By admin | March 14, 2008
E Paine coming in hotâ€¦. So we make our way South from
After the typical R P S tourney the sleeping arrangements are chosen and Master is on the bench seat and Sean and I are up top. In the middle of my dream about Latina cougars and exotic treasure I am awakened in the early morning by Sean mumbling and thrashing around. As I look over the camper is full, and filling further, of white smoke. The smell of the smoke starts to burn my eyes and lungs and I realize that we are under attack and I need to get the hell out of the death trap camper. Sean and Mike are already out of the camper and in a stupor I stumble out and onto the lawn we are parked on. I canÂ´t see anything and my eyes and throat are on fire making it extremely difficult to breath. Once clear from the camper and out of the smoke screen one of the officers comes over to me and tries to console me and also hide his smirk. Sean is a few yards away from me and in equal agony as another policeman tells him he is going to drop a haymaker on his stomach so that Sean can throw up and get the gas out of his system. Sean comes to conscious enough to fight off the impending beating and concentrates on trying to come back to life. Mike made it out first due to his sleeping position on the couchette. After 10 or 15 minutes of sweating agony I am almost recovered and try to figure out what happened. The police are half sympathetic and half laughing as they explain that someone accidentally pulled the pin out of a tear gas grenade and dropped the grenade right under the open window where Sean and I had our heads. The single worst wake up call of all timeâ€¦.hands down. Needless to say we bombed out of there quickly and got on the road. An alarm clock will never again feel like the worst way to wake up in the morning. If you ever are looking for a good revenge plot the tear gas wake up call is perfect.
With the morning gassing behind us we roll through some mountainous country into Medellin. A gorgeous city situated around
By admin | February 7, 2008
Billy Boyd was informed by his overworked dad that he was coming back early to help out with the business and to live with his bro in CA for a few weeks.
Soon afterward, I arrived in Panama on December 30th, where the diesel fumes flow freely and the shopkeepers won’t haggle. The airline had, as expected, misplaced my bag (laden full of delicious Clif Bars). Van Halen said it bestâ€¦Panamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
When I stepped out into the open air of the airport turnaround, looking for a taxi, two strange hombres sporting ridiculous mustachios and red, white and blue headbands (the colors of panama) started hooting and hollering. I instantly crouched into a fighting stance preparing to go to deal them fearsome blows in protection of my wallet and passport. But then as they emerged from a cloud of exhaust I saw that I had in fact mistaken Sean for a local due to his extremely dark tan… and the other, who at first appeared to be Will Ferrell was actually none other than Dan Hudson Esquire, handle bar mustache rippling in the wind like a poorly trimmed sail on my boat ride from Panama to Colombia. I joined in on the hooting and hollering instantly. Now all I needed was a mustache….
As was customary, Sean had left his Panama hat in his taxi to reserve it, and as was customary, the taxi driver drove away without warning. A few minutes later, perhaps having seen the movie “Pay it Forward”, or perhaps because he wasn’t allowed to park in the airport turn around, the taxi driver returned. We got into his uncouth and decrepit vehicle, and requested that he take us into the banking capital of Central America… PANAMA CITY.
Our ride was littered with near fatalities as it is customary or drunken fun to run across the highway without looking both ways. A pattern of happy go lucky behavior that would only get worse (including maneuvers such as the Guatemalan standoff, the Colombian business man strolling across the Panamerican highway maneuver, and the Ecuadorian two lane mountain chicken pass) as we progressed into the deep underbelly of South America. Finally we arrived at our destination… a push button hotel located strategically close to our parking spot at the local firefighter (bombero) station. We got out of our taxi, walked to the door, and pressed the button to request entry into our new abode.Â As always, Dan was sweating profusely due to an acute condition of hyper-hydrosis and having more hair than a Himalayan Badger.Â
The name of our equatorial paradise; Hotel Monaco.Â To give you an idea of the class in this region of the city â€“ you can pay for our hotel by the hour or by the night.Â $5 per hour or $24 per night.Â After some tough math, we obtained the rooms for the night.Â The cost: 24 dollars a night for 3 people. The cost of staying in a hotel within 2 blocks of Fiesta Casino: hundreds of dollars, severe sleep deprivation, excessive mumbling.
Since the road from Panama to Colombia does not exist, we needed to send our rig by boat across the Caribbean to Colombia. Actually accomplishing that would end up being about as enjoyable as getting face kicked by an Ecuadorian donkey.
