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SLOtown USA vs Costa De Oro vs Playa Hermosa.
The Definitive Comparison
It is hard to say I live a life of routine, so a ‘day in the life’ type post won’t suffice. Instead, I offer a flurry of things that are/were dear to me from my three most recent locations, San Luis Obisbro, CA, Costa De Oro, and Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.
The main thing I miss from SLOtown right now is sandwiches. There are heaps of them everywhere and they are delicious. Although they are expensive, there is one place called High St. Deli that offers all its sandwiches for just 4 dollars and 20 cents between 420 and 5 pm. Yep, miss that. I also miss smooth roads for biking on, and bike lanes. Any type of lanes for that matter. For about far as a crow flies in an hours time ain’t nothin but dirt roads ’round here.
What I miss from Costa De Oro, the little beach pueblo north of here that is nothing but fisherman and vacation homes, is sipping agua de pipas, young coconut water, all day err’y day. We had a plethora of stubby little cocunut trees in the backyard where you could just reach up and pluck ‘em off. Could even crack ‘em open on the trunk right there if really thirsty. But a word of caution, cocunuts kill 8 times more people per year than sharks do. This is on account of the high frequency of earthquakes. The quakes (terremotos) shake off the cocos onto some poor little Tico just passin by or chillin in a most dangerously situated hammock. These skull cracking fruits, which some call ‘nature’s cannonballs,’ are not always as sweet as they seem….
What I will miss frome here, Shaka, Playa Hermosa, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Mother Earth, is the proximity to good surf in warm water, duhh, and a full kitchen and fridge pretty much all to myself. I’ve been cooking all sorts of stuff. When the surf is not “up,” the temperature of the stove and/or oven most likely is. Another thing I will miss from here is the rain. Although it makes everything wet and muddy, the sound and smell of the rain is relaxing, revitalizing, reassuring thirsts will be quenched. It also keeps the crowds away. While there is plenty of room for more people here, I am kinda selfish and like having it all to myself.
In summary, Shaka is probably the best out of the last three places I have dwelled. And I don’t like using surperlatives (words like best) but everyone knows this is a subjective blog post so I am sayin it. Shaka is the best! (No, but seriously, its pretty chill.)
So, October is supposed to be the peak of rainy season but in this first week it has only really poured down once, while light showers have sprinkled down here and there every so often. The locals are a bit worried because their wells might run a bit dry this year, but I have no complaints because I was able to surf two solid sessions today. There was a light offshore during the morning that made available some speedy low/tide barrels. The sun got hot early and my back was feeling burnt approaching my second hour in the water. The afternoon session didn’t have such a fortunate offshore but it was still clean and the swell filled in a bit more, offering overhead peaks up and down the beach.
My psuedo- routine is slowly taking form here, surf, eat, chill in the hammock reading, random activity (see what Carlos the maintenance dude is tooling around with and if I can help, maybe bike around, go to the store in search of produce or little Tico snacks, maybe flip through some Spanish note cards, draft blog posts, etc) surf again, eat again, and so on. You might think it would get lonely here by myself at night but the family dog, Vida, has taken a liking to me and has been chillin with me here just about every night. She pretty much does my job for me, yapping away at anything and everything that comes near. There are also plenty of jungle noises like cicadas, howler monkeys and off/road vehicles to keep me company at night.
Everyone says the same thing about this place, but I am part of that everyone and I will repeat it, ‘the people here are really nice.’ This place is teeming with smiles, even if you cannot hold a meaningful conversation in the native tongue (I am working on it). I know how to communicate to get what I really need, and I look forward to maybe someday having more philosophical conversations with the Ticos (regardless of the fact that the philosophy here doesn’t need to go much deeper than two words, Pura Vida). That being said, did you know that many nonverbal communication scholars believe that smiles were originally a sign of either submissiveness or threat? Such has been observed in several studies of the ‘higher level’ primates and is assumed to be true for our early human ancestors. This thought popped into my head today after about my 36th smile of the day and was kinda trippin me out because I am sure some of my smiles have at least a little bit of that original submissiveness in them. I am still the new kid in the village, you know. (Note, I got my bachelor degree in Communication and one of my last classes I took was Nonverbal Communication, not just completely pulling facts out of thin air. Matter of fact, the air here isn’t thin at all. It is rich with damp, beachy, rainforesty oxygen). Pure Life, Pure Life. Pura Vida.
Greetings from Shaka, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about what we are doing and hope to be doing in the comming months leading to 2012.
Its currently the rainy season so its nice to have a slow down. It lets us refresh ourselves, reflect on the past year and do some maintenance, as well as dream and imagine possible new things and ideas that we would like to implement in the near future. Here is a summary of things recently or in the near future
1. First off we had a good year so far. It was ou busiest year even in this down economy. Shaka as well as OHG is maturing and improving. We are excited to head into the new season right around the corner.
2. In August We started fixing and repairing surfboards, Our surfboard fleet was getting a bit dinged up and a our broken board pile was adding up. Shaka invested in the proper equipment and material to do proffesional board repair. The hassle, expense and delay of paying board fixers is now behind us. We now have Alejandro who has shown an instinctive talent in board repair and painting keeping us sharp
3. Ted a Volunteer with OHG has launched a campaign to get Shaka a SWIMMING POOL. You told me to hold you to it Ted, so here it is. I hear that he has already raised over half the money, so hopefully any one who visits shaka in 2012 will be able to enjoy this addition.
