Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Week to Remember!

Week Ending September 1, 2013:

Wow!!  This week brought many wonderful experiences into our lives from magnificent culture to heart pounding, breathtaking soars through the air to finally getting to meet face to face a "digital" friend who I feel like I've know forever!  A truly fabulous week on all fronts!

The weather on Monday didn't want to cooperate with doing any real outdoor activities with its overcast skies and misty rain, so Mike and I decided it was a great day to go visit the Bahia Museum.  We'd enjoyed walking by its pretty grounds many times but didn't quite know what to expect. 

Upon entering, we were immediately greeted and asked to give our names.  Quickly, a tour guide, Carlos, came forward and began speaking to us in Spanish.  That's what we had expected and tried to keep up with what he was saying when all of a sudden he asked in beautiful English, if that was better for us! Although we are trying and wanting to speak as much Spanish as we can, it was a pleasant surprise to get a private 1.5 hour tour in English!  We were truly able to grasp the history beginning with artifacts dating back to 8,000 bc and the awesomeness of this incredible museum!  Bahia, you are truly lucky to have such a spectacular piece of history in your beautiful town!! And, it's FREE!!

On Tuesday, we had a very laid back day and our usual walk on the beach. So relaxing and stress free!

On Wednesday afternoon we took a taxi over to San Vicente and caught the bus up to Canoa Beach Hotel with much anticipation for Mike's maiden tandem paragliding flight with Alicia Harmon, the pilot.  While waiting for the wind to pick up, Mike enjoyed a good chocolate stout microbrew on tap!! For those that know, Mike is a microbrew snob and has to endure not so good beer pretty much throughout our journey.  This was good, really good beer!

So when, after waiting almost 2 hours, the wind didn't pick up and a rescheduling of the flight to Friday was made, Mike considered it a really good day!  For without Alicia recommending we meet and wait at this beautiful hotel, Mike would probably missed this "beer moment".  A good day despite the failed attempt!!

The weather still was funky on Thursday, so we just read the day away until it was time to do the weekly Thursday Booz Run.  Trivia Night at Coco Bongo had also been moved from Friday nights to Thursday night, so we had a very salty roasted chicken dinner from the Chicken Shack and played Trivia with many of our expat friends the whole evening.  Our team came in 2nd and a fun time was had!

The wind kept me awake almost all night long, so when Friday morning dawned, we were very hopeful that today would be "it" for the flight.  The sun came out around 10am and the clouds moved away making it a glorious beautiful day!  Before we went on our hour long trek up to Canoa, we made sure we got in a long walk on the beach.

Again, at 2pm, off we headed toward Canoa.  Alicia and Edgar, her assistant, showed up with high hopes too.  Although the winds had actually mellowed out, we decided to go up top the hill to see how it was blowing.  The ride up a steep winding dirt road that reminded us of home back in WA, brought us to this cliff side with stunning views of the ocean, beach, and homes below! And, the wind was blowing!! 

Alicia declared it was "time" and she began suiting Mike up while Edgar unrolled the shute.  Alicia got herself in place and harnassed up and then attached herself to Mike, in front of herself.  As Edgar pulled on the ropes to get the shute out, up, and open, Mike and Alicia ran backwards to get the shute to go further up and then they ran, ran, ran to the edge of the cliff.  Then up, up, and away they went!!  What an incredible thing to watch! 

So quiet and serene as they made their way up and moved in both directions over the cliff .  Edgar and I watched and I took video and photos for about 5-10 minutes from above before we headed back down to the beach where they would eventually land after about a half hour.  It was truly spectacular to watch and I was so giddy and happy for him!!

Besides pictures, I'm including videos of Mike's take off and one of his landing.
Mike's Take Off:
Mike's Landing:

Mike's flight was a great success!  Happy Birthday, my love!!
And, to my great surprise, after they landed so beautifully, they said "you're next! - let's go!"  I was like, REALLY???!!!  You bet!  And off we went, my turn!


Another beautiful, successful take off and landing!! What a high we were on!!
A celebration drink at the bar was definitely in order!  From there Mike and I walked down the beach about 10 minutes into the surf town of Canoa and had a scrumptious dinner at Le Gourmet, a terrific French restaurant with beautiful views of the beach and ocean!!
Waking on Saturday with still a terrific high from our now being members of "the club", we set about to enjoy another beautiful sunny, warm day in Bahia.  We walked on the beach, always looking for more sea shells to adorn our table. But the highlight was meeting up with Suzan Haskins, editor and writer with International Living.  Suzan and I have been conversing privately and getting to know each other for quite a long time now and she has been reading my blog from its early days of our journey.  I was very happy to finally be meeting her face to face!!
Suzan has been traveling the coast of Ecuador and doing research for articles.  She brought along a good friend of hers, Terresa Moore, who is an absolute delight even if she has a painful gimp wrist.  Get better soon, Terresa!! 
We all met up at Coco Bongo's for drinks, as they had been out with Sean Carter, owner of EccuaAssist and Coco Bongo, looking at real estate as part of her research.  After some wonderful conversation, we all decided to eat La Herradura, where Mike and I had eaten before.  We all had a fabulous meal and enjoyed the ambience immensely!

I'm now really looking forward to meeting up again with Suzan and to meet Dan Prescher, her husband and IL partner, when we visit Cotacachi in late September, where they live!! Fabulous to have the face to face!!
Today is Mike's official 65th Birthday and I have another surprise in store for him.  We will be going with friends, Miriam Weaver and Dave Causey, to another town, San Clemente, for a lobster dinner.  I truly hope he likes this surprise.
Will sign off now as we're waiting for Suzan and Terresa to come visit us at our "home". The journey just keeps getting better and better....

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