Sunday, February 22, 2009

Constant surprises

Well I'm sitting on the back open air area of this amazing casa in Nicaragua, on the beach with an infiniti pool with nothing around other than the people that invited us over who happen to be big time Surf industry execs. Crazy how these things happen. Back to that later. So since the last blog a lot has happened. After leaving the worst concrete hotel room in the border town, finally in Nicaragua, we start driving towards a beach named Pochomil. Again on the search for waves & on the search of how to get there. Nicaragua has a lot of ox-cars or "pickups" and like all these countries is starkly different than the one before. First impression is how friendly people are, again. We don't have a gps or cell phones or internet to help us get around so we're constantly asking someone for directions, surely a few hundred times now. Constant interaction with someone new who reacts to the site of us in a variety of entertaining ways - kids yelling and waiving, people smiling, etc. So we are driving and get stuck in this city, leon, trying to pass through towards our beach destination. I stop and ask a woman for directions, working on the Spanish still, and she is responding in a way that let's us know it's not easy. This guy on a bicycle starts talking and tells us to follow him, he'll ride in front of us and show us out of town. Mind you it's 100 degrees out, midday and he peddles for a good 2 km's with a number of turns. He eventually stops & waives us up to tell us the rest of the directions, out of breath and sweating, so of course we give him a little money which he's amped on. Just typical niceness we come across almost everywhere. Next down the road we get waived over to the side of the road by the Nica police, which we haven't had any encounter with yet. Sure enough they come up with a "ticket" and a bribery situation. We get off pretty cheap and move on. Shortly down the road we see a couple hitch hiking, young couple that I saw ride by in the back of a local pickup truck while we were dealing with the police. He had a surfboard and they had their back packs. I drove past them, still a little rattled from the po po incident and probably drove about 5 Km's until I said to fish " I think we should give them a ride." I guess I felt like they were in the middle of nowhere and I guess I could use the good karma. So we pull over, shuffle some things around in the car and turn back to get them. They're over the moon to have us scoop them up. Turns out to be a young couple from Chile & they're headed to Pochomil too. So now there are four, they are really nice and pretty young about 21ish. We head to camp pochomil for a couple nights the camp site on the beach was probably the nicest set up we've had on the trip yet. The waves that were supposed to be good, never really turned up & we explored around the coast after breaking down camp and decided to head south towards popoyo, a couple hour journey off the coast and then back in and the chileans join us again. We land in Popoyo, a really small cool beach town, dirt road and a few places to stay that are all really cheap. We land at the popoyo surf camp, good vibes and prices....cost 2 dollars a night for a hammock or you can spring for a room with a bed for 5 dollars. The surf here is really fun and the people I met are really nice. Really fun times surfing 3 times a day and made new friends from the netherlands, a couple from france, a couple from england, a couple from germany (the german guy puts on and enters fingerboard skateboarding comps), and a girl from western australia. I was surfing with the aussie girl a bunch and hanging out too and while we were surfing these guys turned up in a boat and made some talk with her and invited her and friends over for dinner. Well she asked me if I wanted to go so I said sure and fish joined too. We headed for an adventure to meet these guys at another beach, driving on dirt bumpy roads, through rivers and we land on a beach but the guys aren{t there. There are these little groms from nicaragua though, all amped on surfing. They{re about 10 years old and all have 5 foot surfboards. I tell them whoever gets the best tube, because it was beach break barrels, gets a hat. One of the kids had a full on standup barrel and exit, it was better than my barrels. I have some great photos with those kids, we hung around for a while trying to figure out how to track down the other guys. I can{t upload pics until I get my laptop online. So we ask around this community on the cliffside about these guys, they tell us they are staying in another gated community so we start driving towards that. We get to the first security guard and let Naomi do the talking, shes blonde from australia and speaks pretty ok spanish