Thursday, March 26, 2009


This place is awesome; it has everything to offer. There are colorful birds that squak all night.
One says 'hola' and the other, our favorite, just says 'goddammit!!!'
There is a monkey named Max who, though tethered, seems to have the best time hanging around in his tree and riding the local dog around. Camp wouldn't have it...
What a fun little bastard to have next door.
He bites!
I'm not sure if I'd want a barrel full, but we had a fun time with this fellow.
This place also has waves; good ones.
IMG_2189 When it's BIG, the inside wave shuts off, making the outside reef break your option. This gets big; they tow in with jet skis. Luckily for us, it wasn't that big. We don't have any surf pics as we're usually both out there at the same time, but we're having a damned good time out there. The water is cold here, wetsuit cold.
It's strange to put a wetsuit on when it's 90 degrees out and you're in the tropics, but with board shorts, you can only surf for about 45 minutes max, getting out shivering.
We camped at a restaurant here,
IMG_2169 and spent the hours not surfing going on walks
and reading a bit... Three nights, great waves, nice people, but once we ran out of money, we had to head south where they have banks and grocery stores and more waves. Cheers

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada is a lot like Leon which is a lot like other colonial cities own here. There are cool buildings with great architecture
IMG_2133 and a lot of churches. This place is on the enormous Lago De Nicaragua but it is too polluted to swim in, so... Not much for us to do here but get caught up, spend money, and drink some Tonas. There are hordes of whities, from oldies to backpackers to couples to spring breakers. We stayed here two nights; just long enough for Alex to find a future girlfriend,
and to find out where to go next. Of course, we had to enjoy a few nights out on the town, where we met people from Atlanta, D.C., New York, Sweden, all sorts...
We found a hot little room with two fans at a hotel that didn't have a problem with the dog and caught a massive procession one night where tons of people walked about the town taking turns carrying a huge, heavy looking Jesus statue and beating on drums.
Existing in this heat without an ocean or lake or river to jump in is a bit stupid, so we're off to the beach......

Friday, March 20, 2009

Border Cross Hassle

This was probably the least fun day of the trip. We knew it was going to suck.... It did.
We crossed into Honduras, after a border crossing nightmare. We forgot to hit the ATM on the way, and halfway through our paperwork realized we did not have the cash. It was about 200 degrees out and with abrasive "helpers" in our faces, it was very frustrating.
It became apparent that I would have to take a cab back to a town where there might be a cash machine, while Garen stayed back to help Camper guard the truck from shifty border loiterers. My tiny 3 wheel cab instead took me out to the desert, where I figured to get shot after having my PIN # interrogated out of me. Turns out, the cab driver lives out there and wants to take his Tercel for the remainder of what he says is going to be a long drive. 25 miles later, we found a Scotia bank, and I made it back to the truck safely.
Immediately after crossing into Honduras, we had to pay a cop $20 for not wearing t shirts while driving. There was simply no talking to this hard ass.
It was a long day for all of us.
We were pulled over 6 times in Honduras all in all, usually to check and see if we had a fire extinguisher and emergency triangles. No triangles here, so we convinced the cops that they were buried under all our stuff and it was too damned hot to unload everything. So they flat out asked us for cash. And sometimes for something to drink.
Of course they were given nothing.
Wearing a shirt in the car sucks.
Crossed the other Honduras border into Nicaragua about 3 hours and infinity potholes later. This one was much smoother.
We drove through Leon and out to the beach at Ponoloya. The drive was pretty enough, but bad road conditions plagued us the whole way.
We stayed at Playa Roca, an overpriced shit house.
The were no waves so we split the next morning.

Las Flores

The plan was to camp out on the beach at Punta Mango, where there is an uncrowded right, but the camping options sucked, so we stayed at Las Flores near Cuco for two nights. The swell was very minor, providing us with mushy two to three footers that would occasionally jack up only to close out. We surfed three or four times anyway for lack of better things to do.
We camped behind these trees, neighboring a fancy white person resort. There was no ping pong and beer was ridiculously overpriced, so they were useless to us.
We briefly chatted with some other campers, but mostly just read, relaxed, and ate.

