We pull out of the surf house and rattle down the sandy road. Eventually we run back into pavement and continue past puerto san jose and several small villages along the road all with the backdrop of large houses along the water. The streets are littered with signs advertising resorts and hotels and we cant help but wonder where the money is coming from as we understood guatemala to be a bit more “undiscovered”. We pull into monterrico earlier than we thought but the skies are hazy and overcast making it feel later than it really is. As we pull off the side of the road to ask some questions a guy walks out of his house and asks what we need. He doesn’t really understand whether we need camping or parking but proceeds to spend the next 20minutes walking us to different establishments up and down the dirty street.
We eventually decide to drive a bit further on and thank him, half expecting him to ask for money because he had gone so far out of his way... but he only wishes us good luck and continues on. The helpful and generous disposition we’ve come to expect in mexico clearly exists here as well. We finally stumble upon a beach resort/bar with a small sign for camping and pull in. The lady washing clothes over a stone points us to her young son who then points to his father who is now walking in the gate. They have no problem with us camping here and we pull into a comfortable position (the grounds are empty save a tent where his father sleeps).
As we park and setup camp the family snaps into action. Mom keeps washing clothes, the kids come and sit a few feet from the bus to stare at us, dad pops another beer and grandpa grabs a broom to clean up the pool for us. Seemed to go completely unnoticed that the pool didn’t have any water. We take a walk on the beach and see other equally tattered yet completely empty places but enjoy the black sand under our feet. These black beaches are gorgeous and this is the darkest we’ve seen. We probably couldn’t bare to walk on it during the heat of the day, but at sunset it's perfect.
By now jen and i are looking at each other and trying to figure this beach town out. Yet another beach lined with so many houses, restaurants and hotels that it’s impossible to reach the sand without walking through one of them; yet we see hardly a soul. We might have to plan a return here during a weekend on the drive north just to see the town wake from its slumber for the sunday crowd. For now, everything along the beach looks tattered and worn as though a large storm just passed through or mardi gras just finished and everyone left town just as we were pulling in. or, zombies- it has to be the zombies.
Back at the bus we attempt dinner and realize that our meat has all gone bad (despite having bought it less than two days ago) and we decide that since all open places are at the opposite end of the strip we’ll drive and simply find a more suitable parking spot. We pull into a hotel we spotted earlier and make the tight squeeze into their single parking space before going in to make a deal. Camping doesn’t really exist here, so either we pay to park in an empty parking lot over night, or we pay a few dollars more to stay in a hotel with a restaurant, wifi etc. We still pay less than most campgrounds we’ve stayed at, but after seeing the room we decide to simply sleep in the bus.