Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016
It has been cloudy and on the cool side since we arrived on the coast. Today I’m hopeful that the clouds off the ocean will dissipate and we all can enjoy some sun. Right now I can see a faint patch of blue showing through the cloud cover.
I really like it here at Casa Blanca Playa Cautivo. It is very tranquillo, and Dodie and Randy are such great hosts at their property. Heidi and I are in the same room we had with Keeper when we were here last. I was worried it would make me sad, but when I entered the room yesterday I just had a feeling of Keeper now running around and being happy. She wasn’t sick and struggling for life as she was when we were here before. This thought made me feel good.
We took a taxi for the 10 minute ride from Libertad into Salinas and had the driver drop us off at the beginning of the Malecon. The sun has broken out! The water is blue, the sand is warm and this place looks ready for beachgoers to have a great holiday week.
As we walked along the Malecon we were asked about every 20 feet if we wanted to Jet Ski. The vendors are out in force today selling everything from decorative key holders for your wall, to jewelry, to hammocks, to arts and crafts made from beach sand and sea shells. There is a large group of teens along the waterline waiting their turn to be pulled on the banana raft by the jet skis.
It is about noon and we are wanting to eat. One of the men on the beach handed us a menu and wanted us to eat under the cabana he had set up. There were four beach chairs but no table. We told him if he would get us a table we would order. He agreed and recommended we order the seafood platter for four which we did.
He brought the table and as we waited for our food another vendor came by selling beer. It was ice-cold and tasted great in the first warm weather we have felt since arriving to the coast. As we sat and watched the beach activity, an old woman came by and wanted to braid Heidi’s hair. Heidi decided to have one side braided to help keep her hair away from her face. It’s a nice beach look on her.
Our food arrived and it was loaded with clams, mussels, breaded shrimp, fried fish, a teriyaki type rice filled with calamari, shrimp, and clams, a bowl of ceviche loaded with octopus, fish, and shrimp, and a boiled blue crab. The crab looked good but these crabs have very little meat and this one in particular was virtually meatless after being cooked.
When the man brought our food he was trying to tell us something. None of us were understanding what he was saying for sure. What I thought he was telling us was that when we were finished eating we would have to leave the cabana or be charged $10 for using it. Along the beaches in Ecuador it is normal to be charged anywhere from $5 to $10 to use the beach chairs and umbrellas for the day.
When I was done eating I walked across the street from the beach to use the bathroom. In Ecuador, as well as most Latin America countries, you have to pay to use the restrooms. It’s usually a dime if you don’t need them to hand you a few sheets of toilet paper, and a quarter if they do. Sometimes that price varies. I asked the guy how much and he told me fifty cents. Now that is a ridiculous price to pay to pee. I told him I was only paying a dime and he took it. Easton was already using the bathroom and was told fifty cents as well, but he only had a quarter so the guy took his quarter. It’s all about micro-economies in Ecuador.
When I got back to the cabana the man wanted to be paid so I paid him the $35 for lunch. He then was telling me I needed to pay another $10 for using the cabana. Now I understand what the guy was saying to me when he brought our food. He told me I would owe $10 for eating under his cabana. Unfortunately he never mentioned any of this before he convinced us to order our food from him and eat on the beach. I told him I wasn’t paying.
I don’t like this type of conflict and, for me, it spoiled some of the experience I had. We were headed to eat at a restaurant with a balcony that overlooked the beach. When this guy stopped me on our way there, I thought I was helping him out by ordering our food from him. What I don’t have patience for is non-disclosure of what I am going to be charged for something, and then just expected to pay.
We all walked along the Malecon after lunch and enjoyed the sun and surf. We walked passed a group of older teens, young men and women probably still in high school. As I looked behind me I saw that the women were asking to have their pictures taken with Chase and Easton.
One after the other, each young woman stood between my two sons and got a pic of them with the ocean and beach in the background. What I thought completely hilarious is, what I assume to be, the teenage boyfriends of these young women just standing there looking at my sons with disdain.
When we arrived back at Casa Blanca Playa Cautivo we went and laid out on the beach one-half block from our door. The sounds of the surf hitting the shore and the hot sun in the sky reminded me of my first months in Ecuador. I‘ve missed this a lot.
For dinner we went to Monkey’s, and in going there we walked the beach. The sun was setting and as we walked, we got to face a beautiful pink sunset over Salinas in the far distance. When it came time to cut in toward town, we walked around fishing boats beached for the night and between little village houses. Along the street through these houses we passed at least 10 dogs, each standing in front of their house letting us know we didn’t belong there.
In a short while we were on the Malecon in Libertad. It was dark by now and the boardwalk was lit with pole lighting from above and the glow of yellow light coming out of each vendor’s food hut. Many people sat on the benches overlooking the rolling waves that crashed on the sand below. It was a very tranquillo walk for us.
Monkey’s serves burgers and ribs, homemade mashed potatoes, sandwiches, quesadillas and variety of other items. They also have artisan beer. The ribs and mashed potatoes were fantastic and that is the dish to order at Monkey’s. The hamburgers are also really good. We ordered nachos for an appetizer and a chicken quesadilla for one of the entrees. I wouldn’t order either again.
Randy and Dodie joined us and we had fun talking and enjoying the activity in Monkey’s. There are gringos and Ecuadorians all eating here. Dodie and Randy knew many people who already here and those who came in while we were eating. Libertad is a relatively big place, but in reality the world really is very small.