El Salvador: August 2006
Page 8 - The Afternoon and Evening of My First Day at K59
Ok then, it’s now almost eight o’clock at night as I'm writing this, and I’m once again sitting right here in the same chair with my legs propped across the same low wall, with the laptop in my lap and a cold can of coke on the table right next to me.
It’s been a pretty good while since I’ve felt this tranquil and at peace with both myself and the whole world, despite the fact that I work pretty hard to try to do as much of that kind of thing as I possibly can, on a regular basis.
K-59 has worked its magic spell upon me, and I willingly surrender to it.
The coke I had been drinking was the last one, so you can imagine my surprise when I turned around to go toward my room to get my flip flops, and I discovered that the damned refrigerator had been filled up with about two dozen cokes!
Apparently, while I was deep in thought while writing, or something, one of the staff had come along and reloaded the refrigerator.
Now this is a tiny little thing, and yet it caused a tremendous reaction of surprise and joy, as I realized that someone had thought to see to it that my unworthy self had plenty of cold coke to drink, and made it so, kindly and quietly without so much as interrupting me as I churned out the words on this old laptop.
So I grabbed another coke and walked around the side of the porch for no reason at all, and there, applying paint to the base of the wall on the side of the house, was Geovanny, the resident house manager.
Geovanny is a totally cool guy, laid back and easy, but also hard working. He’s been going at it, in one way or another, ever since I got here, always smiling and always ready with a kind word, which I may or may not understand because my español is so abysmal, and his English, although one hell of a lot better than my español, also has a few rough spots around the edges, and so we just kind of speak in fragments, and when we hit a snag, we just shrug our shoulders, laugh like children, and move on with the conversation as best we can.
So anyhow I express my sincere appreciation for whoever the hell it was that loaded the refrigerator, assuming that it was Geovanny who did so. We smile back and forth a bit, and then he returns to his paint job and I saunter across through the gate and on to the cobble rocks that line the beach here.
It can be rough going, walking on these rocks, and so I pick my way gently and easily, with no hurry (like I’ve got ANYthing to be in a hurry about today), and work my way over toward the head of the point. As I go, I take a few photographs. I’d already taken a batch of shots that hopefully will help people get a feel for the layout of this place, and the batteries in the camera had died just as I was wrapping up. So now I’ve got new batteries and the whole fucking afternoon to play around with the camera, shooting or not shooting, any damn thing I please.
Eventually, I return to Edgard’s place, and just sit down on a large cobble rock right outside of the gate, underneath the tall coconut trees that front the shoreward edge of the property.
The peace, tranquility, and general sense of extreme well-being continues to pervade every fiber of my body.
Waves continue to arrive and run down the point, but by now the tide has gone out and I can get a better look at what I’d been surfing over, earlier on in the day.
It was one of them things that I’d banged off of earlier, and I can see a few of the larger ones lurking just beneath the surface more or less right where the waves are breaking, sucking and boiling as the wave passes over them.
Ok then, I guess we’d better maybe start paying just a trifle more attention while we’re out riding this wave, hmm?
And so I sit, occasionally taking a photograph of the cliffs to the east, as the sunlight plays across them, slowly and subtly shifting the look and feel of the view.
Eventually after at least an hour of sitting there in near spellbound contemplation, Geovanny arrives smiling, takes a seat on a rock nearby, and the two of us proceed to just enjoy the living hell out the day itself, and the company of one another.
I like easy people, and Geovanny is easy. Not “easy to take advantage of, easy” but just “easy” easy.
So we sit and hang out, watch the waves, and discuss the finer things in life such as pretty girls, nice waves, warm weather, and good friends and family.
Another near hour goes by, just as tranquil and serene as any I’ve ever experienced, and then Luis, the security guy, arrives with a smile, and now we have a little threesome, and damn but these people are nice and look at that wave over there.
Geovanny eventually gets up and goes into the pool area and comes back with a couple of plastic chairs for us to sit in, and my sense of balance is knocked for a second as I realize that Luis has no chair. So I offer him mine, and get another, and now we’re all just sitting here, talking about anything and nothing (Luis’ English is quite a bit rustier than Geovanny’s, so it’s mostly smiles and gestures between the two of us) and letting the late afternoon just kind of soak in through the pores of our skin.
I soon realize that both of these guys are just as sharp as tacks, and have a full appreciation of the place, the ambience, the peace, and all the rest of it.
By now, the wind has more or less died off, and the wave is starting to get its act together again, but I’m WAY too tired to even consider the thought of going back out there, and so I let the lone surfer who had paddled out earlier have the whole place to himself.
He’s a shortboarder, looks to be a local El Salvadorian, and he’s murdering the place.
Reverse three sixties, roundhouse cutbacks, pumping speed runs, lip bashes with and without air, and a host of other radical maneuvers.
I have no idea who this person is, but by golly he can surf.
