Angela and I had extensively narrowed down the list of hotels and hostels and bungalows in the beach town of Mancora
and in the end she and I had decided on a place called Kimbo, that had small bungalows for rent. It looked very nice in the pictures and the price was right at $12.50 a person. There was a pool and hot water in the shower and breakfast was included. As it turned out, it was an excellent deal, as we learned after a few days here asking around about rooms and prices. Either the rooms and places were cheaper but not nice at all, or they were the same price and not as nice, or much more expensive. Angela was thinking about moving somewhere else cheaper but after a few inquiries she realized too that we had a great situation.
Angela, who I had met in Lima
and spent some time with, was coming up with a friend of hers from Lima and we were going to meet here. I arrived first at 5ish in the morning and the mototaxi driver left me at the Bungalows. No one was stirring except for the handyman and he told me that I had to wait, that the owners were sleeping. But I told him that I had reservations and that they were expecting us early in the morning. All I needed was the room key and they could go back to sleep. Again he went to talk to the owners and again he came back with the same response. So there was nothing to do but wait until about 8 am until I got a key and was able to lay down to sleep a bit until the girls arrived.
They came in shortly after, tired as well from their 16 hour bus, but didn’t want to stay and sleep. Instead, we went right to the beach. The sun came out and the beach was alive with activity. There were horseback riders and kite surfers, regular surfers, vendors hawking jewelry and such and thankfully a lady selling cold beers. One of the vendors ensconsed himself in front of us and began chatting about Mancora and the beach. He casually brought out some necklaces and bracelets for sale and we liked his approach. He was easy to talk to and informative as we asked many questions of him. I got a bracelet of blue and green stones made for me and Angela and Beatriz bought something too. Then we settled back and drank some cold beer and talked.
For lunch we shared some seafood, including a mix of fried calamari and shrimp and some nice shrimp in a garlic, chili sauce over rice. Then we went back to the beach but by then it was getting windy and the sun was going down, so we packed it in and headed back to the bungalow to shower and change and get some dinner. Even though we were all tired from the long overnight bus trip we summoned enough energy to find a decent place to eat, in this case Chan Chan restaurant run by a guy named Ugo, supposedly from Milan, Italy. But after talking with him and him not responding once to my Italian, I began to grow suspicious. The pizza we ordered confirmed all my suspicions as it was bad enough that he would have his Italian passport revoked for attempting something like that.
It was really terrible. The salad was much better and the sangria went down easy as well. He said he was a riverboat commercial captain in the US for 12 years and that he had a restaurant in North Carolina. After that episode, we decided to try to find some dancing.
The Bar Rojo seemed like the place. It was competing from a joint across the street and from the Chillout Club a few doors down. From a certain vantage point in the street the sounds clashed terribly! What to say about Rojo? The list of things right about the place is much shorter than the problems. I should have known something was amiss when we had to wait and wait and wait for the margharitas I ordered as the owner sent out several girls to get the proper glassware.
There was a jumble behind the bar and if my bar at home looked like that I’d have been fired. Complete disorganization. Finally I canceled my margarita order and just asked for the Maracuya sour. The owner finally went out herself to look for the glass even though I was trying to assure her that it didn’t matter. Rounding out the crowd of employees was the “DJ” who had a grimy keyboard at the bar and who was churning out reggaeton, the rattle of the broken speakers well-pronounced. The bathrooms were atrocious. In the mens there was no toilet cover and brilliant patrons thought it would be a good idea to throw trash in the tank. Imagine that scene. It smelled too. I didn’t imagine the women’s bathroom was any better.
Finally I asked one of the guys standing nearby if there was going to be a music mix of some other songs and he said that there would be soon. One of our waitresses was totally indecent, with barely a couple patches to cover her chest and super tight short shorts. The whole menagerie of crazy employees were acting funny and occasionally small arguments would break out behind the bar or outside. Truck drivers coming along the Pan Americana hit Mancora and probably didn’t know what to make of it. All the sudden they emerge from the quiet, dark desert into an oasis where there is food and dogs and people milling around and mototaxis making sudden U-turns. One of the trucks to pass was filled with chickens and I laughed at the juxtapostion.
It was like something out of a movie. Inside the music changed for the better and there were some salsas and cumbias and merengues to dance to. Beatriz turned out to be a good dancer and we finally go to the dance floor to wake the place up. They played some good tunes and we had a few nice dances. I tried to hang on as long as I could. I danced with Angela as well and enjoyed people watching. But nothing could help my “bus”-lag and I suggested finally that we go home. Beatriz was feeling the effects of the sangria and a couple drinks at the Rojo bar, but we had a funny time on the way back because of it.