4. We plan on launching a project to turn the Rancho common area into a work of art incorporating Mayan, Polynesian and tribal style artwork. Headed By Chris. More info on this comming soon.
5. Our next OHG group is planned to take place in November just before the upcomming 2011 season.
6. Krista is putting together a yoga adventure package. All inclusive 7 day packages based at Shaka but daily yoga excursions to all the world class studios in the Montezuma, Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Hermosa areas.
Yesterday was what I like to think of as the perfect Shaka/Costa Rican day. I was up by 5:00, finished my first cup of coffee by 5:30, and on my way to the beach for dawn patrol (early morning surf session before the sun rises) by 5:45. The water was glassy and cool, the air was clear, and the sun had just begun to rise as I paddled out to the lineup. I was the only one in the water for a good 30 minutes, making it feel like I had the entire ocean to myself. I am always amazed by the constant intersection of natural power and beauty that occurs in the ocean. There is something very southing about the end result of this collision that can’t be found anywhere but the ocean.
After breakfast I helped Mo’e give a surf lesson to a family of 4 from Long Island, NY, with a set of 8-year-old twins. Talk about high energy! But I am fascinated by every aspect of surfing, and I know the teaching process will help my own surfing as well, so I stoked stoked to help out!
Later in the afternoon, Mo’e and I paddled out for a quick session before the sun went down. I made the transition to what my friend and past Shaka volunteer, Katie Berky, would call a more “sporty” board, moving from a hefty 7’6″ Malibu down to a 6’3″ shortboard. It’s a whole different ballgame riding a shortboard, almost like learning to surf all over again, but I’m already stoked by the different style of riding that comes with the smaller board. Lots of hard work is ahead of me for sure, but it’s safe to say I’ll never go back!
Off for a quick surf, and then some ding repair this afternoon
Hey everyone, John-Michael here, the new Shaka volunteer from Texas.
It’s my first time in Costa Rica and I couldn’t be more blown away by the natural beauty of the area! I’ve been here at Shaka for 3 weeks now and I can’t figure out where all the time has gone. Zip-lining in Montezuma, snorkeling in the nearby tide pools, trying some of the local flavor, and surfing every day probably explains some of it. JAWS 9 and 10 went off with huge success, bringing in 5 new participants and their families, along with a few returning veterans, to shred the waves of Playa Hermosa. I have been working in the adaptive field for a few years now, but the JAWS program with Ocean Healing Group was my first experience with adaptive surfing. I have never been so moved like I was that first day of JAWS 9. There is so much therapeutic power in surfing, I wish everyone could experience it first hand. I am incredibly thankful to Frank and Mo’e for letting me be a part of such a wonderful program, and I am excited to continue my involvement with Ocean Healing Group in the future!
A quick little note about the charming power of Shaka and Costa Rica: One of the couples staying with us has fallen in love with the area and Costa Rican lifestyle that they are planning to sell their house back in the United States and move down to Playa Hermosa permanently. How cool to think a vacation getaway could turn into a new beginning! Costa Rica really is an amazing place!
Well, I’m off to the beach for a quick surf session. Only 2 weeks left here at Shaka so I have to get in as much surf as possible!
Now that the new Pranamar is opened next to Shaka we will be adding yoga retreat packages. Its an amazing studio facility that Shaka will be able to take advantage of. I was doing some yoga surf googling and i found this video. It shows some interesting demonstrations on how to use yoga exercises to help prepare and improve various surfing situations.
There seems to be a never ending supply of wildlife around Shaka to keep us entertained.
My favorite has to be the Howler Monkeys. You will often see them up in the tree canopy surrounding camp. They are usually moving from tree to tree eating some leaves and fruits. Even when you don’t see them, you will definitely hear them. For an animal that is only about 20″ tall weighing at most 15 lbs the loud bellowing sounds are quite something. The males make a deep roar or bark and the females make a higher pitched softer sound, all thanks to a small hallow bone set beside their vocal chords that acts like a drum. These loud calls allow troops of Howlers to communicate with each other, and also with surrounding troops. The Howler Monkeys that call the area around Shaka home usually wake you up just before dawn, followed closely by the local rooster population. It really is a great way to wake up in the morning and get you motivated to throw on your suit and head down to the beach for a morning surf.
All Photos Taken by Kelsey on the Grounds of Shaka Costa Rica
Hi everyone, its Kelsey the new volunteer here at Shaka.
I’m a snowboard instructor from Whistler, British Columbia, Canada and this is my second trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been staying here at camp for just over a week and I couldn’t be happier! My first day here I took a quad to Montezuma with Brian, the previous volunteer, and it was a great way to get to know the area. On the second night a small earthquake shook the support beams of the rancho, my first earthquake ever! I’ve been surfing in the white wash, and waiting for the waves to calm down a bit to a size I can handle. The beach is so beautiful and has a nice sandy bottom, great for surfing or just relaxing and soaking up the sun. It took me two nights to master the Indo Board but I’ve got it down now; its a great way to keep fit and have lots of laughs with friends at camp once the sun goes down. I’ve biked into town to get groceries, including the most fresh and delicious pineapple I’ve ever had. Swinging on the hammock with a book in hand is a great way to relax after a day at the beach.
I have already met so many great people, both locals and expats, and I can’t wait to find out what Shaka has in store for me next!