A Bit of Surf, Anyone?

So life in Bahia Asuncion goes on at a slow, verrrry slow pace. It’s so laid back here that sometimes my love/hate relationship with this place kicks in and my brain switches back and forth: Wow, is this great. What the heck am I doing here? Oh boy another adventure! Omigod, what is there to do today? And on and on.

And as all these thoughts whirl around, we continue to pile up experiences. Some of them are as follows:

We go kayaking in the wide, wide open Pacific. Yes, we’ve kayaked on the ocean quite a bit now, but always behind islands or across short areas with land always in sight. But here, wow! Even though we still stay in sight of land, the wide open Pacific is truly mind-boggling, especially when you get out on it in a small boat that sits only a foot off the surface of the water. The swells are calm, but they’re large movements. They come at you at a steady pace and lift the boat right on top of themselves. Then they keep going while the boat drops down into a valley and suddenly you can’t see the horizon. Then it all happens again before you know it. And again and again.

But all of that is okay and our boat (and us) can handle it easily. It’s getting out to the swells that is the problem, and then getting back onto land again. It seems that everywhere on this coast there’s giant killer rocks and incredible beaches, all of which have enormous surf (we would call it big, very big waves) crashing onto shore. Consequently, we have to pick a day when the waves are milder (hardly ever happens), find an opening where the big surf is not present (hard to find), paddle the kayak through that opening and hope like hell to end up safely out in the flatter water. We can then cruise the normal swells for a few hours, carefully watching for the wind to change or come up. Finally we have to turn around and go back to shore again using the same routine. Find a break in the surf and paddle like mad, hoping the whole time that a big one won’t come up behind you. The objective now is to get to shore A.S.A.P. Phew. Even writing about it makes me nervous.

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Needless to say, we aren’t kayaking much. The sightings of whales, sea lions and a turtle on the one trip we have made so far will have to keep us happy for awhile. We prairie kids are going to stay landlocked and take pictures of waves instead of ride them.

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And there’s always new experiences with the ever-present “going to town”. The town is a strange place featuring everything from complete poverty to very nice Spanish style houses and government buildings. The culture is everywhere and amazes me everytime we ride our bikes down the main drag. For instance, here’s a stop sign. “Alto” means stop. So a four-way stop looks like this:

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Additionally, does anybody stop? Sometimes.

And, even stranger, stop signs for both east and west are on the same side of the intersection. What???

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And other sights in town also continue to give cultural jolts:

Jim shopping for a Valentine’s Day present.

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Our favorite restaurant, only open from noon to three, Saturday and Sunday. You should see the inside.

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Superstore:

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The town outdoor theatre (or bar or something?)

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My favorite store:

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And the experiences continue with our beach trips.  Every day, or whenever Jim sees me starting to get restless (what a man), he suggests an adventure.  The beaches around here are truly breathtaking and so we either go to our close favorite or one we haven’t been to before. At our new favorite place, a couple of things have happened. First, we’ve found ourselves a piece of heaven. Our cabin on the ocean. Our shelter. Our little secret spot that we’re not telling anybody else about. Take a peek.

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Yep, you’ve got it. We’ve found a large outcrop of rock right at the edge of the ocean. It is concave, therefore providing shade and free of garbage and tidal pools. It is dry and COOL. We have an awesome view of the whales, the water and huge crashing waves only ten feet away.  And two minutes down the rocks, we have our own completely deserted beach. Wow. Don’t tell anybody about it – it’s a secret.

 

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The next thing that has happened on this beach is that we have realized that we can just stay and play. The first day, we did our favorite activity, boogie boarding. Omigod, what a hoot! I mentioned before that these waves are so strong they can take your bathing suit off in a second. Well, yesterday, a huge wave caught my board when I didn’t yet have it at the right angle.  Think huge wall of water. Think freight train. With an enormous roar and incredible strength, the water took the board and pushed it down. Because I was holding onto it, it also pushed me down instead of letting me ride on top. Down, down and over! Huge flip. Upside down. Right side up. Drenched. Shocked. Wow.

Luckily, apart from the wall of water, the actual ocean I was standing in was only four feet deep. And Jim was three feet away. And I landed, after a 360 degree flip, on my feet. With my bathing suit still on. Another phew! And no, I’m not too old for this. It was just a little miscalculation.

Anyway, the next day, back at the cabin ( our rock) and our private beach, we took pictures instead of boogie boarding. I played in the shallows instead of flipping upside down in a monster wave. The surf was higher and the shade a delight. Drinking beer (ok, so it was water, but doesn’t beer sound better?), eating tostados and cooling off on the rocks- what a life. Today my relationship with this place is love. Who knows what it will be tomorrow?

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