Tamarindo...the beach disconnect

Trip Start Nov 29, 2006
Trip End Dec 09, 2006

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Sunday, December 3, 2006

For all I had heard about Tamarindo, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. (Bad meaning, it wasn't as developed as Panama City beach or Ko Phi Phi, Thailand). The fact that we arrived 2 weeks before the high season cut down on the chaos a bit. The fact that we arrived 2 days before an election meant that we hit a party town in a dry spell. (Alcohol sales are banned 2 days prior to an election). Considering the fact that neither Nick nor I are big drinkers, that didn't seemed to bother us that much. Tamarindo had a sour, seedy current flowing beneath the mortar of freshly poured Condo foundations. We constantly heard "hey man, need something?" in that baritone, after-school-special sort of drug dealer voice. (Coke is the drug of choice here) Nick & I both felt a disconnect between ourselves and the other travellers in town. It seemed challenging to talk to anyone or approach anyone that we didn't know. It kinda wore down on me a bit, and I started to wonder "what the fuck is wrong with me?"
On our second day in Tamarindo, the clouds finally broke & the tropic sun spilled through. My spirits warmed up a bit. We spent the afternoon in the water with some surfboards that we'd rented. Thus my first attempt at surfing began. I finally figured out why surfers seem so lazy; it's cause surfing is exhausting! (or more exactly, all the paddling required to reach the point when you can actually attempt to catch the wave is what wears you out) I thoroughly enjoyed my first attempts at surfing, and when I finally was able to catch a wave or two, I realized that I could benefit from lessons.
Monday morning we left Tamarindo in a rental car, and began our drive south towards Nosara beach. As soon as I sat behind the wheel, my vacation began. I felt liberated to be headed out under the power of our own desire. Granted, we chose all the places we'd visited so far, there's something about going from tourist stop to tourist stop with other tourists that makes you feel like a head of cattle. (Hence the appeal of motorcycle travel) We headed south through the nourished green hills listening to the Zepplin CD that came with car, and enjoying the world as it rolled by us. We stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant and encountered our first group of friendly strangers. We chatted it up with a lawmaker from Connecticut who was on a month-long holiday after the recent elections. We also talked to a Portugese lawyer & her husband. It struck me as funny that here we were, two lawyers & the sons of two lawyers having lunch thousands of miles from our respective homes. That's the beauty of travel.
We continued our journey over rutted roads, top speed of about 30 mph over the course of two hours. It was an exhausting journey, but we knew that an enchanted forest lay just beyond the next bend in the road.
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