Leaving one place and moving to another is more difficult when you have enjoyed your stay. Then you have one place tugging at one arm and another place tugging at the other.
The Caribbean is worn, tattered, frayed, chipped, pieced together, bright colors, strange language, intense sun, stifling humidity, rain, mosquitoes, stewed chicken, rum punch, hesitation to do today what should have been done yesterday. The weather, people, traditions conspire to wring compulsions out of you like twisting a wet towel and snapping it in the air. Nature is everywhere; a lizard climbing up the front porch wall, a trail of ants along a fallen vine, fish in a bucket on a pier, a bird standing motionless in the sea until it sees its opportunity and comes up with a jitterbugging silver fish. The music is Latin, African, American rock and roll, Cuban and reggae. Rasta men stay to strict diets and a young crowd wears bling and attitudes more big city than island, more pretend than real.
The Caribbean is a worn pair of house shoes that you favor because they give you support but don’t constrict you. In the Caribbean, you find boundaries erased and a tolerance for eccentricity. You feel your mind slip and inhibitions drift away from their pier.
The vista changes as we fly. It starts with blue green turquoise water, small green clusters of mangrove islands, sand bars, and just above the water line, land. Then, sea and land is obscured by clouds. Breezing across the Caribbean we cut over Panama and Columbia down to Ecuador, over the Andes Mountains. Ecuador sprawls, the color of a leprecaun’s green patched jacket.
Over Cuenca, tonight, you see man-made lights that look like burning matches in a dark room. In San Pedro Town, you see what there is too see in a month. In a city the size of Cuenca, you can only see your small part of the reef, the little hump of coral around which you live, sleep, do your shopping, cultivate friends and neighbors.
We are going to be good friends, this city and I.
Not finding things to do here would take a monumental effort.