It’s Saturday morning, and clouds have brought the temperature down a bit. There has been a tropical storm brewing off the coast for the past few days, but it doesn’t look like it will bring more than some rain. It rained very briefly yesterday, and the day before, in some parts of Puerto. I was told that it was the first hint of rain since last October. I suppose their winters are like Austin summers, when it comes to drought.
Currently, i’m sitting under a wooden roof with clay shingles, in the La Barca surf house. (A very nice hostel, where many of the people affiliated with Oasis school are staying.)
There is construction happening on the roof of the main building, but every lull in hammering and drilling reveals a pleasant chorus of chirping from the surrounding trees. An occasional breeze keeps me from leaving my chair, to turn on the fan. The pool is ever inviting, and it's not uncommon for a conversation in the nearby patio to drift between Spanish, English and French dialects.
I’m halfway through my Surf/Spanish package with Oasis, and it’s going to be difficult to document all the daily happenings leading up to now. WiFi is no longer available where I’m staying, so I haven’t had time to put together blog posts for each day like before. Instead, I will attempt to share the highlights, some photos, and perhaps a couple videos to get us caught up to speed.
About a week after I had settled into my new room, there was some kind of dispute between the property owner, of the bungalow that I was staying in, and the family that rented the room for me to stay. I’m sure the details were explained to me quite clear in Spanish, but all I could gather was that the room had been double booked, and a miscommunication in the contract would leave me on streets at the end of the week.
My host family, kind as they are, asked if I would be willing to stay with a cousin who lives nearby, to avoid escalating the conflict with the property owner. I agreed, and began packing up my things. The cousin’s residence includes a young couple with a 1yr old son, and now myself.
They live in a nice new house, and have been incredibly welcoming. The only downside is that they don’t have WiFi set up yet. As mentioned earlier, this has drastically limited my ability to update the blog. On the bright side, it’s also prompted me to spend much more time at La Barca, and hanging out with people I’ve met here.
I spoke to the school about moving out of the host family's place, and into the hostel, in order to have WiFi access, and it looks like that will not be a problem. I'll update again, when that move is complete.
To help with transportation, I rented a moto (scooter) from the original host family for the duration of my time here. They're charging me next to nothing for it, since I had to move around so much. I also borrowed a guitar that they had. It had been collecting dust in the closet, and had a missing string, so I’m sure it won’t be missed. I combed the neighborhood, and after heeding a tip from a fellow traveler, found a music shop and bought some new strings. The guitar is old, and the frets/action are pretty rough, but it will do. It’s been great having something to strum while i’m here.
There is no shortage of things to like about Puerto Escondido. Breathtaking beaches, delicious cuisine, rich culture, and more. But beyond the natural beauty and laid back vibe of this beach town, I’ve come to love the community that it fosters, at least in the area where I'm living. Having only been here a couple weeks, I’m pleasantly surprised to have regular run-ins with people I know while at the beach, or walking to dinner.
Whether it’s a fellow traveler, that I met a few days before, a restaurant owner who makes the best pizza in town, or a local surf instructor that I pass on my moto while riding home, I can’t seem to get through a day without bumping into someone I know. I suppose this is something that people from small towns enjoy frequently, but for me it’s a pleasant change after living in larger cities where such serendipitous moments are a rarity.
Last weekend a new taco bar opened up called Pinches Tacos. It’s owned by the family of one of the surf instructors, and has quickly become the go-to spot for food and drinks. The grand opening included a DJ, much laughter, drinks, tacos, and water guns that were filled with beer by the end of the evening. Our group stayed late, and enjoyed a few rounds on the house before we loaded into a large van, and headed down to Zicatela, to a club called Barfly, where we (I pretended) to dance until 4 or 5am the next morning. The bar was packed, and I saw some of my host family, as well as a Spanish teacher there. (another example of how I always seem to find people I know, out and about!)
Nights that last until 5am are not something I can do often, but it was a great experience to add to the memory bank, and I’ve found that when such things happen, it’s more fun to be in the story, than it is to only hear about it.
I’m taking the day off from surfing today, but having the daily option to hit the waves has been a dream. This past week, I was able to visit a new beach that is about 30 minutes away called Tierra Blanca.
The shoreline seems to stretch forever, and we were the only ones in sight. It’s a beach break, so the waves break with sandbars rather than rocks, like the other beaches we usually go to. The upside to this is that there are less rocks to cut your feet on. The downside is that the waves break more sporadically and do not start in any given location, so you cannot paddle around them.
I was so exhausted after this session, it felt like it was my first day here. It was cool to go somewhere new though, and a good reminder how every beach is different, and you have to always adapt your technique to match the environmental changes.
In addition to surfing, the school offers some activities during the week. These occur in the evenings, and are usually fitness related (targeting core, balance, breathing, or endurance) to help us perform better on the water. They also have a surprise event each week, which is always different.
So far, I’ve taken yoga, cross fit, and an APNEA class (which deals with breathing exercises, and I think is usually used for scuba diving training) Last week, the surprise event was a cooking class, on how to make Mole Negra. I was more interested in eating the finished product than preparing it, but it was a lot of fun, and delicious when it was time to sample the finished product.
This week, the surprise event was a trip to La Barra Iguanario, where we saw a bunch of iguanas, turtles, parrots, crocodiles, and a baboon (which was confiscated by the police at some prior point, and taken here because they didn't know what to do with it).
There were a lot of people going and truck space was limited, so I offered to ride separately on the moto. My friend Mackenzie decided to join, as a ride on two wheels was sure to be more adventurous. The moto isn’t a pretty machine, and it’s not a well functioning machine, but it hasn’t failed me yet. After clearing its throat a few times, it sputtered to life and we rolled out, following behind the rest of the crew who were sitting in the back of the pickup truck.
The ride was not without surprises. The moto stalled on the main road, but I was able to get it started again while rolling. One the way back, the adventure continued with a hint of rain, two pairs of police lights in the rear-view mirror (The cops passed us, to my relief), and a short chase by rabid (presumably) street dogs.
Fortunately, we got back home with no incidents, and plenty of good laughs.
*** I began writing the post above last weekend, and here we are, another week later, before I've had a chance to finish it! ***
Spanish classes are going well too, but between the 3 hours of language class, 2+ hours of surfing, meals, and nightly activities, I'm in a constant state of exhaustion and bliss. My first month will end this coming Friday, and I'm not quite ready to leave. More updates will come sooner than later.
Howdy Planet was created in April, 2017. The name tips its hat to my Texas roots, and is a play off "lonely planet", since I too have a deep desire to explore this beautiful rock that we call home. This site is a place where I can document and share my upcoming travel experiences. It is for the enjoyment and inspiration of others, and for myself, as such memories will undoubtedly fade over the months and years ahead.