Malecon Changes in San Jacinto

Our friend Keith Williams sent me an email yesterday morning after he watched while workers took down all the small ramadas, shacks and stands on the beach side of the malecon near his home. He also said that the police were there watching as each one was removed.

San Jacinto 6.13.2014 001 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 005 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 006 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 007 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 008 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 009 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 010Keith’s comment was, ” All along the Malecon from central San Jacinto to our house, they tore down every shack, stand, lean-to, and homemade benches on the ocean side of the malecon. Local police and special uniformed police were on site to watch government workers demolish each one. 

They stopped doing it near our house and I wonder if they plan to continue it towards San Clemente today. I have no idea why it is being done as a few were recently constructed. Maybe a road widening finally?”

Joe and I had to be in Jacinto yesterday anyway so I took the above pictures. Keith is correct every single structure on the ocean side is down, leveled or already removed from the site and just a makeshift foundation remains. I did not notice anything different in San Alejo or San Clemente on our ride back home.San Alejo 6.14.2014 002

San Alejo 6.14.2014 004 San Alejo 6.14.2014 003 I hope this means that they will be reinforcing the stone walls that now separate the street from the ocean. If El Niño weather, like they are predicting, hits our area the current sea walls are not anywhere substantial enough to stop flooding inland.

Our friends Eva and Fredy had a home on the ocean back in the 80’s when there was a bad El Niño. Day by day more water came around their property and eroded palm tree by palm tree until they had no choice but to deconstruct their home and move it farther back near the cliffs.

Mother Nature is the great equalizer. You can’t get away from it                                       Christopher Heyerdahl

 

New Lifeguard Stand in San Jacinto

Several weeks ago while we were in San Jacinto we noticed that a life guard stand had been built right on the beach.  What a great idea having this added for safety.

San Clemente 4.8.2014 106On some busy weekends lifeguards are stationed up and down our beaches.

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Dolphins Passing By San Clemente

We take our coffee almost every morning down by the water and we have what I call “surf therapy”. That is my idea of starting the day off right. Some peaceful time to kick-start our days. Most mornings it is far from quiet with the surf, birds, fishermen and Joe and I gabbing away. This has been our routine for almost every day the past two years. In all that time we have never seen dolphin swimming by so this is very exciting.

Our first sighting was while we were staying at Hotel San Jacinto. Almost every morning for the week we stayed there we had our breakfast on the outdoor deck and saw these beautiful, graceful creatures come by. We thought this was an every day occurences but soon found out that was not so and have longed to see them once again. How lovely to be given this gift. I sure do appreciate their appearance after such a long absence.  Maybe this week they will visit again.

 

Keith and Becky’s Water Story

Our friends Becky and Keith Williams live on the beach in San Alejo, just a few miles from our home in San Clemente. Keith took some pictures during the aguaje and was kind enough to share with me and is allowing me to share with you. This happened just last week.

From Keith:

Our entire courtyard flooded. I got the car out just after this photo. This occurs every year for 3 days in Feb.. We were not concerned at all. Fabricio designed the wall for this and 27 four-inch drain holes emptied all the water within 3 hours. So, I opened both gates and created a water park for the locals !

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At one time 14 kids and adults were hanging on the bars, They held on tight as the huge waves soaked every one of them ! The parents took pictures and thanked us over and over for the fun !

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We had about 40 locals watching the huge waves crash over the wall and everyone was so polite and thankful. A downs syndrome child has a great time laying in the new pool ! The water came in faster than the drains could work but, it only lasted a couple of hours. Ecuador is an adventure ! Becky and I loved every minute ! We knew the house was fully safe because it has lasted 42 years of this wave cycle and the storm of the century in 1980.

For several days in a row debris from the water covered the malecon, each day a front end loader cleared the street for traffic.

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I have seen where many other coastal towns had damage from the high tides, we were blessed to only have this slight damage.

Bamboo Shades

Joe and I have seen these beautiful bamboo shades at Hotel San Jacinto. I would love to find someone to make these beauties for us.

San Clemente 1.26.2014 002We ended up purchasing other bamboo shades (photo below) for our porch, they are nice but would prefer to have the above heavy-duty ones. Between the sun, sand and wind the pull cords on one of them has already frayed. Anyone knowing where to buy these heavy-duty shades let me know, we are in the market.

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Bonfire on the Beach

Saturday night we were invited to something that turned out to be the highlight of our week. Well first keep in mind Joe and I are not goers we are more of the quiet, sit at home, kind of folks but this evening turned out to be wonderful.  Our friends Becky and Keith invited us to a cookout on the beach at their home in San Jacinto. They even had pickup and return service for those of us that do not have vehicles.

San Clemente 4.20.2013 010 San Clemente 4.20.2013 013 San Clemente 4.20.2013 015 San Clemente 4.20.2013 019 San Clemente 4.20.2013 026 San Clemente 4.20.2013 027 San Clemente 4.20.2013 028 San Clemente 4.20.2013 029 San Clemente 4.20.2013 030The sunset was spectacular, the weather perfect, the company entertaining and the food and drinks hit the spot.  The bonfire made for a wonderful backdrop to the perfect evening.

Thank you again Becky and Keith for putting this shindig together.

Geni and Larry

This lovely couple is visiting the coast as part of their tour of Ecuador. Geni and Larry hail from Alabama and we met because they follow the blog. Also in the picture below is David the son of Libby Rush a friend from Atlanta area that recently moved to San Clemente.

