Sunset on the way home. Photo Credit: Julie

Your paddling is pretty good, says Igor, the surf instructor. It took me 3 or 4 days to swallow my pride and get surf lessons, so I am pretty strong already. Every now and then I stop in the water despite my paddling, a quick look back confirms he expects me to be good enough to paddle the two of us. Whatever. After a lot of banter and about 4 waves, the lesson is over and we are invited to his private birthday party the next day. We say maybe.

The next night at 7, a surf instructor is standing in our dorm room speaking with a sense of urgency.  Hurry hurry, the car is waiting.  We cram into it and end up in a mansion on the hill.  The house belongs to an American who has just moved to El Tunco.  Everything is clean, white and new.  My breath is taken away by the view; from the infinity pool you can see the 3 local surf breaks. I couldn’t have imgined something so flash was hidden here, since the town is dingy and sleazy.

The boys are all already super drunk, and haven’t even fired up the barbie. We fill ourselves on corn chips and guacamole, while watching the fun unfold.  Even before we all get thrown in the pool, it is obvious that we are only invited because we are girls, so I take care.  I spend most of the night talking to some American boys who are a lot less offensive and aggressive than the locals, escaping unharmed.

No girl can complain when the night ends watching topless boys cleaning the kitchen! Some other girls end up a little worse for wear getting dragged to 3 after parties and who knows where else! When they make it home at 2pm the next day, they start organising to move towns.

Igor’s birthday BBQ – definitely the best food in town (& no longer a vegetarian, sorry!)

Take a Wok – second best food in town. Photo Credit: Julie

Later, Igor informs me that he is no longer talking to me, as I hang out with gringos. He turned 24 going on 12.  However, this is typical Tunco behaviour.  The girl boy ratio is the worst (or best) I’ve ever experienced, about 1:20, but still I didn’t realise the locals were so territorial!  I am back to self directed surf lessons I guess.

In the water, life is a big surf lesson anyway, Elena takes me out everyday.  Once people start recognising us, they yell go, go, go, leave waves for us, congratulate us if we catch them, and share their surfing insight.  After a week or so, my body is wrecked, my arms are tired from paddling, I’ve been stung by a jellyfish and a fish (!?), got a horrible t-shirt tan line on my back, grazes down my legs from the rocks, bruises on my front from my board, and I am not sure if I will ever be able to de-tangle my hair.

But occasionaly I catch a wave, and that is all that matters to me.  I have found my new adrenaline rush, and can finally stop stalking snow boarding photos on facebook from the comfort of my hammock.

Residents at La Sombra: Hunter, Elena, Clay, Elsie, Me, Manuel, Matt

I am not sure when I will move on from El Tunco, once again I feel like I belong, I have a little hostel family.  We meditate, do yoga, speak spanish, eat good food, surf and party.  The power of nature in the sunsets and thunderstorms take my breath away.  The aussies crack me up, and the locals warm up to me again (after Igor’s bad mouthing). One day we leave our boards at the surf school overnight, and they get vandalised.  We now have ducks drawn in wax across them.  Life is not so bad.  Al agua pato!

 At the beach with Jess