September 4th, 2008 – by: Xstacey
The next morning I rose earlier at 9ish in order to enjoy a full day of swimming, and I and an English girl Anna headed to the hostel beach to relax and sunbathe. There is absolutely no better way to wake up than an early morning swim under a warm inviting sun, and we played in the waves while dolphins jumped in the distance and pelicans flew overhead. The beach is notorious for washed up dead sea-lions due to the scrupulous practice of local fishermen killing them when they become entangled in their nets. There was one dead one presently rotting on the beach, giving off a putrid fishy smell, and a few others buried in mounds I originally took to be sand crab homes, as there was an excess of these crawling around them.
The sand crabs were everywhere, popping up from their underground holes and skittering super fast past you in their hilarious sideways manner.
After our morning sunbath we lunched at the hostel and a large group of people congregated to go surfing through one of the local agencies. Around 8 of us went but luckily Anna wanted lessons as well, so I wasn’t the only newbie in the group. The agency was run by a half American half Peruvian guy named Robbie, who piled his ancient 1980 beater brown car full of people and surfboards, and we headed to the beach in the next town for our day in the waves.
Surfing is actually quite easy in theory, but in practice much harder, naturally: you have to first hit the wave at just the right time and with enough speed to get caught by it, and then spring up onto your feet from your belly, ensuring your push power is even enough to keep the board steady. Once standing it’s a matter of balance and agility to remain so until the wave brings you in.
After many many failed attempts to stand, I finally managed to do a mini surf for a few feet before toppling off. Success! I know I most likely will never be a surf pro, but this tiny victory could at least give me some conversation fodder for later that evening in the usual surf bar banter. We practiced for roughly 2 hours, and I managed a few more mini stands and numerous leg bruises, true badges of honor in learning this sport.
Once we headed back to the hostel I was rolling on that high you only get when you try something new and exotic and have the tiniest bit of success. The group of us celebrated with more cuba libres, and after a quick refreshing shower the night began.
Most people opted for dinner at the hostel but I and an Irish lad Oisin decided instead to head to town for some local seafood. The restaurant we chose came highly recommended for fish and with due cause: Despite the name of El Tuno the place was fresh out of its namesake, substituting instead a lovely light whitefish of sorts. Baked to perfection and rolled in crunchy almonds, the fish was boneless, melt in your mouth delicious. After dinner it was business as usual in the hostel bar, with the crowd slightly thinner and more chilled than the nights previous. After a few more – u guessed it –Cuba libres, I crashed out at around 1.