31 October 2015

Surf Simply: La Llegada (The Arrival)

Volcanic crater, somewhere over the Pacific Coast of Central America
Monkey on a wire
After a long journey with only 2-3 hours of semi-sleep on flight two of three, I arrived at Liberia Airport. Outside of Immigration and Customs, a smiling Tico held a "Surf Simply" sign. He led me to his tired old taxi and, not used to traveling in those, I sat up front. For most of the next two-and-a-half hours, we conversed in Spanglish. He knew a little more English than I knew Spanish, but I was surprised at how many foreign words floated up from the dusty high school section of my mind. The farther we drove from the city, the worse the roads became. He pulled over once to take a phone call, and pointed up. "Monkey!" he said, insisting I take a photo. We continued on, and soon the pavement ended, our path becoming a graded but pot-holed road just like I remembered from my three previous trips to Costa Rica. Signs pointed toward the Burnt Toast Surf School, and I wondered if the founders named it after what they'd had for breakfast. At last we pulled up at the unmarked Surf Simply resort, where manager Erika led me to my bungalow, the first on the left inside the wood gate.

I was running on fumes but so excited to be there. A few of the guests who'd arrived earlier were planning a trip to the beach, and I eagerly joined them. I'd traveled so far already; I could go a little more to see the surf that brought me there. I climbed with difficulty onto a bicycle that was too tall for me even with the seat in the lowest position, and peddled down the dirt road with Lauren, her husband Michael, Ian, and Jessica, my roommate. 
Ian and I waited on the beach while the other three surfed closed-out low-tide waves.
I really hoped the surf would look better in the morning.
Back at the resort, I washed off the grime of traveling and joined the others for dinner at a large round table near the top of the property. The common area overlooks a blue-tiled pool edged by jungle. Comfortable couches form a U-shape under a flatscreen TV that plays surf videos all day, every day. For inspiration, I suppose.
Seated: Ian, Kim and Ted. Standing: Ru and Michael.
As it turned out, Jessica is also vegan, and chef Denis did not disappoint in the special foods he prepared for us. After dinner, Surf Simply's founder, Ru, gave an overview of the week and we introduced ourselves, including our goals for the week. I explained that I felt like my surfing was at a plateau, that I was not progressing. "I want to rip on a shortboard before I'm too old to rip on a shortboard."

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