November 22, 2006

Dust rising on Tamarindo

Thirty years ago the resort town of Tamarindo was home to 21 families. It has grown exponentially into something akin to southern California (picture surf boutiques and tiki torch ambiance). Perhaps its the biggest hyperbole of how popularity distorts an attraction. First Playa Tamarindo was about surfing, now it´s about recreating the ¨comforts¨ back home for package tours and spring breakers.

Those who came here for pura vida style refuge (and built the industry) now look at their Frankenstein a bit bewildered. Gil, a muscled retiree from Queens who looks like he could bench press a surfer, runs a small cafe where people stop by all day to chat or have a soda out of the sun. Once he counted--a truck passes down the narrow dirt strip every 60 seconds. They rip up the road, covering the cafes, the souvenir stand mobiles, even the sarong-clad girls from Denver and London, in a thick coat of golden dust.

Villa Macondo is a petite refuge from the fray, a tiled pool surrounded by sun-colored cabins and palm fronds. It´s offshoot location, blocks off the main strip, is filling fast with high-rise condos, created by construction crews who start their excavating and pounding at 6:30 am, in earshot both of four-star honeymooners and budget lodgers alike. I was shown around by the hotel´s Tica owner while frontloaders beeped and blared in the background.

So, what did they make of all this? I asked.

They were trying. Some guests on chaise lounges had ipods stuffed in their ears. What could she say? She peered high above our heads, blinking out the blinding blue. ¨We think, honestly, that one day one of these men will fall into our pool.¨

No comments: