Costa Rica–Day 1 of School

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After a restful night, I stretched out of bed and felt a new soreness. I couldn’t believe we made it!!

We got dressed and walked down the block to The Bakery Café. Our hotel is at the top of the hill near the town’s Central Park. Our hotel has about 13 rooms. The park has 1 set of swings and a play yard with a couple of round concrete benches, lots of native trees and flowers. The Bakery Café is at the bottom of the hill, to the left. About 250 yards away is the ocean down a path. Across the street from the café is a bookstore. On the otherside, next to the café is a school, and kids are attending. You can hear the roar of the ocean and it is fantastic!!

We just had coffee. Plain coffee with milk for Don and café a la carmelo (coffee with caramel) for me. We sat and sipped our coffee, talking over the thoughts of the day. First poi, then later surfing. Eli (pronounced El-lee), our surf instructor actually came in for coffee with his female dog, Booger. She’s a small black terrier come de la calle/streetdog, and so cute! Eli has dreadlocks down to his waist. He dresses like a surfer. He has caramel brown skin and he smells like a mix of strong Axe and stale cigarettes on his breath.

We met up at Central Park in Montezuma with our practice poi. I traded mine with our classmate Brendan (who is 10) and so I was reppin’ Texas Tech with my new black and red poi. YES! We had class for about an hour and a half. Twirling the heck out of those practice poi. I discovered that going forward is much easier for me than going backwards. I only hit myself twice. Once in the temple (and wow, I really had a headache, it was tender when it hit) and again somewhere else, I forget. There’s only 3 of us in the class, so we get a lot of one-on-one attention!

Afterwards, we went back to our room and changed clothes. (We were quite sweaty from the humidity and workout. Yes, my arms felt like they were going to fall off, 10 minutes into the workout!) We took a walk to the beach, snapping photos, holding hands, strolling, and letting the waves kiss up to our ankles. All of God’s beauty in front of us, his grace holding my hand because I was in paradise with my husband. I froze that moment in my brain. No matter what we went through the day before, it was worth it for that moment. (And we both agreed that the $40 for information from that kid was money WELL spent, otherwise, we would’ve most certainly have taken a wrong turn).

We got back to the room, loaded up on supplies that we’d bought at the supermarket in Liberia and made ourselves a light lunch of fried yucca chips, macaroni and cheese, and an egg over easy. Then it was time to surf!!

We met up with the other classmates. Four were in the beginner class with us: Katherine, Rachel, Klaudia, Alayna. There were two in a more private beginner session, a father and son, Paul and Jackson. Then three in the advanced class, Matt, Steven (an Aggie) and a fiery redhead named Katelynn. We hiked an hour to Playa Grande, through amazing foliage! We passed lots of natural spring creeks, rocky beaches, soft beaches, even singing the Indiana Jones theme song because of the jungle-type atmosphere!

Finally, we arrived at the the turtle sanctuary, where the school has a shack where they keep their boards. There’s lots of cabins among the well-landscaped area for the volunteers who work with the turtles. Apparently, there was a hatchery that I’d totally missed. There’s also a rudimentary shower totally fueled by the natural spring water. It is quite refreshing, actually. We leave all of our personal belongings in the shack and they lock it up. We are assigned a board and then given about a 20 minute introduction/safety course. Then, we go to flat grounds and talk about the principles of surfing:Good position, paddle 1-2-3-4, pop up, legs shoulder width apart, feet perpendicular to the board. Sounds easy enough, right? You see, I’ve been surfing a handful of times before this and I always get stuck on the pop-up portion. My body doesn’t understand those mechanics.

Out we went. One by one, the instructor led us through the training and some were more talented than others. Don popped right up on his first wave. He looked like an old pro. No, really, in his board shorts and rash guard, he was shredding that wave!!

Then came my turn, and no popping up. Again, and again…poor Blue, my instructor was getting quite frustrated. But I kept at it. We even went back to the beach where he gave me a land tutorial and marked my board for the best position. After all, I’m quite coachable…if you only know how to explain it for me to “get it.” For the next hour and a half, I got tossed and flipped like a ragdoll. My sinuses were completely clean, and then some. I got on the board on my knees a few times, but never even close to standing. The last time I was rocked something fierce. That pride thing is ridiculous and a silly burden. I got choked up out of frustration and waved off Blue. I called it a day and chugged some water. He came to me and gave me an inquisitive glance. I told him I was frustrated with myself, but tomorrow, I promised to be better and I WOULD BE getting up! He smiled and appreciated my spirit. He thought I’d given up, but no, I just needed to reflect on what I was doing.

After we washed off and the boards were washed and put away, we hiked back.

On the way back, I actually looked up quite a bit more to enjoy the scenery. We passed a centuries old Indian made oven back from the times of Moctezuma (over time the name had been changed to Montezuma).

When we got back to the hotel, we showered, threw on some clothes and went out. I was so thirsty and spent, that I parked myself at the corner of Chico’s bar, ordered an Imperial beer, and sat to watch Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise. I needed to zone out. The beer was nice, then a 78 year old man came up and started talking to me. Over the next hour, he proceeded to tell me his life story (shocker) and I relayed it to Don. He was Puerto Rican, but left the country at age 18 to join the Korean War. He’s since lived in New York, Miami, California, then settling in Las Vegas. He has been retired for 30+ years and comes to Costa Rica for 3 months in the summer to avoid the Vegas heat. He’s been married 3 times, divorced 3 times, his most recent marriage at age 60, to a 20 year old who looked like Halle Berry. ha! I asked him why the divorces, he said, well, to be honest, I had too many affairs. LOL!! He said he’s been living life too much and that even though he’s made mistakes, his children are the great loves of his life. To which, he imparted child rearing wisdom to  me. It was a fun, lively, and heartfelt conversation, where we showed one another photos of our children, laughed quite a bit, and toasted our beers. He went by Cuco, but he said that was only his name in Costa Rica. No one outside of Montezuma knew he went by that and no one in Montezuma knew his real name! Good times.

We then went to the local pizzeria, ordered a large ham and mushroom pizza and 2 Mexican Cokes to go. We went back to the room, noshed on pizza, practiced poi for 10 minutes, played a round of Mad Libs and passed out!

After all, tomorrow was day 2 of school, a hike to the waterfalls, and a video chat with our girls!!!

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