|The near end of Otres Beach, last week|
The beach itself is wonderfully primitive and laid back. There are no hotels, spas or shops, not even any running water or, until just last year, regular electricity. Until mid-2010, thatch covered beach bars dotted the full length of Otres, but much more sparsely than Ochheuteal. There were a few basic bungalows on the sand and a couple of places offering kayaks and Hobies. Even the roaming beach vendors (massage and trinkets) were much fewer and far less aggressive than their Ochheuteal counterparts. Otres was (and still is) a place that you can fall asleep in your beach chair unperturbed by crowds, beggar kids and hawkers. The only real drawback to Otres was that it is difficult (and even dangerous) to get back to the main town area come evening. The road is long, lonely and dark, and robberies of those trying to make their way back in the evening are not unknown. Better to come back either before sundown or stay the night at Otres.
|Map of Otres showing the project area|
Early last year, it seemed the end was nigh. The on and off talk of development began to concretize. The government delivered notice that all businesses were to clear the beach in a month to make way for a planned development. After negotiations, the government seemed to relent, demanding only that people stop laying permanent foundations on the beach. And offering even greater hope at the time, the city connected the Otres area to the regular electrical grid and allowed the beach businesses to hook in, bringing Otres its first 24/7 power.
|The development project|
|Inside the development area, last week|
At the near end, the atmosphere has changed very little from the old Otres. If you don't walk up the beach too far you won't even know the development project is there. Relaxed little beach bars and BBQ shacks still ply their trade. Many of the beach bungalows are now gone, but not all, and little guesthouses have begun to pop up on the other side of the road, off the sand but still only 20 meters from the
|Evicted villager's huts|
How long will it last? God and the government only know. There are still rumors of an expanded development project that will take out the remaining businesses at the near end, but no sign or official word of it yet. There is still the very grim reminder of Otres development on the entry road - the sad remnants of the Otres community, local people violently evicted from their village by a land deal back in 2007, now living in a string of squatter huts along the roadside. But for beach goers, for now, Otres is not gone. In fact, save the middle section, it is much the same as before.
|Otres Beach, 2006|
Eviction of Otres village
DAS: Otres evictions, update, February 12, 2008
PPP: Band bids Otres beach bars farewell, February 12, 2010
PPP: Otres eviction talks set for today, July 5, 2010
July 2010, Otres Beach 2010: What does the future hold???