It was lunchtime at El Coco Loco when Bodhi arrived. He had come up to the restaurant to let Jamie know that he was here to drop off the horses. We were going to ride along the beach later that day and he was providing the livestock. Holly wasn’t there; she had taken some of the more experienced girls out to an advanced surf spot. I was the only one at the table so I introduced myself. Bodhi sat down and we lunched together.
Bodhi was from California but had been in Nicaragua for five years chasing adventure and love. He happened into the horse business and was now providing all the horses for Holly’s retreats. He inquired about my riding background and guaranteed me that I would enjoy today, claiming his horses were mild-tempered, responsive, and above all, fast. When we finished lunch, he asked if I wanted to go down and check out the horses. I agreed and followed him down to the meadow where they were tied.
We had just returned to El Coco Loco after a great morning of surf. Lunch was going to be served in awhile but because I am an impatient and bottomless pit of hunger, I brought my chocolate covered almonds with me to snack on (or gorge, rather).
When I sat down and began my feast, I found my eyes met by those of a very curious little boy sitting across the table.
His name was Christian. He was one of the local villagers who lived not far from El Coco Loco.
I was surprised and intrigued by him. Underweight and bearing the brunt of many scars, he had an air of optimism and happiness. He seemed at ease around Holly and the El Coco Loco staff but he eyed me with skepticism. I felt like an animal at a zoo and as he determined whether I was friend or foe. I decided not to make any sudden movements and smiled at him. I said hello and he looked pensive. I wasn’t helping the situation so I decided to act natural (which ended up being unbelievably unnatural) and went back to eating my chocolate covered almonds. Continue reading
Tonight was the night for sun dresses and washed hair (we were dressed to the nines by Nicaragua standards). We were going out to dinner, or rather, up the hill to the “French guys’ place.” The actual name of the restaurant was Al Cielo, but we all kind of preferred calling it the prior.
We had to take two trucks. Some of the more adventurous girls would ride in the back of Jamie’s truck, bearing the elements and branches in the face on the bumpy dirt road.
Photo by Emily Rieman
Photo by Emily Rieman
It began with me paddling out with Helina. She was going to help me catch a wave in.
And while we weren’t having any trouble getting through the whitewash, there was one problem… Something was following us (insert Jaws music here).
Good thing for us, it was only our El Coco Loco beach companion, Rocco. And while it was no scene from Shark Night 3D, he would not leave the back of my board. Rocco frantically swam to stay with us as we paddled into the waves. Helina and I joked about him wanting to catch a ride himself. That’s when we looked at each other and concocted a plan.
He willingly let Helina pick him up and position him while I held the board steady. He was all set to catch a wave in. It was genius.
We just didn’t think it through. Continue reading
Between the surf sessions and adventure seeking, we became experts at grounding ourselves through yoga practice. And lucky for us, El Coco Loco had the perfect place for us to get our zen on.
Freshly built and standing a glorious two stories high, El Coco Loco’s yoga studio is by far best place to harness your chi this side of India. Yogis worldwide are having to realign their chakras just thinking about the ocean views and cool breeze. We not only got to play in paradise, but we would view it as we stretched, chanted, and powered down from our days.
Photo by Andrea Preziotti
Photo by Andrea Preziotti
It was a good day.
I had made great strides, finally standing up on my third go at the white wash. I never thought that standing on a board would make me feel so powerful, but there I was, riding over the world on a current.
I even learned how to wax my board.
I would have many more successes that day, paddling into a few sets and revisiting the harmony of being pushed by the waves. I probably looked like the biggest goon, but I felt like a badass. Holly high-fived me, almost as stoked as I was about what a day I’d had. Continue reading
In Nicaragua, there are all sorts of critters and creatures that hang around, make noise, and will venture into your cabana to have a friendly conversation.
Over my stay, I got very comfortable seeing fireflies, crabs, toads, and exotic birds hanging about. I didn’t really mind the chirping, croaking, or singing. It was pretty; the melodic hum of nature surrounded us.
Hiding crab. Photo by Andrea Preziotti
However, there was one creature that kept me up every night. Continue reading
Hilary Billings’ Dictionary of Resourceful Urban Lingo Presents…
Surfer Vernacular 101: Basic Terminology Necessary for Surf Savvy Interactions
Gnarly- Adjective. 1. Awesome or cool or extraordinary. “That party was so gnarly!” 2. Bad or unpleasant. “I took a couple of gnarly tumbles on those waves.”
Stoked- Adjective. 1. To be exhilarated, uplifted, unbelievably excited, or filled with a sense of accomplishment. “I am so stoked about that ride I took earlier!”
Ripping- Verb. 1. To kick some major ass, whether it be on water or land. Mostly applies to performance on waves, but can refer to rocking and owning any other type of activity.
Talei ripping. Photo by Andrea Preziotti
Fired up- Phrase. 1. Similar to stoked, used to express unrequited excitement. Being pumped, ready to go, or in the zone. Continue reading
“Gooooood morning, amigas!”
Only one person could be so chipper at six in the morning.
Holly tapped on our window, wearing the ear to ear grin she had the previous day.
We could hear the thunderous waves breaking just a few hundred feet from our cabana. Our first day of surfing was upon us.
The sound alone was utterly intimidating. We were going to willingly swim out into water that sounded like a storm? Waves crashed in my stomach.
Holly loaded up the boards into the truck and headed to our destination, Nahualapa. The rest of us were going to walk to the beach by foot . Nicole, with her board tucked under her arm, led the way. Continue reading
I’ve spent much of this last week trying to figure out how to best explain the first speech that Holly gave the collective group. After reviewing what documentation I had, I thought this would be better.
Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. I think we all laughed about it for the following reasons:
1. It was a strange and awkwardly funny first conversation to have with a pro-surfer.
2. This was our new reality and it was slightly frightening.
3. I think on some level, we were all still four and found ‘potty humor’ humorous.
4. The only other emotions associated with not having flushing toilets was sadness, so laughing seemed like the better option. Continue reading