Playa Sunsal

Well, since we last spoke, much has happened. We drove a few Ks up the road to Sunsal and stayed for the next 7 nights. The surf was INCREDIBLE!!! There were many 3 session days and even a couple watch-from-shore big wave days.
IMG_2060/>The perfect right point break in 80 degree water is the kind of wave you dream about in SF when it is balls cold and everything is blown out. This wave is clean (usually), and although crowded on the weekends, fairly punishing for mistakes. There were broken boards and arms (not ours), and one guy drowned while we were there! Another got sucked out to sea (not to return) at K59 up the street during our stay. Garen snapped a leash and went for a nice swim, but we survived. On our first day, we dropped off a total of four previously injured boards at the Hospital por tableaus at La Libertad. They did a great job on the repairs for super cheap.
We rested much at our Roots campsite. Here there are showers, power, fun traveling characters, and all for $3 per night.
The place was run by a couple young Rasta looking fellas, one of whom was named Monkey whose dog even had dreads. We hung out with many cool folks, and one of our favorites was this dude Sebastian, king of the slack line.
Also there were cool people from Jersey, BC, Alaska, Ireland, London, Canada, NYC, Australia, and CA.
There was a major tide-changing election in El Salvador on Sunday. We were not sure what to expect, as the government banned alcohol for the entire weekend to help curb violence. One day sooner might have helped an American chap who, on Thursday, got shot on the beach following a drunken brawl with some locals. It was late, we were tired, and even Camper slept through the shots.
There was a ping pong table at our disposal next door. I systematically ruined everyone in sight.
There were crowds on the weekends and the lineup inflated accordingly. We saw a few skirmishes, a couple minor fights, but nothing too hairy. The left around the corner is a different story. Sorta reminds you of SC
All in all we were very stoked on this place. Even while things happened around us, we never felt the slightest bit unsafe. It is a great place that I will certainly return to.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

El Salvador!!

The crossing at Alvarado was time consuming a bit nerve racking and a bit of a hassle, like most. But it was free! Not a dime spent, and speaking of dimes, El Salvador uses American currency; how fun!!
This is the smallest of Central American countries, and before we knew it, we were at the beach and there were waves, We stopped at a few before finding what we wanted at El zonte; cheap camping
IMG_2010right on the point.
The surf wasn't perfect, but good enough for us; just happy to be out there. We stayed here at Raul's for two nights and have headed south to check any number of beaches around the town of La Libertad, where I am typing from right now. We just dropped off four boards at the surf shop for repair and are heading back up north to camp and surf for a few more days. Full of groceries and diesel!
Hotter than Haydes near the coast... but everyone here (except for a hairy weirdo outside) seems nice and we both have good feelings about El Salvador.
Til next time,

Montericco Guatemala

Driving south from Sipicate, we tried to hit two spots, Puerto San Jose and Istapa, but had a hard time finding a place to stay and both places looked rather dodgy, so we kept on, towards Montericco, where we heard there was surf. We showed up to nil save for a small beach break, which was a bummer. We floundered about in the water for a while sans boards and stayed in a little bungalow for the night. We were eaten by mosquitos but slept well so we could get up and drive south!
Just out of Montericco there's a ferry that takes about 50 miles of slow road driving out of the picture.
125Q ($14)
This seems to be it for Guatemalan surf, so we set out for El Salvador..


Sipicate is said to have good surf, so we drove a few hours that way. While a bit tough to find a place to camp, it is great to see the Pacific again. We found a place to stay next to a swimming pool FULL of Guatemalan kids and immediately dug the surfboards out and got in the water (the ocean!).
Time didn't make me any better at surfing and our bodies are sore from using different muscles, but words can't say how nice it is to be back on the coast; where we'll try to stay from here on out.

To the big lake!

The drive to Lago de Atitlan was uneventful (save for a fatal big rig accident) and only took a few hours. We stopped a bit to check the views.
We camped in Panajachel and decided to take boats to see the other spots as the roads around the lake are slow going and steep. Also, the road to the coast leaves from Pana. We heard this was a great fun town to see but it wasn't as great as we expected. We stayed two nights, hitting the same restaurant for Plato tipical each night. We did manage to meet a bonafide shiteater, seen here feasting on diapers:
By day we took the boats around the lake to different towns...
Camper did not like the boats rides.
San Marcos was said to have all the rocks to jump off of, and they did.
Alex flipped:

Camp swam:
We stayed at a liitle spot on the lake for an unreasonable 100Q per night, which might have been reasonable if we were skaters
IMG_1919 We decided that while the lake was beautiful, we were looking for salt water, where there are waves. Off to the coast....

Coban to Antigua Guatemala

We finally got out of Coban, with brakes!
Good thing, too as Guatemala is one hilly place. We'd be in trouble. Brakes or not, I ran over a dog; his fault. He ran alongside the truck for awhile thinking about it, faked us a few times, then jumped right out in front and right under the truck. We felt him bouncing about the running gear and saw him scrambling to get out of the way of the truck behind us, he lived!
The drive through Guatemala city was hectic
and we got turned around a bit before finally finding our way down the LONG steep hill into Antigua..
Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes and full of tourists. There is good coffee and fun things to do about town for a bit before you've seen everything. Unfortunately, Alex ate a questionable falafel and was down with some sort of stomach parasite the whole time we we there. After a visit to the doctor, a bunch of pills and a week's time, he was okay. He read 5 books; one a day. I explored the place at night by myself and met a ton of great people; had an absolutely wonderful time. Always nice to hang with Californians. During the day Alex and I got out and saw a few movies with subtitles in espanol, exchanged and bought books, and drank good coffee.
Luckily, we camped for free the whole time in a big lot where the police park their vehicles and where some live.
Aside from a work crew burning a bit of it one day, it was an awesome spot to stay in the middle of the city.
We were planning on hiking the nearby and active Pacaya Volcano, but by the time Alex was feeling better, we were both ready to get out of there; it had been a week without a swim or any exercise save walking around.