Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day 5- Escape from Paradise

A rocky escape route

The ordeal of the past few sleepless nights caught up with us, and we packed in brusque silence, punctuated by terse outbursts and indignant gesticulations. The plan for this, our last day in Paradise, was to visit some ruins and then walk to the main road where we could catch a bus the hell out of there. In doing so, we could avoid the long walk down the beach to where we arrived. This is where we should have asked someone about the distances and terrain we were planning on covering.


The walk to ‘Pueblito’ was through thick ‘dry rainforest’, and away from the seabreeze it became incredibly hot. The walk degenerated into more of a scrabbling climb over huge boulders and through creeks and up never-ending flights of ancient stairs and jumping over bone-breaking gaps in the ‘path’. It was a fun walk, but if I was to do it again I would take hiking boots and probably not take a bodyboard.

Ants hard at work

Pueblito was an interesting jungle-strewn collection of terraces and staircases, but the ordeal of getting there had left us without the enthusiasm to go and explore. Instead we sat on rock and ate the last of our supplies. What looked like a short stroll on our visitor’s maps, once again, fooled us, and it was revealed by a local that the trail to the main road would take around two hours. Wanting nothing more than walls and roof we began the hike, which included of the following:

• Knee-deep mud thanks to the recent rain.
• Ill-tempered horses (Angie will lose a finger one day if she continues indulging this penchant for patting anything with four legs).
• Middle-aged German men on some kind of wilderness sex tour.
• Endless uphills
• And the production of gallons of sweat, exactly what we had come here to avoid.

Perilous river crossing

When finally we arrived at the road, a bus pulled up and we were ushered into its sublimely air-conditioned interior. We were on our way back to a place where the walls were widely spaced and the roofs were solid and impermeable to rain. It was a feeling of relief, but I’d go back again at the first opportunity. As long as that opportunity came at a time outside of peak holiday season, that is. I’m pretty sure that we were in Paradise, as James had called it, (go back through the pictures and imagine them with all the people removed), but it seems that even Paradise has a maximum occupancy, and when that number is reached, Paradise can degenerate into something similar to countless other tourist hells.

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