Whereas Saturday, I took care of business (two items on a list qualifies as business), Sunday was my day of taking care of me. I did nothing. Except buy sunblock.
After a hard night’s sleep, I awoke to three distinct sounds: barking dogs, roosters, and the Egg Man, driving by in his blue pickup, broadcasting through his loudspeaker mounted on the roof of the cab, “Huevos, huevos!” I assume the pickup was blue because it’s the only one I’ve seen driving through the barrio announcing the availability of fresh eggs.
It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, even though it was first thing in the morning. As best as I could tell, it was sometime close to daybreak. I saw light as I opened my eyes briefly. I’m sure after about a week of waking up like this, the “quaintness” of this morning alarm clock will wear thin. Task list item: buy ear plugs.
Not too much later, I got out of bed. The sheets were everywhere; the result of being too warm and too chilly. (“We need more blankets and we need less blankets!”) In the early morning, it’s comfortably cool and cozy with sheets tugged up around me.
Making my way downstairs to the kitchen, I could feel the ache from the previous days walking and riding everywhere. The muscles in my legs were tight. Alright, I’m downstairs. Now what?
Unable to locate the coffee maker the day prior, I checked the time. 7am. I imagined that Super La Amistad, the corner store/soda just up the road would be open. I grabbed 3000 colones (roughly $6), got on the bike and went to the market. I was right. They were open.
“Cafe con leche, por favor.” 500 colones.
The coffee came in a small personal mug. Floral pattern. Words written in Spanish. I wasn’t awake enough to try to deduce whether what was written was supposed to be inspirational, cute, or funny. Judging from the font, I would say inspirational. But who knows. It was irrelevant.
I finished the coffee, pedaled back home, and got ready for a day at the beach. Actually, I planned to go to both Playa Herradura and Playa Jacó. So it was really a day at the beaches.
Playa Herradura is definitely less touristy. I saw four people who were definitely gringos. The beach seemed like much more the place for locals. One dirt road with some shops and a restaurant on it by the beach. Not built up. Very, very pleasant. If I want to go swimming or just spend a day at the beach, this is where I’ll go. It’s the closest, it’s beautiful and mostly free of tourists, seemingly. Sunday, everyone was coming to the beach. Buses full of students. Families all over the place. Tents set up. Makeshift awnings. Hammocks. This was the day of rest.
After a little bit of time there, mostly just taking photographs, I made my way back up the mountain and over and down to Playa Jacó. Wide, wide beach. Tourists, but not as many as I imagined. The surf schools had their tents with canopies set up. Families. Youth laying out, playing in the water. As I laid there, a young man rode by bareback on what I thought was a horse but then thought was a donkey but then got totally confused by the visual. The man’s blue t-shirt tied around his head. Left arm waving in the air. It was unexpected, but probably not out of place.
I laid on the beach for a while. Got in the ocean for a few seconds. Stopped by Jacó Taco for a beverage. And then I pedaled my way back home.
On a notable side note, I feel more safe riding a bicycle on the roads here than I ever felt driving a scooter in South Beach. The road between Herradura and Jacó is one of the major roads in the country. There are people riding bicycles on it constantly. Even passing one another. And I never have any fear of being run over or even caught in the draft of a large vehicle. Bicycles and the people who ride them are an accepted and natural part of traffic. Cyclists adhere to the rules the way motorists adhere to the rules. Mutual respect on the road. There’s no horn blowing. No yelling from anyone. And there most definitely isn’t the sense of entitlement in the cyclists that runs rampant in South Beach and Miami. Even in the ones training on road bikes. It’s altogether pleasant.
Here are some photos. 🙂
And the place where I’m stopping on a daily basis thus far. That may change. It may not. I’m definitely not trying to insulate myself with gringos. But familiarity is always comforting. So it’s nice to know of a place.