Saturday, September 14, 2013

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez is delightful!  I am reunited with Lisa and Darragh, who came south from Canoa after hitting Tena, Quito, and a lot of places in between.  (They're much better travelers than me, as I seem to be just whiffling aimlessly around the country just looking for cafes with tasty sandwiches and reliable Wi-Fi.)  But Puerto Lopez during the off-season, as this seems to be, is so peaceful - rather dusty and derelict, with tons of open-air markets roofed with rusty corrugated tin and packs of stray dogs, just like I'd been expecting towns to be when I came to South America - and I would like to stay here longer but I'm getting restless.

We're staying at Hostal Maxima, a villa-type place that has gardens and hammocks and a mini-menagerie of parakeets, an iguana, a cat, and a gorgeous little kinkajou.  The kinkajou looks like a cross between a monkey and a tiny anteater, with big, black eyes and a prehensile tail and silky fur.  This one likes to get his tummy rubbed, and he kept grabbing my fingers through the bars of his cage with his claws and trying to gnaw on them.  And then he tried to steal my coffee.

So the other day, a group of us hailed down a pair of motor-rickshaws and went on a journey to a secret beach.  (Not exactly secret, as it was in a national park in Frailes, a little bit north of Puerto Lopez, but there was hardly anyone there because it was so out of the way.)  Our drivers, young local guys, got very competitive about racing us to the beach, resulting in a very tense, Ben Hur-esque rickshaw race to the destination.  (Our guy won!)

But the beach, once we arrived, was the most perfect beach I've ever seen.  Soft, sloping sand and cliffs and tide pools and blue water as far as the eye could see - nicer even than Playa Blanca, because there was no Gringo-targeted kitsch to get in the way of our swimming, sunbathing, wandering a long way away, and throwing rocks at the water.

A few nights later we discovered, to my immense joy, a Russian restaurant, run by a Russian emigre family, serving proper Russian food - pelmeni and borscht and potatoes with sour cream and the like, cooked up as you order by the mother.  It was such a relief after nothing but white rice and pan-fried chicken, and we are going to go there for dinner tonight before moving onwards.

No comments:

Post a Comment