July 19, 2006

Beach and Baguettes
Sámara, Costa Rica

Sun and surfing with bread in our bellies.

The tiny beach village of Sámara—easily explored in 40-minutes or less—has treated my brother and I fairly well these past few days. There isn't an abundance of any one particular thing here, rather just a small handful of the services that tourism brings to such places. There's plenty of new construction; in less than a decade this area will probably look like the gringo-permeated city of Tamarindo.

We've been eating a lot of creative baguette meals recently, as the town lacks much in the way of affordable food (and our hotel doesn't have a kitchen available for us to cook with). On the up side, the door to our comfortable room (US$16/night at Cabinas El Ancla) practically opens onto the beach.

Sámara's tan-colored coast can be rather coarse in places, as the sand is comprised of a good amount of shell, coral, and rock. But the beach here does sport one of my most beloved characteristics—it runs from east to west, bathing the shoreline in sunlight all day long. Much like Playa Tamarindo, the beach is full of animal life (aside from the numerous feral dogs) to play around with in between trips to the sea and the beach towel.

The weather has actually been fairly cooperative, being the rainy season and all. Today was fantastic, yesterday was nonstop drizzle all day, and the day prior was a mixture of the two. The really bad thing about this town is that when it's raining, there's absolutely nothing to do. The beach, bars, and streets are completely deserted—which is surprising given the number of foreigners here.

There's one main (Spanish) language school in town, and rumor has it that it's currently enrolling somewhere on the order of 150 students—with almost all of them staying with local families. 150 Kids—and I use the word "kids" accurately, as the majority are teenagers—may not seem like a lot; but we're talking about a small town with less than a dozen stoplight-less streets.

This time of year vacationing students from the U.S. are all over the place, but there's a strong northern European presence here—the strongest I've seen in Costa Rica thus far. I'm almost a decade older than most of the tourists here.

Glenn catching a wave

Glenn rented a surf board today, and I got back on the waves for the first time since Puerto Rico. The Sámara shoreline is great for novices: There isn't any coral, the waves are small, and the water is shallow enough to stand in (so you're not paddling all day to get in position). We both got tossed around some, but had a great time none the less.

Time is starting to run out on Glenn. We were sitting here tonight trying to figure out where he wanted to go, and how we were going to get there, when he decided to scrap the idea of heading into the mountains at the end of the week. He entertainingly remarked:

I don't give a expletive about the rain forest. I'm not on some kind of eco-tourism vacation. Yeah, it would have been nice to do, but with only five days left, I'd rather be on the beach.

So the beach it is. We're going to try and juggle a few bus and ferry connections tomorrow—bound for a small village to the south called Montezuma that should have a nice blend of beach and jungle—and then probably back to San José for his flight on the 24th (if he doesn't want to squeeze in another location prior). After, I'm going to head south to Panama City, and then most likely catch a flight into Colombia.

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