In Part 3 I shared our experiences at the meetings and the beach in Casas Viejas. But there was still one more beach trip left before we left -- this time at the coastal town of Las Lisas, not far up the road. One of Nathan's Bible studies named Don Licho operates a wonderful little restaurant built on the beach in Las Lisas, looking right out into the Pacific Ocean. After Saturday morning field service we piled into the truck to spend the rest of the day on the beach.
To get to Las Lisas, you first have to drive a few miles and then take a lancha (small boat) across a canal to the coastal strip. We arrived at the small port where the boats were docked and parked in a small carport that was fiercely guarded by a couple of tied-up pigs. Las Lisas had a real vibrancy, with a number of stores selling fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.
As we approached the small dock we saw that our lancha didn't look exactly seaworthy -- with its creaking, ancient wood beams and tattered top -- but it served its purpose just fine. After some brief negotiations with the operator, whose rates are apparently quite variable (usually only a few Quetzales, but at times Q35 or more), we clambered aboard and settled in for our journey to the coastline.
Our ride across the canal (or was it a river?) was uneventful but beautiful. We motored comfortable across the serene blue-green water and enjoyed the dense trees, gorgeous blue sky and refreshing breeze.
After disembarking from our lancha we began our walk through the coastal side of Las Lisas and made our way to Don Lito's seaside restaurant and the beach beyond. The town was full of life -- it looked like many people came here on the weekend to eat, shop and play at the beach. It was certainly more crowded than where we came from in Casas Viejas.
After walking through what seemed a maze of cinder block walls and small tiendas, we reached Don Lito's bamboo-walled restaurant. At first it seemed dim and dingy, but as we passed through the entrance we saw the real heart of the restaurant: It opened right onto the sandy beach with a perfect view of the Pacific Ocean.
There was a nice selection for lunch, but we were unanimously interested in the fresh fish (which ended up being Red Snapper, I believe). Nathan & Jessica, having eaten here many times, recommended getting the garlic sauce, normally found on the shrimp platter, on our fish -- a decision that proved to be beyond wonderful. I hadn't had fish like this before in my life!
After stuffing ourselves with fish, we relaxed for quite awhile, and eventually, after waiting the prescribed amount of time to swim after eating, we ventured toward the ocean. En route to the water, we realized that the sand here wasn't hot: It was HOT. We made a game of seeing who could walk barefoot from the restaurant to the water without breaking into a full sprint.
Nathan, Tim and I spent hours getting tossed in the waves and making our best effort to body surf. As the afternoon burned slowly into evening, the sun began its rapid descent, leading to another stunning sunset in this picturesque place.
Finally, we made our way back to Casas Viejas. It was sad to leave Las Lisas -- it seemed like a little slice of Paradise. But we were thankful for the long, enjoyable day and the delicious lunch!
Back home we had one last chore to do -- laundry. I neglected to talk about this earlier, but the process of washing clothes was definitely a different experience for us. Basically, it's all by hand on a washboard. It wasn't especially hard, but it did take a long time. It was actually almost fun, but that was just because it was a novelty to us -- if we had to do it every few days that would wear off quickly!
With that, our time in Casas Viejas had come to a close. Monday morning we would be driving to the city of Antigua where we would spend two more nights before our trip would end. Check out Part 5 to see our experiences there!