Nicaragua = surfing (tried to) + eating (nailed it)

Thanks to Rubes for immortalizing the moment.  Now I can quit pretending I know how to surf.

I got up on one! Thanks to Rubes and his water treading skills for immortalizing the moment. Now I just need to figure out how to make the wave look more giant.

A mere week and a half ago – plus a few days and add a few more days depending on when I actually post this and when and if you read this – I found myself in Nicaragua along with nine other fellows to help our buddy, Chris A (aka White Chocolate),  celebrate the big 4-0 in style… Nica style.  And by Nica style, I mean we spent a week in Miramar, Nicaragua at an awesome surf camp run by the great folks of Surf Tours Nicaragua.  It was kind of funny because with the exception of three of us, none among us would remotely consider ourselves “surfers” – unless you count the internet.  But, we were game to try and over the course of several days with expert instruction provided by Greg, Carter and Hector everyone pretty much succeeded in getting on at least one solid wave and having a boat load of fun – while avoiding serious injury. Also, we were  pretty much in bed by 10 pm each night. Yup, this is 40.

Fortunately, when we weren’t flailing – I mean shredding the sick swell – we were lying in hammocks on the covered deck overlooking the beach, watching the waves and discussing the beach break as if we knew what we were talking about. Okay maybe that was just me.  All in all, it was an awesome time – totally relaxing and punctuated by good food and many Toñas.  The staff at the camp  cooked consistently solid and tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners (upon which the overwhelming fan favorite, Salsa Lizano, was liberally applied).  But there were  a few meals in particular that blew my flip flops off.

One evening we made the five minute walk to a neighboring woman’s house where she had set up a several tables under a roof in her front yard to accommodate the 16 or so of us hungry for dinner. She cooked nearby in her outdoor kitchen and with just two cooking fires, she prepared a feast of lobsters, rice and tostones (green plantains).  It was la bomba! Check the photographic evidence below.

The next day, the surf wasn’t so good (as if that really mattered to us amateurs) so the whole surf camp took a field trip to 1) Volcan Masaya – an active volvanoe 2) the town of Masaya, home to an artisan marketplace (aka souvenirs) 3) an amazing lunch at Bakus restaurant located above Laguna de Apoyo, a lake in extinct old volcano crater – not that the location mattered because we were all entertained by the copious amounts of meat and a DVD of  this year’s Billboard Music awards (Nikki Minaj giving a faux lap dance to Lil’ Wayne should be required lunchtime viewing) 4) swimming, chilling and participating in a hold our breath underwater contest in the fresh pristine waters of the lake.  Then we drove back that evening (eight of us in the back of the surf truck driven Carter -aka Carlitos the Heartbreaker) through the most torrential thunder and lightening storm just to make things more exciting. Que buen dia!

The next day, a few of us woke up early and took the boat to try our hands at spear fishing.  Okay, I’m going to chalk this one up to the poor visibility caused by river run off from the rain storms because basically we didn’t see shit.  Well, except for PK whose spear “misfired” when he had his target in sight (so much subtext there) and our guide and surf camp head honcho Greg who did see a trigger fish well enough to shoot through the eye!  The rest of us had no luck so we trolled a bit and ended up catching three pretty good sized fish, two of which were Spanish mackerel.

Later that evening, Greg made fresh sashimi with the mackerel.  Oh. My. God. So fresh, buttery, and melt in your mouth delicious. Que ricissimo!

All and all, it was a great trip hanging with the fellas.  And of course we all had our wives to thank for being the type of wonderfully supportive partners who held it down on the home front so we could surf (kind of), eat ridiculously well (or not – do cheeze puffs and skittles have any nutritional value, Chris A?) and chill in such a beautiful part of the world.

Sunset view from the deck: pretty ideal.

Sunset view from the deck: pretty ideal.


Island Time with Michelle L.

Being a recent full time working stiff, I  did not have the benefit of spring break.  But fortunately for my friend Michelle (whom you might remember from her food discoveries in a Bangkok mall or her shabu shabu soliloquy), a member of that noble but oft disrespected breed known as an NYC public school teacher, she did have a spring break. And she took good advantage of it by going to Jamaica.  Judging from her latest dispatch, it looks like she had a high time, indeed.  You see, I’m alluding to the fact that people have been known to smoke the ganja in Jamaica.  I think I might be the very first person to have ever done that in the history of words.  Anyway, I am in no way implying that Michelle partook of such herbal remedies, but looking at the photos of the food she ate on her trip kind of gave me the munchies (not that I know what that feels like).

Click on the photo below for the full story and you too will be feeling irie.

7 Mile beach