Iran Mexico is calling so i'm gonna press on...

LOL charlie


Blogger howell said...

Hi James.
Good to hear that you are still having a great time.I'm intrigued to know why the girls aren't looking forward to meeting Laurie next weekend alongside Teo and Tom. Are you lads conspiring to meet without him, has he been stricken by a mystery illness,been kidnapped, got lost or has his reputation simply gone before him?
Looking forward to the next installment

7:55 pm  
Blogger Askews said...

so let me get this are having a boring time and want to come home as soon as possible?

7:57 pm  
Blogger Askews said...

I was also going to ask about Laurie. I expect because he is so handsome James is planning to keep him out of the reach of the lovely señoritas!
James, do you not have mosquito net and enough repellant? Do get some when you get to Quito if not.
Great news, very pleased that you are doing so much and hopefully learning lots. How is the Spanish these days?
Very impressed to hear that you won the dancing competition. Are there any pictures?
Do keep us posted.
All my love,

8:06 pm  
Blogger rafters said...

Hi james
Glad to hear you are managing on you own and having a social life..a bit of female co. obviously helps you to come out of your shell..congrats on the victory in the dancing co.
Mike and I are still in Spain learning your lingo " 2 beers please"being frequently used..
Kieran and Tommy..time for a blog please
Love to you all wherever you are

10:12 pm  
Blogger Kieran said...

"Except you... you be Bosley."

Awesome stuff Love-gangst. Glad to hear you're having a blast. We love you.


3:56 am  
Blogger OGallagher said...

Sounds amazing and I am so gald you're not missing the others.
These experiences are unbelievable and hopefully we'll hear more when you all get back

8:39 pm  

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