Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Semana Santa and other stuff

I got about thirty minutes into typing this entry and then the computer I was working on froze and lost it all, so I´m going to summarize:

I see it´s been exactly a month since my last blog update, not much happened the first week of april, and the second one (Semana Santa) I went to El Salvador with my friend and co-volunteer Chris from Orocuina to surf. I left on Tuesday but planned badly and ended up spending a night in San Salvador rather than making it all the way to La Libertad, where he was already set up and surfing happily.

Back to normal flow:

I rolled into Playa Tunco, about 15 minutes west of La Libertad by bus on Wednesday at about 10 am. Chris and another guy from my training group, Sid, were just rousing themselves from their hangovers to head out and surf (or in Sid´s case, as was soon to be my case as well, to head out and eat salt water for two hours). I got set up in Papaya´s Surf Lodge, where they were staying, and then went out to check out the beach. Compared with every other beach I´ve seen in Central America (omitting Costa Rica) this one was amazingly clean and well-kept, not to mention uncrowded and had some really nice black sand. The temperature wasn´t too hot either.... considering the time of year, it was actually rather pleasant, maybe 85-87 degrees or so but dry and with a nice constant sea breeze. I met my compatriots later for lunch, then we headed back for some reading, movie-watching, and chess-playing at the lodge. I also made an agreement with Sid to share the board he was using and pay half the rent for the rest of the days I was there, since neither of us really felt like using it all day every day. Personally, my lack of enthusiasm had mostly to do with the burning salt water that was forcefully injected into my nasal cavity and throat every time I fell off the board, which happened every time I tried to ride it. I think one thing is that I need to be a better swimmer first before I can be serious about learning to surf. Maybe if I had a nose plug or something, I dunno. I reckon I will try surfing again sometime (In theory, it´s a sport I would like: it´s physical, it´s outdoors, it requires skill and there´s a lot of room for personal improvement, and it´s totally eco-friendly) but this time I think it´s safe to say that I won´t be the next Kelly Slater.

As it turned out, the money was mostly wasted. I was at Playa Tunco for five days, and of those I maybe surfed a total of 10 hours. On the other hand, I got in a ton of quality time watching movies, reading ¨Jayber Crow¨ by Wendell Berry (the best book I have read so far in Honduras, and that is not an exaggeration, it is AWESOME), and generally doing a whole lot of nothing. I was discussing with Sid how it was interesting and unusual for me as far as vacations go, because the traditional method in my family for recreation was to try to pack as many meticulously-planned activities into a week as possible and get all stressed out when those plans got screwed up. However, I have to say I really enjoyed myself. Considering that I´ve been fairly busy working on a lot of different things, it was a change of pace I really needed.

Another cool thing was the company we had at Papaya´s Surf Lodge. During my time there, we met and visited with people from no less than eight different countries and four continents. There was a group of three surfers from Victoria, B.C. that had driven down in their truck surfing all along Mexico, there was a group of three Swedish surfers (I guess it is actually a sport there), there was a young couple from the states who taught in Guatemala, there was a group of peace corps volunteer girls from El Salvador (that unfortunately left the day after I arrived), there was one guy from Germany, one guy from Australia, and one guy from Uruguay. We did not lack for interesting conversation. The guy from Uruguay was especially cool and now I´m thinking I would love to visit that country someday. It sounds like a very nice place, kind of similar in climate to western Oregon and northern California actually according to his description.

We all headed back on Monday to Choluteca and spent the night, and then parted to go to our respective sites the next day. I spent the next three days working hard to polish our project proposal to be ready to turn in as a final draft (FINALLY they´re ready to evaluate it for real) and adjusting all the numbers to work on a different timeline since the tentative date for getting money (if it passes) is now August and most trees will have to wait til next May to be planted.

There is more stuff to talk about, namely an environmental festival that we´re going to put on tomorrow, but I just lost my most recent work where I had written about that for the third goddamn time today and I don´t have any more patience for this piece of crap computer. I will be in Choluteca until tomorrow so I´ll try to post again and leave a description of all that, and other recent events.

Gabe

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