So today is surfing. I got a bit worried when I heard from the others who had walked on the beach that the water is pretty cold. The surf school at Casa Oro doesn’t offer wetsuits, but they put you in their rash guards. The split pea soup color of the rash guards, though not my best, made it plenty easy to identify me & Guy among the others. Dawn & Mike have decided against the lessons, but are going along to provide moral support and because Playa Maderas is supposed to be one of the absolutely most beautiful beaches around.
Transport to the beach is a 30 minute ride in the back of a truck sitting on a bench as we lumber over some truly awful roads. Back-breaking journey, but arrived at a lovely beach called Playa Maderas. Only downer was the wicked winds that kept blowing sand EVERYWHERE. Those same winds also cause the waves to pick up, so I confess that I was a little worried about this being my first lesson.
Our instructor Alfredo put us through our paces on the sand before we ever got near the water, but then we had to just go for it. The water was so cold it took my breath away on the way in, but after the first wave or two I got over it. Dawn & Mike said I managed to get up on about my 4th or 5th try, though getting off at that point was more of a face-plant banging my knees into the sand. After multiple tries, I not only got up, but stayed up, rode the waves all the way in, and managed to land on my feet at least some of the times when coming off the board. I felt like I had really achieved something. Alfredo said a pro photographer had taken about 100 shots of me, and I could buy them on a CD for $15, which was all great, but our bus was leaving at 2pm. Photog didn't show up at the hotel in time and we left (bummer), so I'll have to see what kind of photos Dawn & Mike got of me.
Mike had a "moment" while waiting for our return transport. His watch had been malfunctioning since the beginning of the trip by beeping on the hour and he couldn't figure out how to make it stop. He'd finally had enough, and after beating it against a fencepost, he smashed it between rocks until it was thoroughly dead. We were laughing & egging him on and when he was done, asked, "Feel better now?" He said he did.
We boarded for the return journey, and after being tired from fighting the ocean & board for hours, the drive seemed way worse on the crappy roads, but we got back with just enough time for a quick shower before departing with the group for Granada. Lu said I must have been really good, because the surf instructor made a point to tell her how well I'd done, and he doesn't usually do that. I was really pleased.
I really like this quaint little colonial town. It oozes charm. Since Dawn & I both booked the tour late, we had been told ahead of time that here & one other place we'd be in a separate hotel around the corner (La Casona De Los Estrada). The hotel everyone else is in here has a very posh lobby, so we were disappointed until we found out the rooms are a bit bare & dark. As it turns out, our lobby & room decor isn't anything to write home about, but we have a large sunny room, so I guess it all works out.