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Atacames is a small village just south of Esmeraldes on the beautiful coast of Ecuador. We were so fortunate to be able to stay in the Marbella Hotel, owned by uncle Fernando. Marbella hosted us just a half-block from the beach off the main beach avenue shown in the intro of this episode.
All along the beach side of the avenue, there were bars built from local woods, bamboo, and palm grass roofs. Lacy and I had a particular fondness for one of these which had swings hanging at the bar instead of stools! We had to go for a drink, which ended up being Lacy's very first Pina Colada (on a side note, she grew increasingly addicted to the Cocoanut flavor, ordering coco juice after coco ice creams, etc.). I, on the other hand, had my first Orgasmo, complete with dripping banana.
Although the nightlife of Atacames is what makes the pueblo most famous, we stayed most nights in our apartment at Marbella drinking the local and amazingly inexpensive Pilsener. Each liter cost us a mere $1... I don't know an option otherwise. In total, we drank over thirty of these in a week's time, which is shown in this episode as well.
You will find a special section at the end of this post about the drinking game we devised to keep ourselves entertained.
The reason we stayed off the avenue at night was due to an increase of violent crime, especially against gringos (eg. white folk). We stayed well out of trouble despite an encounter with - what would seem like - one of Atacames' most dangerous people... We made a habit of eating our bbq conch and camarones a la plancha at a Colombian restaurant at the end of our block. One night, a younger guy doubled back and sat behind me striking up conversation in which I mentioned our place of residence. Our waitress, whom we had become familiar with, came quickly with a look of grave danger in her eyes. I noticed this as clear as this guy's attraction to my pocket as I paid for dinner. As we went back to our hotel, Lacy mentioned that our waitress made it verbal as well that we should stay as far away from him as possible.
That night, we became increasingly afraid (as we had no idea how scared we should be) when we heard specific taps on our bedroom window, accompanied by two gun shots very close by. After flipping out the lights, we decided to move to the other bedroom on the inside walls of the hotel, barring the door with the other single bed. Our night of near-death turned out just fine. Bars on the windows and a guard at the front gate kept us from any harm... Silly, we thought afterward.
So we spent the rest of our week there riding the motorcycle-rickshaws around the town, taking in its wonderful culture, and attempting to change our AMEX traveler's checks. On a side note... we would recommend NOT changing your money into traveler's checks unless you are traveling inside the US or Europe. In our experience, even the banks in Quito need to process these transactions over a period of no less than twenty minutes. In Atacames, we found that the banks could not help us in changing these, and that there was only one lady at one particular pharmacy that could. Of course on more than five trips to the pharmacy, this woman was not there. One day in particular we had only $1.70 left in cash, which we traded for five pieces of sweet bread, and tried to burn as few calories that day as possible.
POSTED: November 17, 2008