so figured the guards might let us through. We get through gate #1 through some negotiating. we hit another gate and they{re reluctant to let us through but we talk our way in, now we are driving around these amazing houses but dont know where these guys are. A security guy sees us cruising and comes to talk to us and knows the guys and drives us to their house. The house is amazing, infinit pools, huge massive thatched roof, etc. And the guy just happens to be Bob Hurley and 2 other guys, one is Steve who started a bunch of magazines - water, waves,etc and their friend Mark. These guys all live in Newport on the beach in the 60s street. Funny that I live 1 mile away from them in costa mesa but took being in nicaragua to meet them. They have a cook, the full on rich lifestyle going on and they welcome us in for dinner, pool, etc. Of course at some point it comes up that Im friends with Dj who works for Bob, hes stoked on the connection. Hes interested in my travels, makes me show him pics which he loves and we talk surf. The funny thing was that the night before, my wetsuit jacket was stolen from our hostel. The water in nicaragua with the strong offshores has been chilly. I was telling bob about my jacket being stolen, only in the context of telling him how stoked I was to be on this trip and was saying that even though my jacket was stolen and i was bummed for a little bit, I couldnt stay mad because I was here in nicaragua surfing these great waves and having this great adventure. Sure enough he walks away and comes back with a jacket of his, that he gives me. Tells me its a prototype for a new one theyre coming out with. So I get robbed the night before and get given a new on the next day. Its cool how things like that work out because I have been giving people things along the way - hats, tshirts, stickers, rides, etc and I was bummed my thing got stolen and then I met someone who could hook me up for a change. Another generous gift was that Naomi has this terrible surfboard she bought in puerto viejo costa rica and she got ripped off on a repair job of the fin plugs...the guy didnt fix them and one of them was loose and couldnt actually be fastened in. Horrible board, terrible condition and when we showed it to bob, he kind of laughed and before they left he gave her his brand new Al Merrick surfboard....this thing has no pressure dings, no nothing and is perfect. She is over the moon about it obviously. Another similar siutation to mine, I get robbed and I get hooked up, she gets taken advantage of and in return gets an insanely nice gift. If I hadn{t been robbed, I wouldnt have gotten the jacket and if she didnt have such a crappy board he wouldnt have given the other to her. Funny how things work out sometimes. The night has more stories that are in my journal but We stayed the night at his place and surfed the next morning before they left. Back to popoyo to hang out with all the travelers, its fun talking to everyone about their travels. You learn a lot, especially being from the states and realizing what a big impact our presidential elections has on everyone and how close everyone follows it. The surf in popoyo was really fun, nicaragua boasts offshore winds everyday all year. Popoyo is a fun right with a better left, breaking over a rock shelf. The water was oddly a little cold though, we needed a little rubber to stay in for hours. This morning fish ran out of money so we decided it was time to move on, we might be heading to costa rica today. After popoyo it really made me realize I want to be traveling alone and not have someone else to worry about what they want to do. If he wasnt here I probably would have stayed for another week or 2. But Im also looking forward to costa rica and hopefully getting some waves, especially our potential first stop at Roca Bruja. Im also looking forward to ending my travels with Fish and doing my own thing. Nicaragua is a really cool, cheap place and I plan on returning. Nos Vemos, Pasa buen dia!


  1. It all sounds so epic Jesse. That's just the way it is when you get out there and live if you ask me. It will definitely be cool to get on your own for a while. I'm gonna e-mail you the e-mail of some friends with a place in Dominical. I'll just put you all in touch but you might be a ble to score a house-sitting gig for a little while if you decide you want to chill somewhere for a little bit. Keep up the blog man. I can't wait to hear about Costa Rica. The cool thing about our Property there is that it is close to Nicaragua which has always appealed to me. It sounds like you scored there. Peace.

  2. Hey Jesse !! .. You're living the life!! I lost your blog URL for a while but I'm back up to speed. I hope you had a fantantic birthday and I look forward to your next post :-)