Planet Hiker
2004-10-01 Old hippie in Montenita, Ecuador


I always though that Ecuador, being close to the equator and all, would have really warm waters to swim (or in my case surf) in. But no, the ocean is distinctly cooler. In fact, some people even wear wetsuits when surfing. On top of that, I was surprised to find that the weather on the coast is continuously cloudy. AND, I happen to hit a no-swell period, which meant that there were no waves to surf... Well OK, it was time to put the surfing career on hold and turn to other activities.

To my relief, there was a climbing wall in Montenita (the village that I was staying at). It turned out that the guys who ran it were about at the same level as I am, so before I know it, we were challenging each other for harder and harder climbs. Since the wall wasn't all that big (and also because there was only one pair of climbing shoes), we played a game where a person would climb without using a particular handle. If successful, he would challenge the rest of the group to repeat the climb. So with each successful climb, there were fewer and fewer handles left to use, making things a lot more difficult (and fun!).

Besides the climbing wall, Montenita boasted it's hippie culture, complete with techno raves, nightly beach fires and drum sessions. It even had some sort of a meditation/massage sanctuary that was run by a highly decorated artesano (who's name I can't remember). He had long hare, round glasses, tons of rings and bracelets, and he always walked around town wearing sweatpants that were clearly made in the 70's. One evening I ran into him in a deserted Italian restaurant. I though, "WOW, may be this is one of those times when the Universe arranges for certain things to happen and may be I meant to run into him tonight". I asked him whether the pizza is any good here, as in most places in Central America had awful pizza, and he sweared that it's fantastic and invited me to his table, eager to hold a conversation.

As I was sitting down, the waiter informed me that they do not have pizza. Which was a bit of a relief, since now I could order spaghetti and not take chances with the pizza. But it turned out that they are out of spaghetti as well... In fact, the only thing available was chicken soup. I didn't really feel like having chicken soup but I did agreed to it never the less, thinking that it would be rude to leave now, plus I wanted to find out some more about the hippie guy.

After a brief introduction, the hippie guy told me that he is originally from Germany, that for 3 years he studied various forms of meditation in the Shaylyn Temple in Nepal and that he has a little massage shop in town. The Nepal excursion was exiting news to me as I just finished reading Carlos Castaneda's "Tales Of Power" and there were a lot of questions that I wanted to ask him about dreams. So I asked and he immediately claimed that we actually live in a false world and that the real reality is actually in our dreams. This was true, by his words, since one could fly while dreaming, but it's not possible to do that when not asleep. I didn't quite understand why is the world of dreams more real than the ordinary everyday reality, so I probed some more but each time I wasn't able to connect with his line of reasoning. So I shifted the conversation by asking him about various forms of mediation. He talked about differences between what Yogi and Chinese do, and mentioned that he has Reiki sessions in his shop. He also mentioned that he keeps a book where people write comments about the massages and that I am welcome to read it. I told him that I may be leaving tomorrow so I may not get a chance to swing by his shop. After that comment our conversation quickly deteriorated. At this point, I got the feeling that there isn't all that much I can learn from him. So I finished my soup and went to take a walk on the beach. But looking back now, the hippie guy may have though me something after all.