We love sitting on the beach late in the afternoon – partly shaded by an umbrella – just people watching… The beach, even on quiet days, is teeming with vendors. Their wares include jewelry, beach dresses, guys shorts, lotto tickets, wooden key holders, small wooden toys, woven baskets and place mats, jewelry stands, straw hats, hammocks (some fabulous like our rope hammocks and some made from materials that I think are just too hot for this climate).
There are the women that will braid your hair and sell you a string of beads and trinkets to braid into it. Are you interested in a temporary tattoo? Or, if you are really daring, there are folks that will do the real thing as well.
Then we have the food vendors. My favorites. They sell full meals that include fish, rice and salad delivered right to your beach chair on a paper plate with plastic utensils. You can find a variety of empanadas filled with chicken or beef or fresh queso (cheese) which they apply a good helping of mayonnaise from a squeeze bottle. We have the Colombian empanada guy who has corn or flour empanadas – Joe said it was filled with a potato and beef mixture and he has you bite the end off so he can drizzle his homemade vinegary salsa inside. Empanadas are $.50 each. The choclo (corn on the cob that have these huge kernels) cart filled with cooked corn that you choose your topping, a slice of fresh queso or a cheese sauce or both – this sells for $1. A gentlemen was selling stuffed potato cakes – we bought two and added hot sauce to spice it up a bit both for $1.
They also sell coconut water (the carts say Helado but don’t be fooled it’s not ice cream it’s Pipa the water from the inside of the coconut) – very refreshing and supposedly it has health benefits as well. One pretty large cold coconut is $1.25. If you are like me and want the soft luxurious pulp from inside he will expertly open the coconut and extract the flesh, it’s amazing just to watch. Joe takes hours to do what this man can do in 20 seconds. I have chopped this up in my food processor and added it to oatmeal cookie batter – I want to make my own coconut oil but have not made the time to do that yet. It would also be wonderful in my Asian recipes that call for coconut milk – so many uses so little time… Back to the vendors.
You must be getting really thirsty by now so we have what I call the Big Beer, Pilsener in a 22 oz bottle, regular size Club and an assortment of soft drinks including Kuna Cola which is a phosphorescent yellow/green color. The color reminds me of antifreeze but it is very tasty – a bit too sweet for me but actually a refreshing drink for those of us that are not into cerveza! Sodas are $.50 and the Big Beer is $1.50 both iced cold and very refreshing while on the beach.
Some vendors come by with menus from a few of the restaurants in Cevichelandia like D’Hugo’s, which is one of our favorites – you can order just about anything on the menu and it will be delivered to you in short order. A fried fish dinner including rice, patacones and a salad is $3.00, a fried shrimp dinner is $4.50. We have also seen later in the day folks asking if you want a cocktail. And you can get peanuts with that cocktail as well with your choice of limon (small green limes) squeezed over them or aji (hot sauce). When you’re ready for dessert there is fresh pineapple on a stick, ice cream from several suppliers including Penguino, candy apples and cotton candy along with the every present tray of treats including gum, tic tacs, and assorted candies. I have never seen before where you could buy just one cigarette or one stick of gum but you can do it in Salinas. And they light the cigarette for you!
There are the fellows that walk around carrying a huge inflated whale or dolphin that will have you pose for a picture and return later in the day with the finished photo (the guy takes your picture not the whale).
On the weekends there are many folks that sell inflated tubes, balls and other floats. Do you want to ride the banana or water ski, water board, jet ski? You can also rent a paddle boat or kayak. Or is your fantasy to para-sail?
Maybe you would rather take a tour looking for whales, go surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving.
They are all available right from the shore. Fishing is also available as well as day sight-seeing trips with professionals like our friend Captain Fouad Sultan who operates Dog Day Charters. You can visit his web site at http://www.dogdaychartersecuador.com
Looking for fresh fish, shrimp, lobster or crab you will find vendors selling those on the beach also. We see several strolling musicians who will stop and play a few songs in exchange for a small tip.
You can find a man selling coconut and almond oils but we were not impressed with the quality. Need a lamp, a small side table or lamp or plant stand like this unusual hand-made floor lamp. It lights at the top and bottom very different indeed!
If you are into doing some kite flying this is the place for that as well and there will be someone willing to sell you one when you are ready. I think I have covered most of what we have seen. Below are a few more pictures.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of Salinas beach from our beach chairs. We have been in the city since early June and this is an everyday occurrence, whether the sun is shinning or not, the vendors and the beach goers are enjoying this piece of paradise.