It´s my last full day in SJDS. Spent the morning wandering every street in town, taking photos and generally taking it all in. There´s a cruise ship in town today, so the grungy backpackers have been joined by anxious tourists in Tilley hats taking photos on the malecon (waterfront). Not one of them will leave the safety of the first or second street away from the waterfront, and every hawker knows this so they hang around and offer up souvenirs that can be had for half the price a block away.
The absolute BEST hawker I met today was a crazy looking woman, American I think, who´s clearly been living here a long, long time. Dressed in a bathing suit, pareo, sparkly hat, lots of bangles, rings and other assorted jewelry, and way too much green eye shadow, she and her monkey Cindy offer up photos with Cindy to passing tourists for a donation. I couldn’t resist. I handed over 7 cordobas for the opportunity to pet and pose with her monkey (only after ascertaining Cindy was relatively domesticated.) Turns out her fur feels a lot like my cat. Cindy didn’t even try to steal my camera. She just sat quietly in her basket, waiting to be fed another Cheeto.
I stopped for coffee at Gato Negro, a much talked about cafe-bookshop here in town. Flipping through the menu, I came to the part that expains why they don´t do take out coffee. In a nutshell, too many Americans drink and eat in their cars. It´s unhealthy and dangerous — dangerous because when you are drinking coffee you are a distracted driver and at any time an ox cart could appear out of nowhere, or an insane cyclist (their words, clearly not mine!) could get too close. I must keep this in mind the next time I´m driving to work with my travel mug in hand. Watch out for ox carts!
Oh yes, dinner last night. Two beautiful lobster tails, al ajillo (with garlic sauce), rice, tostones and a vaso de vino blanco. C$414 or about $27 (including tip and the discount I scored with my coupon!). It was a meal to remember. I sat in the open air thatched roof restaurant, situated right on the beach, watched the waves lap against the beach (and shooed away little boys trying to sell me gum and lollipops), and also for a brief moment, smiled at the people scattering to get out of the torrential downpour that lasted all of 30 secords. Algo mas? says the waiter to me (Anything more?). Nope, it´s pretty perfect.
I´m hoping this perfect state of mind, this zen, continues into the afternoon as I finally hit the beach in search of the perfect wave. The beach in town isn’t great for swimming or surfing (too bad really), so we´ll be heading out to Playa Marsella just out of town. With the idea of visualization turning into reality, I see me standing up on the board, wind in my hair, riding the surf all the way to the beach….hmmm……