A one mile bay separates Bahia Ecuador from a little town called San Vicente. Anyday of the week you can sit on the Bahia malecon wall and watch the two ferries go back and forth all day long.
The ferries are full of old cars and trucks and people as they speed across the bay. The one mile trip takes about twenty minutes and it’s peaceful to watch the people on the ferry as they lean against the old rusty rail, of the ferry, and stare at me as I stare back at them. I can never tell if the view is better for them or for me.
As I watch the old ferries travel their route I can see the new bridge, in the background, which will one day soon replace these old ferries. You see, these ferries have been the only way to cross this bay since the beginning of time and on October 29th they will be retired and a new life will begin for many people.
The guys who operate these ferries will be unemployed and so will all the little stands lining the walkways which are waiting for the ferries to unload their crowded decks. But the two towns which will finally be connected, after all of this time, seem to be happy about the possibilities for the future. It seems as though one small town thinks the other small town will be good for each other’s economy. It’ll be interesting to see who actually wins that battle.
I don’t have any idea who the winner may be but I suspect that everyone will win. As we travel this one mile concrete structure to get to the other side and they cross to get to our side, we will wave to one another as we pass. If you look carefully, I’m sure that you may see a little smile appear from each of us as we silently realize a freedom that we have never known.
While this massive bridge is an incredible feat, in this country, many would never have thought that simply driving across a one mile bridge could bring such emotion as it certainly will.
As I sit here, on this malecon wall, watching the two ferry boat captains pass one another in the middle of the bay, I wonder if they too are smiling as they think that this lifelong tradition will soon end.
Never the less these two old ferries, that will soon be retired, contain tons of steel. So these captains and the owners of the little stands lining the walkways will soon be melting the steel from these two ferries and building more cars. Those new cars can then travel across the new bridge from Bahia and the drivers will wave at their amigos from San Vicente as they cross their new bridge to Bahia.
Find more at http://lifeinbahiaecuador.com/2010/bahia-articles/