Went to the beach for a few days of R and R. First we went down to Atacames, via Esmeraldes. This trip was way easier then I expected. Took the bus to Nanegalito, and caught a bus from there to Quininde. Waited like ten seconds in Quinende, and then caught the bus to Esmeraldes, where we waited like zero seconds before catching a bus to Atacames. We grabbed a king coconut to drink and then headed to the Beach.
First we had lunch. We went to a restaurant that was filled with people and ordered the famous house plate, a giant mixed seafood bonanza. It was probably the best seafood I've ever had. A lobster, roasted and halved, probably around three pounds of marinated roasted shrimp, kalamari, roasted clams, two different kinds of crab, and all of it sitting on top of a large fried fish. To top it all off there is a side plate of rice, beans, a little salad, and patacones. We finished the seafood, not the rice. I was completely ludicrously stuffed afterwards. Then to the beach.
The beach is beautiful, lined with little artisan shops, ice cream vendors, and during the day cerviche stands out on the sand. That night, around six thirty, we were asking a guy which place in Atacames was the best to eat, and he told us about his cousin or something who made the best Encocado in the world, or something like that, and told us to follow him. We followed him pretty far into Atacames, over two bridges, and a hundred yards after the second bridge I was starting to think that maybe this wasn't the best neighborhood.
I hear a scream and turn around, and Nina is pointing at a guy who is running off with her purse which he's just cut off of her in one hand and a machete in the other. I'm wearing flip flops, but I take off after him, chasing him down a hill in between shanties and running him into a corner between two makeshift houses. He starts swinging the machete around and saying some stuff I can't understand. I spread out my hands and tell him, "Solo nessicito los papeles, el dinero es para tu", take the money give me my papers. I hear Nina shout my name and I turn around and theres a guy behind me picking up a big piece of bamboo, six inches around and six feet long. Too big to be an effective weapon, but I wasn't trying to get hit with it. I kind of backed to the side so I could see them both but so that the guy with the purse couldn't get past me.
He started to pull things out of the purse and then throw them onto the ground. He found Nina's coin purse which had thirty bucks and some change and took it and then threw the empty purse onto the ground. He threw out our passports which I picked up immidiatly and put into my pocket. He took my wallet and took out maybe a hundred fifty dollars, (he actually left 10 in I think by accident), and my debit card which can't be used without a PIN, and dropped it. Thank god now I don't have to go to the DMV when I get back. He emptied the purse, took what he wanted, and then dropped the purse. I collected the items and put them back in. He had dropped a pack of cigarettes and I offered them too him but he didn't want them. He and his buddy then ran off. I went back to the road, where a crowd had gathered and was watching, which is probably why I didn't get slashed. The guy who had brought us was like freaking out and rubbing his temples, I don't know if he was involved or not. We walked back to the safe part of town. All in all, we only lost the money, my debit card, and a bag of rolling tobacco. Notably, we kept the passports, my drivers license and social security card, my credit card, and the purse and most of its contents.
We got back to the main strip where its patrolled by police and pretty safe and went back to the hostel. I was pretty fired up. We were both really pissed for not trusting our gut instincts to stop over the second bridge. C'est la vie. We went to the beach afterwards and got some cocktails, Nina had a little extra money in her bag, and we needed the drinks. Cocktail called Atacames de Noche, and its just alot of fruit and rum served in a hollowed pineapple. Delicious, but kind of expensive (for ecuador, cheap for anywhere else).
Next day we caught the bus to Montepiche. This tiny beautiful little town is thirty minutes from a paved road, has maybe five or seven hostels or hotels and a handful of restaurants. There is one amazing fruit stand where a guy makes juices while shaking marimbas. This place has an amazing atmosphere. We are staying in a place called DMCA surf hostel, which is all bamboo and driftwood, with piles of old books left by travelers to read and a beautiful roof overlooking the ocean with a 365 degree view under a thatched roof. Really peaceful and nice here, but not as hot as Atacames. Had some delicious Encocado, seafood cooked in basically coconut milk stew. Really delicious. And some bomb fried fish. The beach is nice.