In the meantime, we had three weeks to kill in Panama City. Kirk left off right after New years, so I’ll skip ahead to after his post.
Lil Billy Boyd had to take off soon after I arrived due to the aforementioned patriarchal control scenario, so we hung out and played liars dice and said our good byes. He had promised Alex he was going to shave off his huge handle-bar mustache, but he didn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if upon seeing him with that monster that they either broke up or got married on the spot as a result… but surely nothing in between.
After Bill was gone, Sean, Myself, Dan and Bryan decided to take a trip to a little place on the Caribbean side of Panama called Isla Grande to try and find surf and a little sanity after Panama Cityâ€™s madness.
On the way over we stopped briefly at a port city called Colon in search of shipping companies for the truck. Out of nowhere, we got flagged down by the local news station in our car. We pulled over (Dan, Bryan, Sean and I were in the car at the time) and proceeded to give them an interview. Actually, it was mainly Sean talking while the rest of us posed Zoolander style for the camera. None of us, Bryan, Dan or I, had driven down on the trip, but we got a full page picture in the local newspaper and our interview was shown throughout Panama. Definitely winning.
With that under our belt, we made the remaining 3 hour drive through pothole laden streets to Isla Grande. We took a skiff out to the Island, which turned out to be pretty small, and with no surf. It ended up being a mess. The entire island was booked up because it was a Panamanian holiday (commemorating their recently won full control/ownership of the canal, as well as mourning the loss of those who were hurt/killed when we bombed Noriega controlled Panama. They don’t harbor a great deal of resentment about it… but I still avoided pointing out that I’m American while talking about the holiday.) We did end up finding a room that first night, and played liars dice while waiting for the waiters to do anything. This is the Caribbean… things move slowly…. On the second day, we ended up trying to find surf again. Sean got a 3 second ride on some rocks, and I paddled for a few minutes.Â That night, we stayed in a non-airconditioned hovel that smelled like toilet cleaner and let in mosquitoes.Â We actually witnessed the 70 year old female owner of the establishment lift her nighty and relieve herself in the side yard.Â Class Class Classâ€¦Â We got out of there early the next day and headed back to Panama City.
Once we returned to Panama City, we spent the next few days shuttling back and forth between the police and customs trying to get the paperwork necessary for shipping out the truck. In the midst of that, our brakes blew out and we had to take the truck into the Ford dealership. They didn’t have the part we needed, in the entire country of Panama. So we had to arrange for the part to be flown from Miami at an exorbitant rate, and it still took 4 days to get the part.Â With that additional delay, Sean and Bryan got on a boat to Colombia, while Eric and I stayed behind to get the car fixed and shipped.
The weekend before Eric and I were taking the boat to Panama, we went out on the town with our future shipmates. Somewhere along the way, I got separated from the group, and Eric rallied all the guys to go out to the casino. He showed upÂ at 7AM after an early morning shrimp, rice and milkshake (batido) breakfast.
As it turns out, when Sean and Eric had entered Panama, they had done so right as the customs office (spanish: “aduanas”) was about to close. Like any respectable bureacrats, they had cut corners to save time and avoid working… and gave Eric paperwork that did not sufficiently document the rig. No problem, aside from the fact that we had to spend two days of stressful work between the police and customs to unravel the mess. Rule: get it done right at the border the first time.
Eric had met a great guy named George (hor-hay) earlier in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama. Apprarently he was a big deal in the marketing industry in Panama, and had seen the light of Green â€“ Feral Green that is. George’s cute girlfriend was also involved in sustainability by creating paintings based on nature and environmental issues.Â Things turned out perfectly and it happened that George was putting on a recycling fair in Panama right before we were about to leave for Colombia.Â We arrived and found a big Pepsi bus bumping amazing Backstreet Boys and â€œGive Me Moreâ€. There was a group of about 15 kids and 30 adults, as well as 15 booths set up representing different Panamanian organizations.
