With L navigating and me gritting my teeth in the crazy traffic, we located the hotel we had earmarked in the Lonely Planet. It was right across the street from the ocean and had a pool. Perfect. It was the Hotel Sands Arena (18 out of 30) and adequate for our needs for one night. Even though it was $80 for the night and we had an interior, basement room.
We unpacked and immediately went for a relaxing swim/float in the pool. It felt really great after being in the car for almost 8 hours again. Six of those hours negotiating through the mountains. After our swim, we walked across the street to check out the beach and, for the first time on this trip, dip our feet into the Pacific Ocean.
I was not overly impressed with the beach. Maybe because I come from the pristine sand and beaches of the Caribbean, but this beach struck me as dirty. Swarthy may be a better word. It was certainly not garbage laden or anything like that. It just did not have a friendly feel to it and the beach was littered with small jelly fish carcasses. Something we were to encounter several times on this trip.
For dinner we tried the famous, or infamous, chain of restaurants, The Shrimp Bucket. I highly do NOT recommend this restaurant. What a rip off. We each ordered a bucket of shrimp, which was actually served in a bucket. We saw them being delivered to other tables and it looked like a good deal. I had the coconut shrimp. When it arrived, at a cost of $16.50 (in 2007 dollars) I was shocked. The stupid bucket they were served in had a false bottom and you did not get a bucket of shrimp at all. What you got was nine badly cooked shrimp. Like I said, a total rip off.
So, grumbling the entire time, we returned to our hotel rather early and headed for bed. We had a long drive ahead of us again the next day.