Adventure 1: Whale
Watching and the Fetid Beaches
tourist dock is set
shallow inlet and we took a
circuitous and unintuitive route over the deep channel and into the bay
proper. From there we ran toward the
mouth of the bay between Isla Magdalena and Isla Santa Margarita. The sky was blue and
but a brown haze lingered at the horizon—we found out later that it was
generated by the diesel power plant. This
day yielded mediocre whale activity
and I admit that I wondered if I was irrevocably jaded.
Blows surrounded us and a huge gang of
Back at the dock, Carlos escorted us to his recommended restaurant (where the chicken incident occurred) and then we returned to the hotel to rest. Determined to maintain our exercise regimen, my mother and I eventually pulled our tired bodies together for a run. We drove along the beach (careful to memorize our way back) until we found a good discrete pullout. The beach we encountered was…well….it was functional... The glowing sun low on the horizon and the perfection of the breeze battled for dominance over the fetid piles of squelchy debris littering the ground. I took off for a run, attempting to stay on the hard packed sand and avoid the black mud and seaweed and suspicious decaying matter. Around the first point of land I passed beneath the high concrete wall of a fish processing facility which I mistook for a sewage treatment plant based on the smell. I startled a mob of gulls lurking around a suspicious trickle of water that I was forced to leap, holding my breath as long as I could. Just when I’d escaped that smell something even more foul greeted me—piles of scallop shells dumped on the beach, rotting. This time I nearly gagged, surrounded by hot decay, but managed to pass through the rot and run until I hit the 10 minute mark and allowed myself to turn around. The bracing wind in my face clarified why the rotting scallop smell had followed me down the beach and I fought against it all the way back. By then the sun had nearly set and my mother and I cooled off and watched great blue and little green herons feeding in a shallow bay nearby.
Walking downtown for dinner later we stumbled across the Hotel Alcatraz—the other hotel in town—and walked into a pleasant tiled courtyard restaurant with large vine-laden trees. This menu had a more typical variety of foods and we both ordered Pacificos, beans, rice, tortillas, and guacamole. Heaven. Before retiring we stopped by the super mini “Daisy” (all the super minis have names) to pick up lunch and snacks for the next day. We gazed at a mostly unidentifiable selection of cheeses behind the counter until the shopkeeper came over to help us. I admit we were leaning toward some pre-sliced American looking cheese to be safe, but when I asked for queso he came back with an entirely unidentifiable slough of words—I don’t know whether he was asking what type of cheese, how much we wanted, or what! I shrugged helplessly so he cut us a wedge of cheese from a round hidden out of sight and raised his eyebrows, and I nodded. It’s an adventure, right? I asked for tortillas and he showed us bundles of fresh tortillas in a cooler and we picked up a half size can of refried beans with a pop-top. This would supplement the luscious oranges we’d picked up at a fruit market earlier in the day.