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They are staying in San Jacinto and made the walk up to Meiers for a few Pilseners and pizza last evening. Our town pretty much closes up after dark and we found ourselves walking home in a light rain with no mototaxi to return them to San Jacinto. This is one of those times when a car would come in very handy.

Geni and Larry I hope you enjoy the balance of your time here in Ecuador.

Trouble in Paradise?

Yesterday morning while walking downtown we spotted this graffiti.

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Roughly translated it reads: no beaches, no paradise. No! the road for the beach. Long live San Clemente.

We have read one article in an Ecuadorian paper http://www.eldiario.com.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/250024-con-vista-al-mar/ and heard from several folks that there are plans in the works to take our beautiful pristine beach and ruin it with a road.

Roughly translated, the article reads as follows:

Friday, December 14, 2012 00:00
eldiario.com.ec

“OCEAN VIEW”

A road along the beach from the mouth to Bahia, drawn on paper seems harmless, as argued by its operators serve to promote tourism in the area.

But what is the reality?

According to the plans of the road contractor of approximately 12 meters wide would be built on the beach, from San Clemente to Bahia, cutting in some places the mountain. A path of about 50 miles long, located in the sand stretches and close exposure to sea flows is surely an expensive project not only in terms of construction, but also the subsequent maintenance.

The unfortunate effect of this work is expensive loss and / or reduction of beaches, which have been and are the main attraction for domestic and foreign tourism. Beaches near the villages which have grown as San Jacinto and San Clemente that for decades has been welcomed with warmth and traditions to countless visitors. People who would be directly affected by the highway traversing the beaches.

Is it valid to spend so much money for a road deteriorates the main tourist attraction and also do not respond to any pressing need of the surrounding towns? Priority needs of these populations are such basic services, security or improving roads but a new road to Bahia exist primarily as a good way to that city.

I think the fanaticism that the waterfront is “ocean view” leaves out of sight cheaper alternatives and profitable for responsible tourism and the enjoyment  envisions only a few.

A less expensive alternative, more productive and inclusive is: first, to enable current paths from the road to the beaches (routes that would also benefit small farmers / rural dwellers) and, moreover, sensibly invigorate tourism infrastructure in San Jacinto and San Clemente. This way you could preserve the irreplaceable value of these natural beaches yet where – without pollution and danger of a highway – could be developed with this charming tourist spots dwindling pristine in the world.  END OF ARTICLE

I am distressed at the thought of a road right on the beach. We have a perfectly usable highway going into Bahia running on the outskirts of the downtown area, and IMHO it is a waste of money and of a perfectly beautiful beach putting in another one. How will this road affect the fishermen who have worked these waters for so many years?  How will it affect folks like us who have moved here anticipating the use of the beautiful waters and clean beaches? How will this affect tourism, the environment? How will it affect those owning rental properties right on the beach? Where is this road going and who is paying for it? I hope to have some answers when I attend a meeting today.

There is a huge development being planned past the bluff towards Bahia that may have something to do with this. Hopefully it’s not  just another person from the states looking to make money by paving paradise to put up a parking lot scenario that so many of us tried to leave behind………

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But the most important question is: Is the sun setting on our Paradise?

Our 1st Christmas in San Clemente

Today a group of expats gathered at the home of Mary and Lou Defrain for a lovely Christmas feast hosted by Mary and John McDonald and Mary and Lou Defrain.  What a special affair it was.

When I spoke to my brother John and sister Linda in Pennsylvania this morning they had gotten a light coating of snow but it was bright and beautiful looking out onto my brother John’s patio, what did we ever do before SKYPE and an IPad.  Here we had the sun shining, the breeze was blowing off the ocean and the temperature was in the  80’s. Just perfect for an outdoor gathering.

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Upon our arrival Lou offered to make us a drink and then we would be on our own for the next. He had a beautiful bar set up with a great looking rum punch that looked to pack a heck of a punch, red and white wines, a selection of liquors and mixers of your choice. Out on the deck we found a huge trashcan filled with ice and beer…an ice cold Pilsener, that hit the spot for Joe and I.

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A beautiful platter of sliced salami and several different cheeses with crackers was set out to whet our appetites.

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Then we were invited into the house to find the entire counter filled with delectable treats. After a beautiful blessing over the food given by John McDonald we found a veritable feast including beautiful roasted turkey along side smoked tenderloin of pork. Let the feasting begin as you followed the counter to the end you found a variety of salads, my favorites were the broccoli and the linguine, well maybe you will need to fit in the cole-slaw and the quinoa OH I just can’t make up my mind, they were all fantastic.

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After most of us needed to unbutton that top button on our pants, well maybe that was just me, desserts were set out. Again, they looked fabulous and I did try a few, like the fruit kabobs, oh my, and the lemon squares…we sure do have some wonderful chefs here in San Clemente. This also was a very difficult decision because everything looked so wonderful and well I couldn’t fit too much more at that point.

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The conversations covered a multitude of topics and all seemed entertained just visiting with this eclectic group of people.

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It was a wonderful afternoon visiting with friends, meeting new friends and just having a great time.

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It is very difficult especially this time of year to be so far away from family, I want to take this opportunity to thank Mary and Lou and Mary and John for making all of us Expats feel like we were with family. Thank you for opening up your home and your hearts to give all the Expat community in San Clemente and San Jacinto a very Merry Christmas indeed. And Jackie – great picnic table!