A weekend at the beach
03.11.2007 26 °C
It was a 7-hour, two-bus ride to the coast, but we had a long weekend, so we left on Thursday after work, and stayed the night in a hell-hole called Pedernales, in a flea-pit called Hotel America. Hotel America, Main Street (only street) Pedernales, north coast of Ecuador. Don't go there.
On first sight, Cañoa, our destination, didn't look a whole lot more wholesome than Pedernales, but we walked down the main street to the beach, where the Hotel Bambu stands right on the sand. It's a lovely setting, but we were just a tad un-nerved on reading the sign at the entrance.
Still, we pressed on and checked in. There was a large group of us, 11 in total, and the rooms reminded us of our semi-outdoor arrangement back at La Hesperia, with beds, windows, doors and wardrobes made of bamboo; no surprise there.
The bar was a typical beach bar, with tables and chairs in the private, sandy hotel compound. We settled in quickly with some very quaffable lunchtime cocktails. Feeling almost guilty as we realised we had a whole two days of relaxation ahead of us, we just chilled and enjoyed the sea view and the beautiful day.
The highlight of the trip for me was seeing Frigate birds sailing along the coastline, and even inland a bit. They joined the vultures near dumps, and mingled with the egrets mincing along the shore, swooping and gliding in their distinctive way, like pterodactyls of long ago.
If seeing Frigate birds is this fantastic, I can't wait to see Blue-footed Boobies on Galapagos. We have to really seek out wildlife in modern Ireland, compared to the raw, everyday phenomenan I've experienced here, without going particularly out of my way.
Some of our group braved the waves, and were pleasantly surprised to find the Pacific warm, even in this off-season time. There are no seasons as we know them here in Ecuador, only wet and dry. Sometimes wet is cooler, but lately this has not been the case, with a very dry October at La Hesperia causing some concern. Usually October is the beginning of the wet season, and the gardens are very dehydrated as a result.
We explored the little town, but it's a small place, and was very quiet at this time.
There were some stalls and shops still selling tourist items like beaded jewellery and flip-flops, but it was a little dodgy for the women in our group to walk around alone after dark, so we mostly kept to our privileged sandy cage, where there was a security man on duty through the night. This is fairly normal in Ecuador, specially in Quito, where there are armed security men on most street corners and outside cafes and bars in the Mariscal, which is the 'gringo' part of the city.