December 20, 2020
Natalia, Marina (who came from Washington DC), and I are back in Casa Blanca. We arrived Tuesday early afternoon after a 5.5h drive from Quito. The journey from Beirut was long but uneventful.
This is supposed to be the rainy season yet we haven’t experienced much rain and the hills surrounding us are yellowish, not green as they are supposed to be, particularly here in Esmeraldas, known as the “green province”.
Natalia and Marina have been spending several hours a day in front of their computers; one working for a living the other attending virtual classes. I have been the connection to the outside world provisioning and cooking. So far the most successful dish was the pasta with bongole I prepared the other night. Later today I will cook the traditional “arroz con camarón” (rice with shrimps). I already did the shopping and have all ingredients.
I’ve done some work but not much. Have’d time to catch-up on my readings. Just finished Inside Story by Martin Amos. It is a novel I recommend though it lacks the linear structure and well defined plot that some readers prefer. It’s part fiction, part auto-biography. Amos recounts his friendship with Christopher Hitchens and Saul Bellow and their struggle with cancer and dementia. In between the core chapters Amos introduces snippets offering advice on how to write. I quote:
“When I’m at my desk I spend most of my time avoiding little ugliness (rather than striving for great beauties). If you can lay down a verbal surface free of asperities (bits of lint and grit), you will be already giving your readers some modest subliminal pleasure; they will feel well disposed to the thing before them without quite knowing why.”
Since Alex Thomson was forced to abandon the Vendée Globe I stopped following closely. But there is this lady Pip Hare (https://www.piphare.com) who keeps posting videos with interesting stories about her voyage. It’s difficult to comprehend how Alex with all the capital, technology, shore team, state-of-the-art boat, and experience is now out of the race while Pip and other newbies with old boats are there sailing in the Southern Ocean.
I have to stop writing. We are about to go to the beach…
Inspired by the stories in Amis’s book, I purchased two Kindle books: Hitch-22 and Mortality. I started the latter while at the beach. I also went for a run along the shore. Running south I was facing a 15 Knots breeze that made my progress harder. On my way back to the gazebo, like when sailing downwind, the breeze disappeared and the temperature increased dramatically. At the end I was drenched and very hot, so I went for a swim. Because of the wind and current the water was cloudy, almost brown instead of the usual green, but still pleasant.
Back to the house Natalia fixed two Bloody Mary’s that we drank by the pool while reading. After I post this I will follow with some Cava and then it will be time to start cooking the rice…