Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Letters From Nicaragua: Part 23 - The Orange Board And The French Guy

As I stood there on the beach, readying myself to make sure that these guys knew that to get to our women they'd have to go through me, I realized that the deadly set of car keys held as a weapon in my clenched left hand, were actually a small keyring and a plastic fob key. I was not certain how much damage could be inflicted on my enemy, much less how I was going to draw blood across my chest with this pathetic thing. It was then I heard a voice behind me and turned to see Sam and Miguel walking up from their surf session and noticed they were waving Hello and speaking in Spanish to the people approaching from the village. As I turned back and saw them up close, I realized that this was a mom and dad and their three children heading up the beach to play in one of the tidal pools. I don't know, they sure looked menacing from a distance. We turned and headed back to the van which, thankfully was still protected from vandals by our guards and several horses that had decided they wanted a piece of the action.
I decided that I preferred places like Magnific Rock and our secret beach. I wanted to have at least one more surf session before we left this land of endless blue water and headed back home to brown sloppy mush.
We rested up at the Hotel Popoyo, while the kids played in the pool. I enjoyed the food and drink there, but as I had already learned, I had to pick the right foods to eat.

While it was easy to just eat right there at the Hotel, some of the gang wanted to check out what else was around. Me? I could not imagine there being anything else around, except cows, horses, and shacks. I was wrong however, as Sam drove us in the other direction down a narrow rutted trail which ended at some kind of crazy scene: A little surf town was there. rental rooms, hostels, places to eat, and once again the strange image of a guy watching a big flatscreen TV in an open porch room with a dirt floor.

What surprised me was there was a real surfshop there. Well, real compared to what I had seen so far, still something far different than what most people are used to.
A French guy owned the place and we spent quite a bit of time admiring his boards. He had the Popoyo break across the street and a stream behind his store. It was so cool, yet at the same time, it looked like a falling down shack. Miguel suggested that this might be the place to leave my board behind. I had been thinking during the trip that I might just leave my board in Nicaragua, instead of paying to fly it back and deal with customs. I thought there was no way anyone would be interested in a surfing paddleboard around Popoyo, but the owner was and we came up with a deal that made everyone happy. He was smiling, and I'm sure that he had some big plans for the big orange board, I only wish that someday I get to see a photo of him riding it on the outer reef.
My plan was to go back to Magnific rock with the guys and get one last session in before we returned to Managua, only this time I was going to rent a longboard and see if I still had any longboard skills left in me. The restaurant had a little rental shop inside and they had the best collection of rental boards I had seen anywhere in Nicaragua.
It was a great plan I thought. While the ladies packed up, the men would enjoy a final ride at this beautiful spot. We piled up in my truck, with only the bare essentials and headed up to Magnific rock. I didn't care what the tide was like, how big the waves were, I was going to paddle out and at least enjoy the beautiful blue water, and the fantastic rock formations all around.
We got to the top and the guys jumped out, grabbing their boards, and me wandering over to the store to see if the board I saw earlier was still available. It was and I was feeling that excitement of getting back in the water and making today the best day of the trip. "I'm sorry Senor, the boards are all rented out," said the nice young woman behind the hostess kiosk. "But, there are over 20 boards here!", I exclaimed. "A company has reserved all of the boards today for their guests," she replied.

And that is how it came to be, that on our last, most awesome day in a surfer's paradise, that I sat watching with surfboards all around me, and no camera, while my friends played in the surf. It wasn't until weeks later that it occurred to me how much it would have been worth to me to surf those final three hours rather than sitting watching. I think I could have bought a new board and given it to a kid on the side of the road and I would still have been ahead.....bring your own board...

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