Friday, January 9, 2015

We think it should be called Sin (without) Progresso

We kid ourselves into thinking that as we are actively participating in the "sport" of sailing, that this means we are active.  Some days we are active.....walking from the salon to the galley (4 steps), turning the page of a book, (if we are REALLY active, 6 pages), washing dishes builds up arm strength, and cleaning the floors (all 12 square feet of them).  Some days we are even out sailing, and that entails looking at the sails, and sometimes bringing in the sheets a foot or two at a time.  On EXCESSIVELY, HUGELY and OVERLY active days, we may clean the bottom of the boat, or raise the dinghy out of the water.  It's a tough life, this.

Yesterday, we put our fitness levels to the test in going for a bike ride, which entails more than just a ride.  First, we have to remove the bicycles from the shower where they are normally stored while underway, then we need to get them onto the panga to go to shore, then we need to unfold them, install and pump up the tires, strap the backpack to the rack, make sure the cables, and brakes, and seat height are all perfect, and only then can we begin.

When we aren't using the bicycles, I hate them.  They take up a huge amount of room, either on deck or below, they are usually dirty, and greasy, and due to the sun attacking their storage bags, they now only have shreds of cloth protecting their bits, and the boats', from damage.  However, when we are using them, I love having them around.  While in La Paz, Mexico, we used them daily for several months, we kept them ashore for 7 months (and only used them once) while we were in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, and most recently we were able to keep them permanently at the restaurant that we were anchored in front of in Bahia de Caraquez.  We used them there weekly, riding over to the surf community of Canoa to drink beer on the beach, and eat pulled pork sandwiches.

We had patiently been waiting for the weather to clear - typically here at this time of the year, we have been told that there is usually drizzle and overcast skies til sometime around noonish, and then slowly it clears up so that by 2pm, there is lots of sunshine.  We had decided a few days ago that we needed to see the town/community of El Progresso, which has a rather brutal past and instead of going by taxi, we would do it with our bikes, so yesterday morning around 11am, we called Boni our faithful watertaxi guy, hauled the bikes into and out of the panga, and off we went.

It was all uphill - not just an incline like properly made roads in North America, but "let's go in a straight line to get to where we need to go, regardless of how steep it is", uphill. Fortunately, the sun hadn't broken out in earnest yet, and there was a perfectly placed cemetery in order to get off and wander around.  I let Ron wander elsewhere so that I could fill my heaving lungs in peace.  Why is it that cemeteries are so interesting?  I think much info can be gleaned from reading headstones, and the message here was that it seemed disproportionately filled with people that had died between the ages of 10-30.  It seemed odd.

Further on we came to a small community, reportedly inhabited by 500 people.  I don't know if they all work in Baquerizo, but I think we saw only 4 or 5 people, one of course was sweeping dirt, one in a wheelchair, one sitting in the park, and a few children in some semblance of a school.  The mirador was awesome with a regal 360 degree view of the sea, the faraway port and an extinct volcano.    

In the mid-1800's, an established penal colony was created here, and a megalomaniac called Manuel Cobos figured these convicts could also be conscripted as slave labourers.  Cobos had his hand in all the pies; agricultural, cattle raising, and fishing, and saw fit to also create his own money, to be spent in his own stores.  I think he read the same business model as many of the industrialists of the day.  Suffice it to say that after 30 years of this bullshit, the convicts had had enough, and we saw the resulting tomb, although the body was later exhumed and sent to Guayaquil to be given the once over.  More specifics can be read here:

An exhilarating downhill ride, which caused me to wonder and worry if I had tightened the hubs on my wheels sufficiently, and a descent great enough to cause ears to pop, and we were back in Baquerizo in time for cocktail hour.  

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