Eric read our volunteer book â€œAll the Way to the Oceanâ€ to some young kids, and in the middle of an epic book reading session, the Panamanian beauty queens arrived. They were three attractive girls with a ridiculous entourage of about 30 people playing horns and rapping on drums.Â The queens danced for an awkwardly long time, and then got up on stage and spoke to the crowd. It was good to have them out there to add some flair to the event.Â I fell in love with one and was sure there was a bright future for us.Â In actuality, I only said three words to her, but she immediately knew I was fluent in the international language of Feral Love.Â
As the day was running down, everyone still wanted to see our veg oil beast, so Eric and I raced over to Ford to see our completed truck. Yeah right. When we arrived, nothing had been done to the car at all. They didn’t even know the part had arrived. We went into project manager mode and promptly heckled the people in charge, while gifting the workers and everyone bribe-worthy with chocolate Clif Bars. Satisfied that we’d actually gotten them to start working enough to finish in the next hour, we sat back down and played Gin Rummy for pride.Â The hot girls working the front desk at FORD had seen us on the news and in the paper.Â Their cold shoulders had turned warmâ€¦
At this point, we rolled by some hotels and picked up about 30 gallons of used vegetable oil. Huge score.Â This would allow us to get half way through Colombia without filling up on diesel.Â While we were stopped at the Hotel Continental and picking up 20 gallons, a taxi driver pulled up and told us he’d seen us on the news. Very nice. We’d become know to the gente (people) as celebrities.Â People offered us their first borns, their cars and their servitude.Â We turned them down for posterityâ€™s sake, but none the less, were flattered.Â Next we stopped by a Mexican restaurant. The waiter was kind enough to hop into his dumpster space and pull out another 8 gallons or so of veg for us.Â Scoring againâ€¦.
We settled down after a successful day of promoting environmental responsibility and alternative fuel use, and got a good night of sleep to prepare to leave Panama for a little wonderful place called Colombia.
The shipping of the truck went reasonably well, although it was a lot of cash to dole out. That afternoon, we drove out to the port where our Catamaran sail boat was leaving from, and hung out around town, had a few beers, etc. while we waited for our midnight departure.Â Hanging out in the local super market, our future Capitan Ron rolled up in a taxi. He was drinking a beer and most likely had a few other controlled substances in his system. This begins the tale of our adventures with Captain Ron.
Eric and I took a “water taxi” skiff onto our boat that night. We met up with the crew on deck, 4 Swiss girls, 1 Japanese computer Engineer, Eric Myself, the first mate Yago, an Australian, and last though not least a Dutch guy.
We took turns doing dives off of the ship and sharing about our backgrounds.Â After a while that got old, and we took inventory of the people on the ship. There were supposed to be 3 English guys, a Spanish couple, and one more Swiss girl on board. However, that Swiss girl was missing along with a Costa Rican guy she’d been swimming with earlier that day. Her name was Marina, she had a Costa Rican lover, and it took her until almost midnight to return to the ship so we could leave.Â Needless to say, we are all a really big fan of hersâ€¦.
That night, and the following day, we sailed from Porto Bello to the San Blas islands at an arduously slow 1.5 knots. in other words it would haveÂ faster to walk that portion of the trip.Â Most of the people got sea sick the first day. Three people lost their lunch over the starboard bow, including our friend Hongo DLG (Eric Paine). The San Blas islands were gorgeous. We hopped off the boat and swam to shore where we purchased coconuts for 50 cents and frolicked in the sand like tree nymphs in Narnia.Â
After four and a half days, we reached Colombia. From the get go, we could tell the place was perfect. Eric and I stayed the night in a place called Cabana Darius, where we got an education on the local politics, and some stories about the region. Apparently back in the day, a prop plane laden with cocaine had engine trouble and emergency landed on the airstrip in Capergena (where we stayed that night). The pilot and crew fled into the mountains with the money but left all the drugs, which the local authorities fought over. A UNICEF logo was on the abandoned plane, which is still there on the airstrip… which you should be able to see in the photo gallery. Nice.
