Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hermosa Beach

photos by julia aron

Hermosa Beach is more of the same – black sand and the greenery of the jungle at the shore’s edge. The big difference between here and Herradura is a couple of beach bars that sit on the near side of the beach as opposed to the ones in Herradura that sit on the far side of the dusty beach road.

I’m definitely feeling short-tempered today, so parking myself on the beach for a few hours, is a perfect remedy to my crankiness. We lay our towels on the hot, black sand about twenty feet our so from the tide line. Julia takes off for the water as I settle down onto my towel. The Sun is really hot as per usual and within ten minutes, I’m ready for a dip myself.

I like this beach. It feels a bit livelier, though we’re pretty much the only ones out here. Perhaps it’s the reggae coming from one of the beach bars. The waves are pretty big today and I can’t decide if I’m bummed out or relieved that I won’t be surfing this afternoon.

We spend a few hours on the beach, occasionally moving our towels further away from the water as the tide continues to creep towards us. The third time we move our stuff, Julia laughs, “We’ll probably have to move again in ten minutes.” I think we have a little more time, but true to her prediction, the tide comes in right up to our knees, catching us by surprise and soaking our towels! I’m sure we’re a sight as we both squeal out loud, leaping up to get our things out of the way, holding our untied bikini tops to our bodies as we drag our wet, heavy towels away from the water.

“I’m ready for a drink.” I say, wringing out the bottom half of my towel.

We head up to the Beach Bar with the reggae music. As we do, we’re followed by an adorable chocolate Lab, whose owner is out surfing. We’re not sure if he’s allowed in the bar however, he leads the way as if it’s his place. We order some nachos and margaritas and I’m pleased that the prices are fairly reasonable. Happy Hour doesn’t start for another 45 minutes and we agree that, if the margaritas are good, we’ll have some more.

It’s great, just sitting there, watching the ocean, the surfers and the sun sink slowly into the horizon. I feel a million miles away from Spanish and surfing and my earlier edginess, happy to be with Julia, sipping frozen margaritas.

Early on, we notice there’s an abundance of Americans in the place. Though, they don’t all seem to be tourists. Somehow or another we strike up a conversation with a very nice woman, Rochelle, who’s a transplant from San Francisco. She’s a little thing, probably in her thirties and it surprises me to hear that she’s a big surfer. If her tiny self can do it, I surely can! She tells us about her move to Costa Rica and how much she loves it. Finally! Julia and I have been looking to talk to people who live here and as we spend a few hours drinking and snacking, meeting a few others who’ve moved from the States.

One of the guys, Jason, is a transplant from Seattle. He runs Las Olas, a beachfront hotel just up the road. He invites us to have dinner at the hotel, offering a ride back to Jaco, since he and his buddies are heading that way to buy alcohol for the night. We’re game and looking forward to learning more about life as a local. As we wait for our change, Jason and his people leave the bar. “I guess we just lost our ride,” I point out to Julia, putting the change back into my purse.

Jason comes back into the restaurant as we’re gathering our stuff. “I thought you girls were already outside!” We follow him out and he’s in the lead, then Julia and then me. He’s walking pretty fast and he says something to Julia like, “Ya gotta keep up.” It feels kind of New York to me, but hey, a ride’s a ride, right?

On the way to Jaco, Jason’s friend, who’s visiting from Florida, is driving. We chat easily with him about his plans to move to Costa Rica and start a small construction business. Jason, who was so talkative at the Bar, is completely quiet up front. I don’t mind, but I do find it a little odd. As we enter Jaco, he finally speaks up asking where we’d like to be dropped. “You can just take us as far as your going,” I say. Rule number one about traveling as a female: NEVER let anyone know where you’re staying. We say our goodbyes at the Liquor Store and after the ride, I’m not so sure I want to hang out with these guys after all.

“That was a strange ride,” I say to Julia as we walk through town back towards the School. “I don’t know if I’m really interested in hanging out with them anymore.”

Julia laughs, “I know, right? He was all like, ‘So, where are you girls going tonight?’ And I’m thinking, ‘uh…weren’t we all hanging out together?’ In the end, I told him we might see him out later.”

Whatever. We decide to stay in, cook some dinner and make it an early night. Tomorrow is the last day of school and I want to be ready for my final showdown with the Pacific.

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