Alright, I know we aren’t in the USA, but it was Independence Day and we are still US citizens, so I figured I could take a little liberty there with the title. We were eager to see what the Fourth of July would be like in CR, whether anyone would care or even know. They know, but I am not sure they care, other than caring to party.
For us we decided to make it a family day and do something we had never ever done on the Fourth; surf. Since we had never surfed on the fourth, and most of us had never surfed at all, what better place to go than the place known for its big waves, Playa Grande. At the surf board shop we rented the biggest fattest board they had, because we like to go old school, and because they are supposed to be easier to use for beginners.
The beach is called grande because it is a huge beach. White sand, big waves and a little wind, pretty much all you need. The white sand seems to go on forever, the waves are never-ending, the people are few and the water as warm as a spa. So into the water we went, dad the instructor who does not know how to surf, a 9 foot surf board and eager students. I suppose like anything, when you watch the pros do it, it looks easy. Swim out, turn around, catch the wave, stand up, your surfing! Of course it never is. To my surprise the hardest part was the swimming out. Almost every kid who tried had a hard time getting the board out past the waves on their own. Conversely, only after a few spills, every kid who tried to stand up and ride a wave succeeded. Our technique was simple, practice jumping up on the beach, practice balancing on the board in the water, dad holds the board until he sees a good wave then sends them on their way. Their job, jump up when they feel comfortable. To my shock, it worked.
Now surfing is not just about standing on a surf board, that I know. But that is all I know, so until we have some actual teachers we will call that success.
After three hours in the water shuffling kids through the board, I could feel my head start to get warm and my muscles start to get tired, so I had to take a break. In fact, if I could figure out a way to sell a DVD with a wave pool that generated 5-8 foot waves over and over in people’s living room, I would be the next millionaire in the exercise market. It is definitely a workout to just stand in the surf.
Starving, thirsty salty and soggy we asked around for a good quick local eat and were told about Mar Bar, somewhat hidden but the only place to get some good quick grub. The Mar Bar is exactly what I would picture as a surfers hangout. Located as part of small, low-budget hotel, with a pool; It was very small, just wide enough for a row of eight three person tables an chairs in the “dining area” about 5 feet away from the six person bar. The bar had a 1/2 wall to block the road, and the rest was open. The small kitchen plainly visible to the patrons, with a flat screen tv hanging from the wall playing surf videos from around the world. Locals were in and out, the owner knowing them all by name. It was as much as of a pass-thru as a hangout. Our food was prepared by two local Ticas, and it was fantastic. All the items were fresh and handmade, especially the fries. The fries were hand cut half moons, light crispy, not greasy at all and seasoned with salt and rosemary; amazing. The fish burrito, again light but filling, loaded with fresh ingredients, as were the BLT wraps with slices of perfectly ripened avocados and special sauce. It was all excellent, and we will be back.
We finished the day with a local fireworks celebration near the Happy Snapper, a local eatery located across the street from the beach. There was live music which could be heard blocks away. Oddly enough, for USA independence day, the music was mostly Latin flavor and in Spanish. We chose to sit by the beach, not knowing where the fireworks would be displayed. Then in the pitch dark, at 7:30 we noticed that we had parked right next to the lighting station. No fences, yellow tape, nothing to keep you at a safe distance. We move a little ways away and made camp under some palm trees about 50 feet away. Half an hour late and the lighter man began the show. Now it may not have been the most awesome display we have ever seen, but what was awesome was that we were sitting on a beach, under palm trees, 8:00 pm in shorts and T-shirts, as the residual from the exploding rockets fell all around us and sizzled into the edge of the ocean. That was new. It was subdued, not overdone, simple but exotic, late, slow and appreciated, just like everything in Costa Rica. It was a good way to spend our first Independence Day abroad.
This entry was posted on July 5, 2011 by Glenn G. It was filed under costa rica, Family, Kids playing, Vacation, Video and was tagged with Alli, beach, boogie boarding, dorian, Glenn, Jeremy, playa grande costa rica, surfing, Tracy.