Usually I wake up at 4:45.
It’s a rare hour bathed in darkness and filled with the sounds of invisible cocks crowing.
There’s a drunken sleepiness at that hour, and sometimes in the dark I put toothpaste on my toothbrush and put it in my mouth and realize there are ants all over it.
Then I spit and rush for water and rinse my mouth and try the whole exercise again.
I put some of yesterday’s leftover coffee on to reheat and drink a few glasses of water and do toe touches and squats to try to get some oxygen to my brain.
Then I drink coffee looking out the French window to the cross on the hill, and observe the day’s growth of the palm tree outside the window, which has sprouted a whole frond since we arrived, but it hasn’t rained recently so the next frond is growing much more slowly.
I finish my coffee and sit to meditate at 5:15. My meditation is usually in three stages.
The silence deepens as first I focus my attention on the passage of air through my nostrils.
This exercise of observing the subtle flow of air through the nostrils is excellent for sharpening concentration and also training in noticing subtleties in all areas of life, such as sounds, colors, flavors, my body, people’s moods.
Straight spine is very important.
Once my mind has settled a bit I expand my awareness to feel anything in my body generally. Usually at this hour it’s sleepiness, which I surrender to as I surrender to any other sensation of bliss, or breezes, or tingling, or aches.
Usually it’s bliss, and sleepiness.
To keep my concentration I’m especially aware of the beginning, middle, and end of every breath. If my mind is calm enough, the last part of meditation consists of letting go of any particular object of concentration, and resting in empty spaciousness, observing thoughts and sounds as they arise and dissolve.
At 6 I start work, scouring the day’s news for anything relevant for certain stressed municipal bond obligors in the northeast of the United States. At around 7 I grab my muesli out of the fridge and load it up with some bananas, strawberry jam, and a little peanut butter, and I eat spoonfuls of it as I continue the morning.
I often spend the rest of the morning looking at press releases, court documents, financial statements, and news articles, writing summaries for municipal bond investors. I can tell you more about that if you’re interested.
Oh, you aren’t. Moving on.
That work usually quiets down by around 11, and that’s when I start on any other freelance projects I have going on, such as ghostwriting (usually finance related) or articles. The first three weeks here, I had about 10 hours of work a day, but this week is much quieter and I’m enjoying the lull and taking it much easier.
By 12:30, I like to take an opportunity to start any new projects, because high solar noon is an auspicious time for new beginnings. Then by 1 pm, I take some lunch. Before we were purchasing lunch from Margarita’s mom, but the brown diet was not agreeing with me so I’ve taken to just eating yesterday’s supper leftovers.
By 2 the heat of the day is on full force and I take my siesta. I enjoy taking naps so much that back in the US, during a trip to Iowa, I founded an organization, North American Proponents of Siesta, or NAPS. (Facebook page coming soon.) As president and founder of NAPS, I believe in my sacred duty to uphold this healthy habit every day.
My siesta is usually 30 minutes and then I’m up and back at whatever work needs doing.
At 4:30 I leave the house and head to the beach for some yoga. The guys in the metal shop greet me and I walk the three blocks to the malecon, the street lining the water. The city is a peninsula, and there are a few lovely yoga spots: a platform on the rocky beach where a vendor sells ceviche in the morning, that’s closed by evening; moving north toward the tip of the peninsula, the beach by a rock jetty that’s shielded from the wind; the point of the peninsula, where the river meets the sea, creating a vortex; or on the sandy expanse of beach with a Tuesday class.
Sunset is about 6:15 – sometimes I take my journal and jot some thoughts right after sunset, with a mind cleared from the yoga. Aaron often meets me around this time, and we stroll along the sea in the darkness, chatting about our wedding, or logistics for the trip, or memories, or story ideas, or things needing doing for ongoing projects.
We head home, often running into some friends along the way for a quick chat. Then I make a simple supper of vegetables in peanut sauce, or stir fry, or soup, and Aaron washes up afterward while I shower the sand off.
I also set out my oats and water to soak for tomorrow’s breakfast.
I wish I could say I diligently study Spanish in the evening, but lately YouTube has taken over. I’ll do better tonight.
By 9 pm, I put up the mosquito net and settle in for sleep. I can’t share any more details about that part of the day!
That’s pretty much what every day is like here in Bahia, at least during weekdays. Weekends, there are usually events, and stories, and other goings on. Last weekend we visited a shrimp farm; the weekend before that, we surfed. This weekend we’ll head out of town to visit some places where people make chocolate and liquor.
Let me know in the comments what you’d like me to write about for the last post about Ecuador’s coast, or any questions you have about our travels. Thanks for coming by!