Finally, we arrived in Cartagena and met up with Sean, who had been scuba diving in Taganaga for the past week.Â Â We picked up the truck from customs and drove southward, into the heart of Colombia.Â Our travels from Cartagena to the world famous Medellin will come in the next blog, but I can guarantee you, it was one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me.Â
By admin | January 25, 2008
The The following Blog update was written by our Newport buddy Kirk Oâ€™Brien, who came to visit Feral Green in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica at the beginning of December and stayed with us until January 1st, 2008.Â Enjoy
Captain Kirk signing on:
I arrived in Costa Rica a bit anxious upon reading the previous blogs: how would I make the transition from my plush Newport lifestyle to bare bones, Lord of the Flies status??Â From air conditioning, 9 to 5 living, and a flat screen to one dirty camper with 4 dirtier guys??Â There was no need to fret, though, as I found the crew posted up in a lavish Playa Hermosa house (Costa Rica).Â (FRAUD ALERT!! â€“ This house is not Feral)Â This house could have been on Cribs — apparently it had been lent to them for a week through a friend, whatever.Â We responded to their good fortune by storming the local bar like an unstoppable rebel force.Â We danced with the native women, pilfered their drinks, infuriated the local men, and spoke Spanish gibberish to anyone who would listen.Â A great time was had by all exceptâ€¦Â
Hurricane Robbins, who swept through the town, got lost and took a 10 mile walk home alone in the dark.Â He returned at 4AM, covered in mosquito bites and looked like less than a million pesos.Â The next day, I awoke to help Sean, Bill, and Kevin filter over 100 gallons of vegetable oil to fuel the bio-diesel truck/camper/dominating beast of a machine.Â They had spent a week collecting veg oil in the town and educating the townfolk on the advantages of converting oneâ€™s vehicle to function on vegetable oil.Â Restaurants responded positively and gave them enough veg to get to Panama.Â Â Sean and I were a natural filtering team.Â The Dre and Snoop of vegetable oil â€“ With our Veg Oil, we got 28.6 mpg compared to Bill & Kevin’s meager 17.6.Â
After filling up we headed off for our next destination: the Caribbean coast â€“ Also known as El Caribe.Â We were all pretty excited because none of us had been to that side and it promised a significantly different culture than the Pacific.Â Somehow along the way, we managed to drop our transmission on a steep Rican backroad.Â No worries:Â these guys are pretty resourceful and we got the truck towed to the Alajuela town Mechanico to deal with the truck and get the transmission rebuilt.Â We decided to take aÂ bus over to El Caribe to score some tasty waves.Â Â I should mention that in between we made one of our many stops at the Fiesta Casino.Â Details are hazy, but I do remember us leaving with no money, a disgruntled pit boss, and two local chicks threatening the life of E. Paine.Â Pretty much all stops at Fiesta Casino end this way.
Puerto Viejo (the surf town in El Caribe) was indeed different, but still mostly tainted by the thousands of Americans/Aussies that had stomped through there.Â Think Bob Marley painted on fake Casio watches, a poor man’s Jamaica.Â The people were kind (aside from a local shop owner that wanted to murder Eric with a trident) but forgot to inform us that our $8/night hostel was prone to rapid flooding from the rain.Â Such is the laid back, hands-off attitude over there.Â Our laptop sustained some damage but our spirit did not.Â One day we scored Salsa Brava, the best (but often fickle) surf spot on that side of the country.Â It was very uplifting to finally get some good waves after the misfortune we encountered.Â Bill scored a huge in and out barrel and showed the locals that those rocky mountains areâ€™nt so rocky.Â When the surf died down, we back-tracked to go pick up the truck, loaded up the swift tunes of Andre Nickatina, and crossed over to beautiful Panama.
By this point I had learned all the important ground rules of Feral Green: never carry enough to lend, everything can be bartered, and all important decisions should be determined through Rock, Papers, Scissors.Â If only the UN worked this flawlessly.Â Bill ‘Braski’ Boyd always earns prime sleeping arrangements, as he’s won 763 consecutive matches of RPS.Â Best damn salesman in the office.Â After unsuccessfully trying to barter Sean at the border for 2 pineapples and a dried mango, we posted up in a small port town so that we could take the ferry over to Bocas del Toro the next morning.Â Bocas is a chain of islands off the north Caribbean coast of Panama that provides amazing scenery, great snorkeling and other adventurous activities, and, if you’re lucky, world class surf.Â Pretty much everything that Van Halen had promised in his renown song - Panamaaaaaaaaaaa.Â
Some poor, unknowing longshoreman tried to keep us off the ferry; clearly he had never seen ‘Eric, bring the Paine’ before — we were on the islands within an hour and a half.Â We checked the reports in hopes of some swell but got somewhat mediocre surf at a beachbreak for the first couple of days.Â Then our luck changed drastically.Â First, Eric managed to barter his plain black t-shirt for a sweet, 1985 retro, teal, not enough adjectives to describe, Air Jordan cutoff from a rotund, local youngster named Clifford (pronounced Kleee for).Â A mutual exchange of goods switched hands, but most importantly, a lifelong friendship blossomed (refer to the video footage).Â Then, we came across a friendly Hawaiian-born local surf guru, henceforth known as Scott Jurgenson.Â Excited to hear about their environmentally friendly trip, he told us about his local sustainable development.Â Also, that he’d be happy to take us in his boat and explore for some good surf if we filled up his tank of gas.Â We promised to meet Scott early in the morning, but still couldn’t resist hitting the town at night.Â $.50 beers and a load of rambunctious tourists were too much to turn down.Â One bar had a ‘Pink Pajama’ party, so naturally, we responded by gearing up with tattoo sleeves, headbands, bling, and colored Zinka.Â This was needed to combat a bunch of Scandinavian dudes in pink speedos.Â Bill Braski wore his sweet handlebar with pride, as Sean donned hisâ€¦.(well, I donâ€™t know what you would call Seanâ€™s moustache at that point, but it was terrible â€“ in a good way).Â
