Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Costa Rica: Playa Tamarindo

Since sleeping in seems to constitute getting up at 8, we had plenty of time for breakfast and pool lounging before the appointed hour of noon when we would pile in the car for another adventure.  We saw a sundog while we were swimming which was something new for me.

Surfing was on the itinerary for the day so we headed for Playa Tamarindo.  Unfortunately, we did not opt for a GPS, and the signage here is piss poor so we ended up taking a surprise detour to Playa Grande- a move that tacked an additional half hour onto our hour and 15 minute trip.  Between the intermittent rain, intermittent farm animal crossings, and consistently bad driving, I could have really benefited from a xanax by the time we arrived but had to settle for some yogic breathing.

I know Tamarindo is a tourist trap and probably a legit surfer's nightmare but it was perfect for us- we took one spin down the main street to check out all the surf shops and then parked the car next to the beach.  The mothers were as happy as clams, culling the beach for shells to put in a ziplock bag and stick in a drawer back home so Emily and I headed to the Witch's Rock Surf School shop and rented some boards from their super nice employees.

This was our first time surfing and after being straight up abused by the Pacific on our first couple of attempts, we started to get the hang of things. I'm not saying I wouldn't have benefited from a lesson but by the end I was standing on the surfboard and left the ocean conscious- two giant successes if you ask me.

Our surf fest was interrupted at one point because a guy nearby had gotten pulled out in the riptide and his girlfriend was frantically trying to get people to go get him.  Two people surfing next to us went out to help him but their Baywatch rescue fantasies were quickly dashed when they got pulled out too.  I could see this was going nowhere fast and girlfriend was about to have a panic attack so I ran up to the surf shop to ask if perhaps there was a beach patrol or someone who might come assist before every novice surfer on the beach was sucked out into the ocean trying to help this dude.  She said they didn't have a lifeguard or anything but she would go send one of the instructors down.  I ran back down to the beach where girlfriend had found another group of people walking on the beach and was asking them to swim out and get him.  These guys actually knew how to surf and seemed to have a clue so two of them borrowed our boards and out they went.  The surf instructor came running on in too & eventually all 6 of them got back to shore.  Girlfriend then proceeded to pummel the shit out of her boyfriend and I thought we might have to get someone to rescue him again.

After the sideshow cleared out we took our boards back in the water and Aunt Dawn joined us.  And because our crew can't go anywhere without some sort of slip, trip or injury- on her second attempt, she jammed her fingers with the board.  With that she closed the chapter on her surfing career and bought us a trip to la farmacia for un Ace bandage.

So all in all it was quite an exciting experience!  Even though I am definitely going to be black and blue tomorrow, I thought surfing was awesome and something I'd like to do more of.  I was so happy from the thrill of something new and the half a corona I drank (I plead ignorance to the vehicular open container laws of Costa Rica) that I wasn't even upset to be back in the car again.

Since clearly it isn't safe to take us anywhere, we decided to just pick up pizza and beer (still waiting on that authentic Spanish food) and have a quiet night in.

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