Sunday 26 June 2011
Every Sunday, Amarantha goes to mass in the new cathedral in San Blas. Paloma and I take her up on her offer of a lift and we head to the beach after a brief exploration of the town. Yesterday we had rain but today was clear blue skies and very hot, so we were determined to make the most of the sunshine.
After a twenty minute walk with no shade, we arrived at the start of a long line of ramadas – the typical beach restaurants that are nothing more than a palm roof canopy over plastic tables and chairs in the sand. Something to quench the thirst we had developed seemed to be in order so we headed to a table closest to the sea and were immediately enveloped in a black swarm of mosquitoes. Hopping and jumping around to escape their vicious bites, our waitress (who appeared to be totally unaffected) could not understand why we declined her offer of cool refrescos. The pair of us ran as fast as we could, shedding clothes en route, to immerse ourselves in the warm waters of the Pacific. Now we understood why there wasn’t another soul at any of the restaurants, although even the beach itself was very quiet.
There is something about a long, deserted swathe of sand that draws one to walk as far as you can – and that is exactly what Paloma and I did – never venturing too far from the sanctuary of the breaking waves. There was hardly a breeze and the oyster catchers amused us with their antics at the water edge, always staying a constant distance ahead of us. They weren’t the only ones fishing in the vanishing waters. A couple of young boys, still fully clad, were sitting sifting the sand to collect tiny shells which they would take home for supper. This was obviously a favourite thing to do because as we headed back, whole families had come down, with grannies, mothers and toddlers all sitting in the water as it ebbed and flowed, all fully clad and all sifting sand for these crustaceans as the men folk congregated by their pick-ups, looking on and discussing the things that men discuss, I suppose.
Eventually, our walk was brought to an end by the estuary of a wide river. Here we stopped to refresh ourselves in the ocean, accompanied by many pelicans enjoying a game of surfing the waves. They were a delight to watch and every so often, one would catch a fish and we’d be amazed at the transformation as its “beak” grew to accommodate the catch.
Our return walk was accompanied by increasing wind and by the time we reached the recommended restaurant, it was whipping the sea into quite a frenzy. Choosing a table to avoid being sand-blasted, we enjoyed our quesadillas and frijoles(beans) washed down with an ice cold beer (and orange juice!), calmly watched by an inquisitive iguana.