The next morning we awoke in a haze to the sound of Scott Jurgenson pounding on our camper — I assure you there is no scarier alarm.Â We managed to get our lives together and Scott took us on a half an hour boat ride to Batimento.Â He predicted the wind and swell would be ideal for a certain spot and he was correct: we pulled up to Playa Larga, a long beach full of offshore peaks with nobody else in sight.Â We were surrounded by lush green canopy, the 5 of us were the only ones out, and the water was crystal clear (you could see coconuts and stingrays on the bottom) — one of the coolest sessions I’ve ever had.Â After some really fun waves the wind shifted and Scott warned us that we should get back to the boat because we’d hit some treacherous weather on the ride back.Â Again he was correct.Â As the boat was getting tossed around in the open ocean sheets of rain sliced us like pins and needles.Â That was the one downer of Bocos, it never stopped raining there!Â Well that, and the Chinese mafia controls the town â€“ at least the super markets and the hotels.Â With dying swell and Brian coming into town soon, we thought it was best to head to Santa Catalina , a small surf town on the Pacific side.Â Unfortunately, the ferries leaving Bocas were limited by the weekend and Christmas holiday and we got held up.Â So we stayed and got wet, before finally making it into Santa Catalina.
Santa Catalina was a tiny town; you would never go there aside from surfing or diving.Â I felt like we knew the entire town within the first day.Â It was strange that such a highly regarded surf spot was so undeveloped — you would never see this in Costa Rica.Â The highlight of our arrival was trying to track down Brian by asking the locals if they had seen a huge white albino storming the premises.Â Fortunately Brian had secured us an amazing pad in town.Â We soon became known in the town â€“ this was not a place in which 4 white guys + Sean could romp through town and go unnoticed.Â Liarâ€™s dice inevitably turned into wrestling, hotel domestic disputes, and violently swinging Brian in the hammock.Â Also, we arrived on X-mas, which is celebrated a bit differently down there.Â And by different I mean all the locals, ages of 10 â€“ 80 getting completely blacked out at the local Tienda.Â
Because we had not been surfing for a couple days, Sean, Eric, and I got adventurous the next day and trekked to a break called Punta Brava, which included a marathon walk over jagged lava rock.Â This was one of those hasty, regretful decisions, like going out to the Alley at 1 am just because you haven’t been out in a couple of nights.Â And it ended similarly: 2 ripped sandals, 3 broken hearts, and no scoring.Â Not even a ham and cheese conclusion to satisfy us. Punta Santa Catalina was much better, you could definitely see the potential of the place, but we didnâ€™t get it at the best time — akin, maybe, to a good but not great day at Malibu.Â After a couple days of so-so surf, we decided to tackle bigger things.Â Panama City was our next victim.Â
Panama City is supposedly described as the only worthwhile big city in Central America .Â Maybe not a ringing endorsement for the townâ€™s tourism, but still, certainly enough for us to get into, right?Â Â The cityâ€™s skyline certainly looked promising, with huge sky rises positioned narrowly along the water.Â Fortunately we were able to park the truck at the Central De Bomberos (the local fire station) by convincing the firemen that we were there to do good, not harm.Â With us arriving just a few days before New Yearâ€™s, many of the accommodations were full.Â We had to stay in a hotel that was clearly rented out by the hour â€“ Eric and Sean definitely got some funny looks when they booked that place together.Â There wasnâ€™t much culture to speak of in the city, but great shopping prevailed.Â We bargained our way to some great deals on hammocks, Panama hats, and bling.Â I am convinced that nobody can negotiate a better deal than Bill and Sean â€“ if youâ€™re reading this never sell them anything.Â
Double-Down Hudson arrived to shut off the lights at the nearby Fiesta Casino â€“ the only such player in history to ever victoriously walk away from Fiesta.Â We watched a huge cruise ship navigate through the Panama Canal unscathed.Â Unfortunately, it was full of cruise people.Â By that time we were set for New Yearâ€™s.Â Eric bailed to meet up with his family and the rest of us celebrated with a big dinner at an Argentinean Steakhouse in the happening part of town.Â With the help of some smuggled rum the conversation turned into a predictions for 2008 forum.Â Iâ€™ll spare the details in case my mother decides to read this, but by the end of dinner we were fired up and ready to go.Â Unfortunately, nobody else in town was.Â The streets were pretty desolate, aside from some other tourists and Peace Corps.Â I remember asking someone what time it was that night, and they said â€™12:30 or soâ€™.Â No count down or anything.Â A city of 1.5 million, where was everybody?Â Apparently they party with their families through midnight, and then hit the town.Â Around 1 AM or so things picked up and we had a fun night, just different than we imagined.
