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Costa Rica: Day 3

Posted on 12-02-2010 by Elise Joan

5 things I'm grateful for today: 1) every French teacher, Yoga teacher, and teacher of anything I know, who has ever touched my life. 2) thai tiger balm 3) machete sharpeners 4) my rip curl rash guard 5) fresh coconut milk from the tree outside my cabana

Costa Rica: Day 3

8:00 am- woke up this morning a bit groggy & violently scratching my left wrist. I looked down to find I had 2 rather large, somewhat scary looking mosquito bites.  I looked UP to find that the very romantic looking mosquito net that had been wrapped around my bed had somehow been pushed off to the side.  I must've had a tumultuous nights' sleep to cause such disarray... (which makes sense, since I vaguely recall a dream about being chased by a giant, menacing SoyJoy bar).  I also remember, somewhat cavalierly NOT applying bug spray last night.  As I sit up, I start scratching my forearm... I look down, and even without the aid of my contacts, I can make out at least 20 bites from wrist to elbow.  Perfect.  As I leave my cabana to go machete my breakfast of coconuts and starfruit, Jonathan (the tall handsome resort owner) must notice even more bites because he looks at me and slyly says "ahhhh you must be very sweet!".  Excellent. Mosquitos love me.  I'll add them to the list which already includes pervy geriatrics in flourescent speedos, and greasy european tourists who always seem to resemble french pedophiles.

Fortunately, my new British friend Chris (the hilarious half of the British couple I met yesterday) is at breakfast and has some tiger balm he acquired in thailand, where they SWEAR by it for mosquito relief.  I slather it on, and after the initial burning sensation (worrisome) I start to feel a cooling relief (pleasant).  After Jonathan gives me some pointers on sharpening and effectively wielding a machete (FYI... These pointers include how to get one home to LA in my checked luggage) I sit down again to find that Jamie and Katie (the supermodel half of the British couple I met yesterday) have joined for breakfast, and we converse about our journeys in Mal Pais.  Katie laughs as I explain how I have developed the bizarre habit of inadvertently speaking to the locals in a strange fusion of Spanish, English and French (the language I studied but never perfected in high school).  'Franglish', you might call it. I actually contemplated taking snapshots of people's faces as they try to decipher my Franglish.  I suspect this would make an interesting coffee table book.

7:00pm- after sheathing my machete this morning,  Jamie and I headed to what has become our own private yoga studio out in the open air between the pool and the jungle.  We use Jamie's iPhone to rock out to 'Mike Snow' and 'Florence and the Machine' as we Vinyasa our little hearts out.  Sweaty and serene, we dive into the pool to cool down before biking to St. Theresa for our first surfing lesson.  On our cycling journey into town, we are serenaded by a un-ending chorus of "Hola Chicas" and "Muy Bonito" and.... Some other 'salutations' which I couldn't understand because I'm QUITE sure 'Dora the Exolorer' never said them.

When we arrive at the surf shop, we meet our fearless leader. LoLo.  Now..... It is nearly impossible for me to describe in words, or even photos, the sheer and sublime AWESOMENESS that is LoLo.  For starters- he is a Frenchman who lives in Costa Rica, so he TOO speaks something along the lines of Franglish, and I instantly feel we are kindred spirits.  LoLo also speaks so rapidly and with such a thick accent, that you must be quite quick-witted to follow anything at all he is saying. personally... I love this. AND i love that he named his son Neo- after the Matrix.  LoLo is incredibly tan, and has hair like Richard Simmons. If Richard Simmons never used conditioner and was violently electrocuted.  LoLo says this helps protect his brain in case his board ever hits him in the head.  and with that.... We hop in his SUV and drive 20 min. away so we can surf Hermosa Beach, which is renowned as one of the 'Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches' in the world.  When we arrive, I understand why.  First we have to carry our boards through the jungle (true story) to Reach the surf.  When we emerge, I am standing on the pristine white sand of the wide expanse of the most stunning beach I have ever seen.  It is So reminiscent of LOST, i am quite sure that, at any moment, 'The Others' are going to come running out of the jungle to ambush us.  But they don't.  Instead I turn around to see that LoLo has slathered on so much SPF, that his face is literally white, in humorous contrast to his over tanned body. KoLo is also SUCH a Bad-Ass, that he teaches surfing in a sunhat... Which, in the 3 hours we spend in the ocean, never once falls off. LoLo is basically a surfing ninja.  While listening to him explaining 'Board Safety' and 'take off' techniques, I am ceaselessly amused that LoLo (in Franglish) refers to toes as 'fingers'.....  "Don't put tout your weight en your fingers, bueno?".  I love this guy.

Surfing is such a fascinating experience.  At any moment, you could be absolutely destroyed by the power of the Sea.  As I walk into the surf, I look up and see birds of prey circling over our heads.  I decide not to take this as an omen of impending doom, and I head directly into the Sea.  I begin my first take-off and immediately wipe-out, but excitedly turn around for more.  My third attempt, i get up and make it shore.  Before long, I am not simply standing on a board.... But actually riding on the sea to LoLo's cries of "Allez Elise!!!!" "Voila!" "Very Tres Buena!!!!"

Now LoLo... is an absolutely Fabulous surfing instructor.  The best.  As a (Yoga) teacher myself, I am very aware of the difference between being a talented practitioner, and a gifted teacher.  I've been extremely fortunate in my Yoga practice over the years to have learned from so many talented teachers.... Many of whom never demonstrated a single pose.  I understand that in Yoga, sometimes the teachers with the most impressive asana abilities physically, understand little about teaching others, and even less about the true meaning of Yoga.  Teaching is a unique talent. LoLo... Has this talent. Yes... He gives excellent cues on how to establish and improve your technique.  Moreover, He gives you the tools you need to truly become a surfer. Balance, knowledge, position, breath, ease. most importantly.... LoLo teaches you to read the Sea.  To understand and respect it.  When he was teaching me, I felt- with every molecule of my being- that his sole purpose is to share his passion for surfing with beginners.  To make us love it as much as he does.  To open up- not just our bodies- but our hearts and minds and souls to this astounding world he lives in.  A world we might otherwise merely pass through, unaffected.  He wants us.... To fall in love with Surfing.  And today.... Out in the open ocean.... Somewhere between sunset and twilight...... I fell in love.

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