Waking up on the bus a few hours from mancora it felt great to see the welcoming site of the ocean from my window seat.
I heard previously all the rave about the mancora Loki hostel so as I was traveling alone at this stage I had planned to jump on the band wagon certain I'd probably run into somebody I knew. I didn't make it as far as reception ! I think the first person I saw was Christine, Danish girl I worked in lapaz. Then Andy! My good English mate that I worked with in lapaz, we were only together there about a week but he was a top lad! Stoked to see each other we decided to go a beach run for some catch up time after I'd checked my bags into storage at Loki. Desperate for a sweat out too was down the beach within minutes. The Loki hostel was like no other. Almost looking out of place. It is as though it belongs in a exotic Mediterranean location like the Greek islands from its resort style setting and huge swimming pool. The place also boasted an pretty impressive menu and was hostel backed directly onto the beach: it was obvious why it was a highlight for many South American backpackers, the joint covered it all.
As we were running along Andy told me though despite these features he was quite over the intensity of the place. "You just can't escape it, it doesn't stop!!"....
On the return leg of our run Andy began to explain to me a sick bender he had a few nights ago at one of the villas we were passing further up the beach. One of his buddies was staying there; said it was a really cool set up. We decided to swing past to see if his buddy was around. Sure enough there he was catching some rays on the sun bed out front and sure enough I knew him too! Small world! ... I met him while I was working in lapaz, Chris his name was. He instantly remembered me as he was the one who gave me the dynamite for potosi!! After the normal exchange of where we'd each been and what we'd been doing Chris couldn't stop raving about the setup at the villa- it looked lush! Nice clean rooms, own bathroom, own private lap pool, own bar, palm trees, hammocks and it was literally on the beach! Andy was keen to look into prices immediately... When Ben (another legendary English lad) rocked up the deal was as good as done! I originally met Ben in San Pedro in northern chile but crossed paths again in lapaz. We decided to split the room with the 3 of us and it was not much more expensive than Loki but due to the nature of the villas you could bring all your own alcohol. So it basically worked out we'd save money or at least have more to spend on party enhancing supplements.
So within 30mins of checking into Loki I was checking out. Was a little nervous to how they'd react as I'd already been speaking to the manager about getting some work. They were completely cool... Even gave us visitors wrist bands so we could come down and party at the Loki whenever we wanted ! WINNING!!
So this here by proclaimed the start of the playa pad crew. Playa meaning "beach" in Spanish we thought it quite fitting whatever way you look at it...
The crew began to extend the more people we met. Andy had a little romance with Elle; chick from charleston in South Carolina which of started to blossom all the more once she caught wind of the playa pad. But seriously Ell was a ledge! For the most part the crew was Andy, Ben, Ell and myself. Super cool chick. Chris who convinced us of delving into the 5 star playa life was traveling with a another English guy Danny.
After initially dumping our belongings at the pad we went for a walk up the beach for beers and some lunch. This is where we met Rosa and Laura. Two Dutch b****es that were that fun we ended up sticking with for the next month (looking forward to meeting up with in Amsterdam!). Met back up with tash from cusco too.
We never had a shortage of people to come hang out with us at the playa pad! A standard day in mancora would consist of waking about hungover as death, walk down the beach for our favourite fish breakfast, buy some Havana club rum, lines, juice, visit Charlie Brown and we'd basically we hitting it hard from mid day on at the playa pad. Usually make our way into the Loki later in the evening but it was never that great. Mancora was all about partying in the sun and the playa pad crew knew how to reign supreme in that department. Our favourite dinner spot was on the main strip near Loki. Cheap, fresh and ran buy a 120kg local women with a super infectious personality : what more could you want. Cold cheap beers, ceviche awesome BBQs the big gal had it covered! Nearly ate there every night!
3 other English chaps came over for a solid arvo sesh one day we saw me and Andy scaling one of our palm trees to retrieve some coconuts. Taking to the coconuts viciously with a large knife we were both lucky to escape with all 10 fingers. The result some delicious chilled rum infused coconuts. True playa style!!
Swimming in our own lap pool, body surfing at the beach or sunset drinks in the hammocks; mancora was like living the boss's life !
After possibly setting a world record of rum consumption in 5days we thought it time to move on from mancora before its death grip became too tight.
Andy, Ben and myself decided to get the night bus across the border into Ecuador. Hoping to keep the playa flame burning in the coastal hot spot of montanita.
We did however leave mancora on a bit of a sour note. Mine and ben's childish wrestling (not really wrestling just me attempting to throw ben in the pool for being an annoying twat) resulting in a whole table setting, umbrella included ending up in the pool. This was the end of :
Ells iPhone 5
And plenty of soaked wallets
It was an accident but me and Ben were filthy at ourselves for ruining Ells phone!!
Sorry Ell :(