Friday, August 01, 2008


Sunday. Day 7. I haven't felt this exhausted from physical exertion in a very long time. Let it be known, this isn't really a vacation in the vactaiony sense of the word. Unless getting up at the crack of dawn every day to push your body to its limits seems restful. If it does, you are a navy seal and you have my utmost respect.

Last night I wanted to write more but Anna turned out the light, which I figure is fine because my laptop is illuminated and the keys are all backlit. But not a second had passed when a nasty ugly flying bug was drawn to the light of my monitor! Not wanting a bug in my computer I brushed it away, closed it and slept very, very hard.

Having a few issues with the group dynamics here. Sometimes I feel like I have to really look out for myself; people just aren't all that helpful except the paid help - they've been my saving factor this entire trip. Today there was a bit of confusion because one van was going back to the house, another was staying for lunch and then surfing. I mentioned to someone, I thought, that I wanted to stay. I'd been in the other van to run to the pharmacy to get some synthroid because I forgot mine. Been taking the same stuff for a couple years every single day and I forgot it. It wasn't too much - $11, but I had to buy 75 pills. I only needed nine. Oh well, so much for eating out today (my budget is about $10/day). I did manage to buy a frozen coconut bar, my fav. They're only $0.40 here and really good quality. After I move my stuff I'm looking around for everyone and they've sort of disappeared into the fray. It's a narrow dirt street with shops and restaurants on both sides leading to the beach, with restaurants lining the beach as well. I looked at all the places we'd been earlier that day to get ready for and to host the free surf contest for the local kids, but no groupo. I went back to the van and found Julio nearby and he said they were in the internet cafe. I looked there and no group. I went back, and Julio found them in another restaurant upstairs. I said, Just once I'd like to know where everyone is going! They said they thought I was going back to the house in the other van.

I ordered a Limonade which tasted and had the texture of a virgin margarita. Not bad for $1. I had enough change left over just for that.

After lunch those of us who wanted to surf went to a spot I really cannot name because it's kind of a secret. Access is limited; we know a hotel owner who lets us use his access. It takes me awhile to gear up because I cover myself head to toe in lycra. The only thing getting tanned on this trip are my hands. And yes it looks funny. But not any funnier than the long scars on my legs and shoulders from having bits of skin cancer removed. So by the time I got to the beach everyone was in the water, only I could not see them. I saw two guys out at a beach break and thought maybe that was them, to the south of me. I followed fresh footprints and jumped in what looked like a channel, only to get completely pummeled by the waves hitting a sandbar. I took a wave in.

Then two other bodyboarders started to head out and I started out further south and made it to the outside. But the guys surfing out there weren't from our crew. I looked north towards the point and sure enough, barely made out a few heads bobbing in the water. I decided to paddle over rather than fight that sandbar again, although it probably would have been faster to walk.

The waves were really nice I thought, still heading the wrong direction for me, but it was easy to get back out and only a few thrashed me. Sean, our representative from the world of professional surfing, hopped me on one wave and said he didn't see me. I said sometimes it seems like I'm not going to make the wave but usually I do. He let me have another one that he could have easily taken. It was a really good wave. I thanked him for it.

I didn't surf this morning because I figured I needed a day off, or at least a morning off. I slept pretty well last night in spite of a painfully stiff neck and an arm that feels like it's going to drop off my shoulder any minute. I missed the van going to the beach and walked down an hour later. Chad was still sick and really bumming about it.

The surf contest seemed to go pretty well although it was a bit of a late start. They had it where no one was surfing or swimming; mostly really big close-out waves. Some of the smaller ones were more surfable. I listened as Sean spoke to Erika about surfing in competitions as he's a full time coach now. He was on the pro tour and was top ten. He's on the cover of SURFER June 1993. I think I remember it, oddly enough. Said it was really freaky the way it happened. They were out at the power plant near Rosarito, which I've never gotten all that great. He said it was junky but they'd come all that way so why not just go out and get a few. Then the wind turned, the clouds parted, the swell picked up... and the photographer got some great shots not only for the cover but an inside spread as well.

In spite of all the exposure and success on the tour, money started dropping out around then as it did for a lot of things. Not able to keep up their commitments his sponsors were shorting him and he had a wife and two kids. He was offered a job managing a retail surfing store and took it. I believe recently he was laid off from that, but does surf coaching full time.

Another time I came in from a very long session and was really cotton-mouthed and dehydrated. There were three unopened bottles of water, dripping with that ice sweat, and a few opened ones at the table of the people from our group who didn't surf that morning. I asked if I could just have a sip, and they told me I could get some in the restaurant. Of course to do that I'd have to go to the van and find money etc. it just looked so inviting and quenching and later I thought to myself, if one of my friends came in from the ocean and wanted a sip of my water, I'd give it to them. Even if there was plenty around the corner in the restaurant window. I'm missing the riverboarding crowd.

Tomorrow at some as yet unappointed time, we head south to Las Flores. John has budgeted for us to sleep in hammocks. Obviously I won't be bringing my computer if we have no security besides the van and probably no electricity. Someone else who had gone there on the weekend said the beach lodgings were completely booked. I'm kind of hoping that there aren't enough hammock spaces and we might have to get rooms of some kind. We haven't been briefed on what we should bring or what to expect; all I know is we're supposed to do two boat trips and there are surf breaks in the area for those who don't go on the off day. We're going to stay two nights. I'm not sure if we're supposed to go surfing in the morning or not. These days I just take it as it comes, and sometimes as it doesn't.


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