Now THIS is what I call a beach

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 03, 2009

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perhaps I was a bit harsh when I gave my San Juan del Sur review, but honestly it cannot hold a candle to Popoyo or Guasacate.  Perhaps one of the best things about these beaches: I live 25 minutes WALKING distance from them! 

     This is the first beach that my host family took me to, so it holds a special place in my heart.  Karina, my host sister and I, went to bathe one Saturday afternoon, and we were the ONLY people on the beach!  Popoyo is wonderfully isolated;  so much that throughout my internship, I have often come back to this beach to collect my thoughts and for much needed Alice-time.

The walk to the beach is an adventure in and of itself – we have to tramp through salt fields (which get REALLY muddy and slippery when it rains), cross a bridge (more like a few planks nailed together, whose stability is very VERY questionable) – depending on the tide, sometimes the bridge is underwater… wrestle with mangroves – but vale la pena (it’s worth it) for…these:

It’s a beach of a thousand faces – every time ago, it shows a different side of itself, and – I think the pictures speak for themselves.  It has actually been cited as one of the best surf spots in the world, so it is constantly populated by surfer types – although it is known as “Popoyo surf”… it gets really confusing, because there is the other beach which is called Popoyo.  It seems like our surfer friends didn’t quite do their homework diligently.  My host siblings have shown me and the fellow interns the “local” spots, which make us feel special :D 
Given where I live, plus the fact that all my 4 host brothers are surf fanatics, I naturally had to go surfing.  I had learned in Hawai’i about 6 years ago, so to say the least, I was a bit rusty.  My eldest brother, Hamilton, was the first to take me surfing, and since we only had one board, he handed me the board, and pushed me towards the sea, saying simply, “go.”
Wait… no refresher course… nothing?  I tried to ask for some tips, but he had settled himself in the sand, and just looked at me expectantly.  So I just gritted my teeth and charged into the waves.  The result?  Got buffeted around by the waves for about 45 minutes (and swallowed half the sea) before I was able to catch a wave (but still wasn’t able to stand on the board).  The waves were actually pretty big that day, and as I stared at these 4-5m waves (this is what my host brother told me…) on my little surf board, I felt the full extent of my minuscule-ness.  In these moments, you cannot help but be awed at the raw power of nature – and therefore you have that much more reason to respect it.  Trust me, NO one will win against a current.  On the flip side, the exhilaration of being able to harness a small bit of this power, and be sent shooting beach-ward at a velocity that you would not be able to achieve by yourself is truly intoxicating.
My other encounters with Guasacate have been gentler and less salty - once, when the tide was high, Franklin, my host brother, a family friend, Claire and I swam up to the mangroves and spent a good 45 minutes climbing up and launching ourselves out of the trees.
I’m not a very big beach person, but Nicaragua has definitely shown me a few good things that the beach can offer ☺

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