"War parties fell into line on either side, dredging up old grudges under the banners of a new conflagration. At one point a jungle sicario was even mentioned."
You been to Costa Rica before? It is to the US as Bali is to Australia. A tropical getaway close to home.
Comfortable. Non threatening. A modern-day ctrl alt dlt for $499 return.
It’s a beautiful place. Tacos and dime bags and warm water. Consistent, user-friendly waves. A culture going back thousands of years (the Guanacaste tribes predated even the Maya). Old jungle.
I worked there for a couple seasons as a surf instructor. My secret shame. Pushing god knows how many VALs into their first waves. VALs that should now, by my calculation, be paddling in front of you on their 7S fishes, and, in some cases, for the more advanced, Hypto Kryptos, in the fight for two-foot closeouts at your local.
VALs that are penning op-eds on The Inertia about how surfing needs to become more inclusive and democratic.
But I jest.
I met many lovely people. Made friends for life from all over the world etc.
Surfing is massive for the country. The town I lived in was essentially built around the first surf school, circa twenty, twenty-five years previous. It’s now a thriving wellness centre with dozens of high-end surf and yoga retreats, holidaying A-List Hollywooders and supermarkets selling expensive cheeses.
The Ticos are a well adjusted, friendly people. Progressive. No standing military since the forties, despite having the fight-loving Nicaraguans on their northern border. Powered by 98% renewables. Per capita one of the happiest places in the world.
But, like any developing country with a reliance on western tourism, there’s an undercurrent of antipathy towards gringos. Especially ones like me that move there and take jobs. Me and the Mrs was robbed twice in one three-month stretch.
Home invasions, everything gone. Perpetrated by the same little crew. We knew who they were. They knew we knew. Things got pretty heavy. War parties fell into line on either side, dredging up old grudges under the banners of a new conflagration. At one point a jungle sicario was even mentioned. Can you imagine it!
In the end, we decided to split. It wasn’t our turf. We got the message. A lesson for me on staying in your own lane. Plus I’m a massive, massive fucking wuss.
But, I digress.
Costa Rica loves surfing so much that they’ve gone and made a National Day for Surfing, in recognition of its value to the country.
Well, ain’t that swell? Will we ever see one in Aus, US, NZ, EU?
What would you do on your National Day of Surfing?
Would you celebrate it in the water with all your new VAL friends? Or would Australians, say, marinate at home with a Skegss album, a favourite piece of quit-lit, braiding beards and wondering where it all went wrong?
And, tell me, what’s your best run in with the locals story?