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Published: March 24th 2007
Wow--Trinity let me write this blog! I'm so nervous... but she promised to edit it, so I can let go of my writer's block and get started!
After a day in this beautiful beach I told Trin "let's get land HERE!" The beauty of this piece of the Pacific Ocean was just overwhelming. Then we found out all about the development plans for the area and we started second guessing my suggestion. Basically, the entire area around Nicaragua’s most touristy place, the little town of San Juan del Sur is taking major steps in being the next Cancun (or Costa Rica). Yes, it might take 10 or more years, but the promise is not very appealing. "Se Vende" (for sale) and “Private Property” signs are everywhere Everyone wants to sell you something, usually their casa (house), finca (farm), lote (lot), etc. Around this area prices sky-rocket! Houses in the mountains around SJDS can go for as high as USD500,000 (well, at least that’s what they’re hoping to get!) Anyway, catering to the North American expat retirees and surfers is not exactly what we have in mind, so let's just focus on the beauty of these still "undeveloped" beaches and
not worry about whether or not we want to live here!
We arrived to Playa Madera with a shuttle from SJDS just to find "no availability" in most of the budget accommodations. Trin then took a walk along the beach to find Playa Madera Surf Camp. Basically, someone added a second floor with five small rooms over a small restaurant, called it a hotel, and here you go! Ten dolars per night and the room is yours... No electricity, hardly running water, and I will spare the description of the shower and pit toilet from you... but the beach. Oh, the beach. Both Trin and I have been to beautiful beaches in the past and both of us were taken by the natural rock formations and tide pools (which provided super convenient swimming places for Yacu), crystal clear water, white sand, and need I talk about the sunsets? These beaches also have good waves. We spent our days like you can imagine: doing nothing but swimming, taking walks, playing with Yacu on the beach, reading, making our meals, or simply resting. At the surf camp, I made friends with a very nice Swedish guy, Erick. He was in Managua
for some Banking Risk Management training with KPMG and took a week off afterwards to come down and surf. Lucky me, he was toting some fine red wine he purchased in Managua and chose to share it with me! (Poor Erick didn't have much choice...). Anyway, we spent two nights sitting on the second floor porch (you can see it in one of the pictures) drinking and talking. It was really nice. For our third evening in Playa Madera we decided to “go out for dinner” at the Hideout, another small surf camp about 200 meters up the beach and 50 meters up the hill. Dinner was interesting since there were some 14 folks from all over the world, including, yes.... three other Israelis--and for Trin, two other Berkeley grad students! Ben, Atar and Dror were doing their "post army" duty traveling in Central America. Dave, the owner of the Hideout, convinced us to move to his place (it wasn't difficult...) and the next day we got a ride with him to San Juan to stock up on veggies and fruits and moved our belongings to the Hideout. When we arrived we were the only guests and got the special
madera surf camp
this is where we stayed our first few nights on the beach. a busy restaurant by day, the place shuts down at sunset and then it's only you, the surfers, the stars, and mabe a few candles.
“suite”: a huge window with ocean view and an unfinished porch, all totally open... But why did we care? Dave had a fully equipped kitchen, which for us is huge score! We put to good use the blender (making yummy shakes with our fruits and even blending my salad one day I couldn't chew due to a sore in my mouth!) and freezer (preparing homemade pops for Yacu). Other than that, our routine continued pretty much the same. After a couple of days another couple came and we got to mingle with them a little bit and also to witness Dave getting so drunk it was pretty sad and unpleasant. Being drunk he revealed his homophobia ("but only toward men...") and this is when we found out he and Trin come from the same town... He is also from Southern California and actually grew up in San Clemente, the town where Trin was born! Trin's hunch about the area was correct--it really reminded her of So Cal and specifically of Orange County.
After a week on the beach we were ready to move on. Semana Santa (the Holy Week before Easter Sunday) had already begun, and SJDS is the
busiest place in Nicaragua and believe me, you don't want to be there for the holiday. Once again, our plan was to go to Costa Rica. We were so close to the border... but no. We were pulled to go back north. We missed Nicaragua's cities a little bit. Masaya and Leon. We had fond memories from our previous visits to these lovely places and decided to head back north and to spend Semana Santa up there. About our adventures during Semana Santa you will hear in the next blog. Until then, keep cool, take care and stay tuned!
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