CENTROAMERICA: On The Way Home
Returning is a transition
We traveled south five months ago. It seems like years have passed. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to be able to drink water from a tap, flick on a TV, or go to the refrigerator for some cold eats. But we traded all of that willingly for things we’d never seen or done before, and imagined were there. When we left the States we had short hair long pants, clean shirts, shoes and socks, and now it seems that we’ve returned to the earth. The atmosphere works the change. The heat and humidity seems to slow even the clock. Days seem 48 hours long. Everything is a matter of delay and mass procrastination. We’re on wave time now. The pulse of the ocean dictates the day’s activities, and the days are lived one by one without much thought for the next.
We’ve actually been camped on a beach here for the last four days, although no one can remember. There’s a rock reef up a ways that’s been threatening to reach full potential ever since we arrived. The first afternoon 2’ to 4’ and enough to make us wait. The next morning 3’ to 6’. Pure glass in the early heat. The horizon lost in the shimmer of the warmth radiating off the ocean. Too warm to stay on the beach. Paddling out, I idly watch a lip crystallize and fall like a slow-motion film. Greg slowly eases into the next wave, and with no excess movement, slips in and out of the pocket, wheels over the back, slides off and sinks out of sight. They are perfect waves. A spot with no name. Within 20 kilometers in either direction there are probably several more. We’ll never know. But this one is ours. Greg surfaces, flips the water off his face, pulls back up onto the board and strokes back out towards the spot. My wave is the same.
After a while the small cylinders become monotonous. Without either of us saying anything to each other, our thoughts have coincided. Maybe it’s time to head north.
For the rest of the day we wander off separately. Each lost in his own state of mind. I walk slowly up the beach until our camp is out of sight, and sit in the shadow of the coco palm. I stare to the north and try to imagine myself back home. Why do I want to go home? Everything I was looking for is right here. But there’s an uneasy feeling that I can’t explain. All of a sudden I feel alienated. Stand up, sway for a minute and then stride off back to camp. Radical. When I get there, Greg has the car half packed already. I pitch in and in twenty minutes we’re done. Trash is burned. Careful to put everything as it was before we arrived. Tying boards on the car, we keep glancing up the beach at our reef. It’s a foot bigger than it was this morning, but at this stage our minds are made up. As we weave back out through a jungle track, we talk about everything we’ve done. The incredible waves. Some spots have been crowded with more and more surfers on the road. But there were others that could only be found through months of exploration and patience. Some of the traveling foreigners were ripping the spots off. Bringing with them the bad vibes, the ugly American attitude. A few are mellow, though, and act humble and appreciative of someone else’s land. Hopefully we were the latter. We finally bump onto the main road and reach cruising speed. The first time in over two weeks we’ve been able to drive faster than six or eight miles per hour.