Bright and early the roosters had me up and ready for the day. I let Melanie sleep another hour as she probably needed it in anticipation of her big day at the dentist. A few emails responded to and a few news articles kept me occupied until she stirred.
Breakfast was the last of the mushy oatmeal. It is a quick and hearty breakfast, just not memorable in the way peeled grapes might be fed to you while seated on a throne in front of an adoring public. Memorable in the way that you know it is good for you, but almost anything else might be a tastier option. We washed the thickening paste down with some coffee and headed out the door. We couldn’t wait all day for the dentist appointment.
We made our way up the street in search of a colectivo headed for Playa Bluff. Recommended by the retired Vancouver construction guy, we decided to check it out. The couple in the info booth in town were suggesting we go to better beaches than Bluff…why would we go there. We found out that buses go each hour and we just had to flag the minibus down. Instead of heading for the park, we headed north to intercept one of those buses, or maybe a taxi if the price was right.
When at the road, taxi trucks started swarming. They could see that we were heading somewhere…so a fare might be had. The first guy suggested $15. Nope, i walked away and we parked ourselves on the side of the road for the bus to come by. We had no idea when or if a minibus would actually show up…but we might as well play out this charade a little. The cabbie drove over alongside us and suggested $12. I suggested $10. He was quick to reach for a rate sheet and show us that the standard is $12.10 to Playa Bluff. I backed up to the sidewalk to wait for the bus. It took 10 seconds and the driver agreed to the $10 fare for the ride. We hopped in.
Now this was only a 7km drive, and the roads look pretty good…so this should still be a profitable ride for the driver. It wasn’t long before paved road turned to rocky crush, then beach sand and some fording of large puddles. We now understood the reason for taxi trucks in this part. 20 minutes later the driver dropped us as the south end of Playa Bluff, took our $10 and departed. He did leave us with his number for when we were ready to return…but we weren’t in any rush.
We were on the beach. It had been a few days since our toes were in the wet sand, so definitely a welcome change to the pavement in town. Signs at the start of the beach indicated that killer riptides were present and swimming was not recommended. We made our way to the waters edge and on this south end the beach was pretty damn nice. Water not so violent. Perfect for a few pictures, which is exactly what we were there for.
We made our way to the halfway point of the beach, a good 1 or 2km northward. Pictures, sunshine, crystal clear water…perfect. We found a little tiki bar to stop for a couple beverages and some lunch. Apparently all businesses need to be on the jungle side of the road in this part of the island, but this little tiki bar operates a little under the radar…or so we were told by the guy from Vancouver. We finished up our lunch pizza then moved to a couple lounge chairs on the beach.
Our waiter / bartender figured the next minibus was either 1:30 or 2…so it was time for me to go for a swim. Yes there were signs outlining the riptide, but the section of beach we were in didn’t look too rough. Watching a few people wade in and float around without getting sucked out into the sea also offered a little more support for safe swimming. Trunks were off and I was in bobbing amongst the waves. Bigger waves would likely be a problem. Swimming out deeper might also be a problem, but a few feet off shore was just fine.
I dried out a little after the swim and shortly after that the minibus honked its horn to warn any dining day trippers to wrap up their bills if they were looking for a cheap ride back. We gathered our goods and hopped on the vehicle…drove 30 feet, then the driver and his copilot got out for a break. Apparently the ride was not schedule to leave for another 15 minutes. We sat in the van alone, staring out at the sea with AC chilling our bones. Now that I write about it, why did we wait so patiently in the van when we could have been enjoying more of the sea air and beach?
20 minutes passed and the driver returned with his assistant. We departed late and made our way down the rough roads, sand and big puddles. A person would jump in here and there. We came upon a gal in a bikini pushing a bike interested in flagging the bus down. Was she just tired and not interested in riding back? The driver and assistant hopped out and tossed her bike on top while she climbed inside. A Mexican gal down here for a few months doing day trip tours. A couple she was out with had a flat. She offered up her bike and started pushing the one with the flat back towards town. For the last 20 minutes, Melanie and her got chatting and we recommended she make her way up to Vancouver. We do have a pretty little corner of the world, we might as well offer our own bit of touristic promotion.
We made it back to town and headed back to the room for a pit stop. Melanie had a little freshening up to do before her appointment and I had a couple calls to return. Just as we arrive, an older gentlemen came around the corner to our doorway to say hello. This was James. The builder and developer of this 19 unit complex. He wanted to introduce himself over the last couple days, but was out of town on a trip to David then a day down working on a cabin he has. We got to chatting about many things. There is a big sign out in front of this place saying that 10 condos are for sale, buy 9 and get one free. He tells me that he would now take 600k for the 9 units just to free himself of the building. At 78, he hopes he has another ten good years in him and he could use the money to complete a new project of cabins in a new up and coming port town. I got the feeling he was a bit of a salesman and wanted to take the opportunity to try and sell a unit or 9 to guests if he could. An interesting old guy and we probably could have chatted for hours, but it was time for Melanie’s appointment.
Off to the dentist. Tooth in hand, we walked in the door and sat down. 3:20 was the scheduled time…but it took half an episode of NCIS LA, all overdubbed in Spanish, before they were ready for her. No reception desk, just a waiting area, a TV, and a couple rooms hidden behind closed doors. There wasn’t any visible signs of credit cards being accepted at this location so after Melanie was invited into one of the rooms, I headed back to the room for a bit more cash…actually all of our cash…just in case. After returning, it only took another half hour of watching Hoarders, also overdubbed, before she emerged. Smile on her face, asking me to pay the man. Dirty cash was exchanged and we were out. Time to celebrate!
We headed down the road to La Buga for some nachos, a tuna burger and a couple happy hour drinks. A pricier day when you include the ride to and from the beach as well as the beach meal…and tooth…but we did alright. Sounds like another run to the bank might be required tomorrow.
On return to our room we came across one of the ladies that works here, Jamie, seated out front connected to wifi from outside the gate. Apparently it was her day off, but she didn’t have much to do this evening…so hanging in the street with her tablet was tonight’s entertainment. We chatted for a bit about work, treating employees fairly, and expensive dental work in Canada. I had to run over to the grocery store for some water. Melanie went inside and Jamie and I wandered over to the Chinese run grocery for a nice big jug of water. She picked out some cookies as a treat and I picked up the tab. A small gesture, but she was very appreciative. We will see her in the morning.
So now, in for the night. It is still early, but with the pile of activity today I am thinking we will be shutting things down a little earlier tonight.