Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Letters From Nicaragua: Part 14 - The Treasure Of Playa Secreta

Sam and Elena comparing fruit versus the REAL breakfast! 
You may be wondering what the food was like on the trip. It was very good I'd say, as long as you stuck with the right things from the menu. Pam and Sam had advised me to stay away from anything fresh, like fruit or salad, as the water that it was cleaned it could give one "issues". Well, I already had the "issues" by the third day of the trip, but I also realized that things could be worse.
Breakfast was best if you ordered eggs with beans and rice. There were pancakes, French toast and more, but for some reason, good bread was never available. The juice and coffee were excellent. Café con leche was my drug on the trip. When I got home from the adventure and had my next Starbucks coffee, I said "When did they start watering this stuff down?!"
The only food besides salad that I began to avoid was red meat, after having a hamburger one night, and getting a strange feeling that I wasn't eating beef. I pretty much stuck to chicken after that.
Emily warning me about the ice in the margarita

One bummer about the Eco Lodge was that there was absolutely no way for me to have coffee before 7am. I know, I know, I now fully understand what first-world problems are, but this meant that we left for surf sessions at 5:30-6:00am in the morning without caffeine to get me going. It was full, broad daylight, and the women and kids were still in bed, so it was free time. The only thing was Maderas was not too friendly for Miguel and I on Paddleboards, so Sam suggested a trip to a secret beach. It kind of sounded crazy to a Floridian to drive an hour when you are already so close to a surfing beach, but we did it. And it was on this trip that I found what a truly secret beach is.
You see, on the east coast and west coast of the United States, we have highways that run right down the coastline. Most of the time, the problem is finding a parking space. In Nicaragua, they don't have roads that run down the coast. They have single lane muddy trails that can go on for hours, and there aren't any street signs. There are situations where you are at one beach, and there is another beach that you could almost swim to, but it is over an hour by car, excuse me, four wheel drive vehicle. The road to Playa Secreta, was the first road I'd driven on where I was absolutely certain that you would get stuck without four wheel drive. When we finally got to the end and saw the little cove with the ramshackle outdoor café and something resembling a surfshop, I was surprised to find that the only parking was right on the trail. The waves looked great and there were only a couple of people out. We scrambled out of the truck and the guys were already in the water by the time I got my stuff ready. For some reason, I decided to go barefoot. I always was booties, but not this time.
The next two hours were full of some of the most fun I've had. The water was warm, blue and there was just enough sun. The wind was holding the waves up and it just seemed like there would be no end to the ride. We met a guy out in the water named Dave, who told us he always came to this beach because you could just keep a smile on your face the whole time, even with the large waves that came in. I didn't fully understand this at the time, I thought my terror-stricken look was only for Playa Maderas.
Miguel and Yvonne relaxing at the beach

Dave told us to line up on a particular rock on part of the cove and we would be in a perfect location when the next set came in. Miguel dubbed that, "Dave's Rock". Dave was one of my favorite characters we met on the journey, an ex-pat moved from California to enjoy the laid-back life-style of Nicaragua. He was almost my age, tall and lean, with a big shock of white hair and large smile full of shining white, perfect teeth. He really did seem like a Californian, and I liked this guy a lot. The strangest thing about my mind is that it keeps finding matches in my database of people and sometimes it's a bad match. In this case, I kept seeing in Dave, a startling resemblance to a really bad boss that I had once. It was a jolt, because Dave seemed to be everything that my old boss wished he could be. He rode around on a big four-wheeler that had a surfboard rack built onto it, and before he left, we got introduced to the owner of the little café. This guy was very interested in our paddleboards and I got the feeling that we may have been the first paddlesurfers to find this place. He invited us in for a drink and I got the best café con leche ever.
If I ever have dreams about surfing, it will be about this place. And it will only be in dreams, because all of the photos I took there were lost on the ocean floor....

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