Out Of Seclusion

This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, December 05, 2007 was originally posted on December 07, 2007.

DAY 16:  As chilled out a place Surf Camp Horizonte was, I will admit that it had gotten me feeling a bit lonely; away from the more-frequented Playa Sunzal, it was on the secluded beach of Playa Zonte where locals hung out like beach bums — sometimes playing with new puppies named Mambo — when they weren’t off attending to some chores.  There were only a handful of people around, with many other surf camps closed down for the low season, while others used the time to construct more buildings to their establishments, or decal their boards

THAT MORNING AFTER BREAKFAST, I went out with Tilo for another surf session.  The beach was deserted and I was the only one out in the surf; Tilo was feeling lazy and just coached with hand signals from the shore.  I managed to catch a few ocean wave breaks and stand balanced again, crouching down to keep a low center of gravity.  As satisfying as it was, I was turned off by the incredible amount of physical effort it takes to get there.  Setting up to surf a wave really kicks your ass, as you walk against ocean forces pushing you back to shore, lugging your surfboard and fighting for it not to catch a wave just yet.  Plus there’s the occasional setback when a wave throws you back at every advance, sometimes making you lose balance and disoriented, hoping that your surfboard won’t hit you in the head.  (Any real surfer reading this probably things I’m a total noob, but so be it.)  I concluded that surfing can be fun, but setting up is a bitch and there had to be some better way, like ski-lifts at a ski resort.

Despite the bruises and scrapes I got, I still received some validation from Tilo.  “Better than yesterday!”

WITH NOTHING TO DO at midday, I was feeling a little antsy and decided to go into town to stock up on things, do some internet, and figure out my next flight out of El Salvador.

“[Is there an office of flights?]” I asked Tilo.  “[A travel office?]”

“[Yes, in La Libertad,]” he told me.  “[I’ll go with you.]”

We walked up the road from the camp to the main road, to wait for the chicken bus.  But like the other ones, there was no set schedule and they only came when the driver felt like doing a route.  Midday called for a little laziness, and it took over an hour before it finally arrived — accentuating the secluding feeling of where we were.  In the interim, a local confused me for chino (Chinese) while cargo trucks zipped back and forth with hauls of lumber.  Tilo joked with me about chicas and goritas (chunky girls, not the Taco Bell food items).

The bus finally arrived and we rode back to La Libertad in a cabin full of Jesus stickers and paraphernalia.  On the way, Tilo pointed out the popular Playa Sunzal; I saw dozens of people out in the surf as opposed to one lonesome me.  I regretted the advice of my Let’s Go book, even more so when we arrived back in town, only for me to see a different side of town that I hadn’t the day before, one more developed with beach resorts and a nice shopping/eating promenade.  Tilo pointed out the places where international surf stars had stayed, away from the smelly pier. 

After a supermarket run, Tilo and I went out for lunch at the food stalls, trying to get pupusas, the El Salvadorean speciality I’d been urged to have as much as I could from friends back home.  We couldn’t seem to find any at two in the afternoon, even at the three places we asked.  “[How come there are no pupusas?]” I asked.

“[Only at breakfast and at night.  Maybe at five they’ll have them.  I don’t know.]”

We settled on a standard carne y arroz dish until a Salvadorean woman in a perfect American accent noticed our predicament.  “You should try them.  They’re good.”

“[But there are no pupusas,]” I explained to her.  She and her family got up and made them special for us right away — pupusas mixtos, with beans and cheese. 

AN INTERNET SESSION and phone call determined that I should not get a flight out of El Salvador just yet — I’d meet up with Elisa’s cousin JP the following evening — so that was it for errands in La Libertad.  Tilo and I waited for another bus driver to get into the mood, while a girl gave Tilo her number.  He filed it in his cell phone address book simply as “Chica.”

Sooner than we thought we would, the bus brought us back to the secluded Playa Zonte.  I was recharged after being back in the civilization of a town again, and was feeling less alone.  “Let’s go surfing!” I said. 

While surfing until dusk (picture above), the place got a little livlier after all.  More surfers showed up, with more people playing in the sand, and the secluded beach was out of seclusion.  It was even more so when I met Claude, Tilo’s other student, who bought a dinner of fish and oysters for the three of us, complemented by rounds of beers.  A 47-year old from Vancouver Island, BC, he asked me what I thought about his predicament:  a 25-year-old desperately seeking Filipino woman in the Philippines he’d met on DateAnAsian.com was urging him to meet her and her family for the first time.

Meanwhile, Tilo and 17-year-old Jose were cat-calling the chicas, only to be distracted by the wonderful sky.  “Look at the colors of the sky,” Tilo said.  “Fuck yeah, man!”

The rest of the night only got more social as time went on, especially after I busted out the bottle of rum and bottle of Coke I’d bought at the supermarket.  With the beach bums of Playa Zonte, and the other lone Canadian in camp being more social, and the golf-course developer passing through for the night en route to Costa Rica with his wife, it wasn’t a lonely night at all.  In fact, a few of us continued the party over to the next surf camp until the moments I can’t remember.  I do remember watching a surf video where pro surfers set up a wave with no effort at all, by merely being towed there by jet ski.  Cheaters.

Next entry: Surf And Turf

Previous entry: Surf’s Up

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This blog post is one of thirty-nine travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour* (*with jaunt to Colombia)," which chronicled a six-week journey through Central America, with a jaunt to Bogota, Colombia.

Next entry:
Surf And Turf

Previous entry:
Surf’s Up


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
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