Geovanny and Luis, despite the fact that neither one surfs, both appreciate the moves this guy is laying down right in front of us.
The ocean is a deep blue and the slanting shafts of late-afternoon sunlight are now giving everything a serene golden glow.
The guy in the water just keeps banging away at it, while the three of us sit on the beach and soak it all up.
At some point, while discussing Nice Things, Geovanny, for not much reason at all, up and says “Pura vida,” which is more or less the national saying of Costa Rica.
But it works well here.
And I just as senselessly reply with a quick, “Pura vida, en EL SALVADOR!”
And Luis just lights up like a little kid, clapping his hands with twinkling eyes, grinning from ear to ear.
“Pura vida en El Salvador,” he repeats.
Which just about sums up the whole shebang, right there, in five words.
Nice place ya got here, guys. Thanks for sharing just a little bit of it with me. It’s appreciated.
Once again, these people just low-key it to the point where you don’t even notice that anything is happening.
The question of food is raised, and I am asked what I might like and when I might like it.
Feeling the way I do at the moment, just as mellow as it’s possible to feel, I advise that anything in the world is fine, and any time it gets here would be just great.
Geovanny translates this to Rosario, who smiles sweetly and asks if shrimp would be alright. Shrimp done in garlic butter, with rice and a vegetable or two. As an additional note of these people’s amazing consideration for their fellow human, she asks if I have any allergies to shrimp or seafood.
Hell fucking yes, shrimp would be fine, and no, I do not have any allergies to shrimp, garlic, butter, rice or anything else.
Rosario smilingly departs after telling Geovanny that it’ll be done in a half hour.
Holy golamighty, but is this place ever NICE!
I’ve been snapping shots of the wave and the unknown rider, here and there, but now the light is beginning to fade, and the camera is no longer happy with the dearth of photons.
Time to unload it all into the computadora, which has been sitting right where I left it, after wrapping up the previous essay, plugged in and on standby.
Pull the card out of the camera. Place the card in the multi-card reader. Plug the card reader into the machine. Make a new directory for the photos and label it. Move the data from the card to the hard drive. Ask Geovanny and Luis if they’d like to look at the pictures.
And so we sit and look at the pictures together, relaxed and at peace with the world.
A shot I took of the two of them gets warm approval and a comment from Geovanny about how good those two guys look.
Laughter and smiles all around.
But by golly they DO look good.
This place will do it to you.
Before we can finish with the pictures, the food arrives and it’s time to eat.
Rosario and Luis disappear somewhere or other, so it’s just Geovanny and me out on the back porch, enjoying a delicious meal together.
These guys really know how to take care of you here, that’s for sure.
The place is actually quite simple, without much at all by way of frills or frippery, but what’s here is spot on for the job it’s supposed to be doing, which is to provide tuned-in support for the surfers who come here to ride this wonderful wave, without hassling with crowds or other distractions.
The house itself is four bedrooms, plain with a couple of beds inside, with a pair of bedrooms each sharing one bathroom.
Apparently I’m the only guy here right now.
And after the hectic week I’ve just had, the switch in gears could not be more salubrious.
So we finish our food and I go in to take a proper bath.
Inside the shower, a lone handle tells the tale. No hot water. No problem. What comes out of the shower is just about exactly the right temperature to ward off the heat and sweat of the day, without bringing on a chill.
So I enjoy my shower, towel off, and come back out on the porch to find Geovanny and Luis going through the day’s photographs on the computer.
Good for them!
We’ve gotten to the point where neither one of them acts as if they feel the slightest bit of distance between themselves and me, and that’s EXACTLY the way I want it.
Geovanny looks up and asks if I want to use the machine and I decline, and the three of us continue to admire the shots as he clicks through them, interspersing things with comments and laughter as we go.
Eventually, we’ve gone through all the shots, and it’s gotten dark out. Luis again leaves for parts unknown, and me and Geovanny go through first, my series of amazing shots of the wave behind the hotel from a couple of days ago, and then the archeological dig at Joya de Ceren.
Apparently Geovanny has never been to Joya, and he takes a keen interest in everything that shows up in the pictures.
Ok then, it’s getting late, and now Geovanny too, must get up and go do something or other.
Which now means it’s time for Jimbo to sit down and have a go at the writing, once again.
GodDAMN but this place is tonic!
In the intervening couple of hours, Luis has gone by a time or two, smiling and stopping to exchange pleasantries for a bit, but otherwise I am once again alone with my thoughts.
Edgard has yet to return, or if he has, he’s decided just to go back to his own digs and not worry about this old man.
Off in the dark, directly in front of me to the far south, a very distant thunderstorm is occasionally lighting up the horizon with yellowish flickers of lightning.
It’s getting late.
I’ve managed to commit 7,500 words to disk today.
That’s a lot of words.
Perhaps I’d best wrap this up and go to bed.
There will be waves to ride in the morning.