Exhausted by the next day, I was sad to leave the soldiers but ready to go home.Â A great trip, but I canâ€™t imagine how those guys will feel when they get back — even from my brief stay, I still feel a little out of sorts being back home, like Morgan Freeman at the end of Shawshank.Â â€œI canâ€™t pee wherever I want?Â I have more options than rice and beans!Â Have to wear a shirt?â€Â On 2nd thought: to be safe, stay away from Eric, Sean and Bill for a good month after they returnâ€¦.Kirk-O, out
By admin | January 8, 2008
Dr. Douglas signing in from Panama City.Â There has been a serious dearth of Blog entries due to technical difficulties.Â And by technical difficulties, I mean that two of our computers were ruined by the rain and floods of Captain Ronâ€™s El Caribe.Â
Last Blog we left you with, we were in Nicaragua where we headed off to Masaya to hang out at the expansive market and spend some time with our Nica cougar named Cynthia.Â The market in Masaya is the best spread of goods we have seen in the past four months.Â They have everything from Nicaraguan hard wood rocking chairs for $20 to beautiful hand crafted cedar guitars for $100.Â Â Bill picked up some D. Wade jerseys for $6, I grabbed a pair of sick alligator skin loafers, Eric bought his brother an old man rocker and Kevin purchased some antibiotics and a knife.Â After our shopping spree, we spent a day chillaxing at Laguna de Apollo with Cynthia the Coug and her two sons, Eduardo and Downald.Â We had pool side bottle service at the edge of the lake, went kayaking and then headed to Cynthiaâ€™s house for grub and local culture.Â She fed us an amazing dinner and we hit the road for Popoyo for more surf.
We arrived at JJâ€™s Popoyo surf lodge the next afternoon and paddled out into overhead, reeling offshore barrels with only 10 guys in the line up.Â I watched guys pull into barrels that could fit the fat man himself.Â We hung out with Dawn (works at Popoyo Surf Lodge) and JJ for a few days.Â In the evening, we went with Dawn and headed over to the local church to read â€œAll the Way to the Oceanâ€ to the local children of the town.Â I got up on the pastorâ€™s microphone and had kids volunteer to read the book aloud.Â Eric, Bill and Kevin helped groups of kids follow along as we read on the book using the microphone.Â The book teaches the kids about keeping trash off the streets and out of the storm drains.Â It shows the kids that trash from the ground ends up in the rivers and eventually flows to the ocean, which pollutes and kills the marine species.Â The book really hit home with the kids because they live right on the ocean and most of their families have some connection to the fishing industry.Â Â They loved the books!
After the reading, we had a Q&A session with the kids and taught them how important the environment is to our long term sustainability.Â We left the pastor a couple of books for his library.Â Dawn then brought out materials for the kids to draw pictures.Â Â The kids drew pictures of the environment and a few of them drew pictures of the Feral Green team with our thick Burt Reynolds-like mustachios.Â One young girl fell in love with Eric and drew a portrait of him, with a huge mustache and a heart over it.Â I think he is going to head back there in search of her older hermana.Â
We spent a few more days scoring amazing surf at Popoyo and other breaks in the area.Â JJ, the owner of the surf lodge took us out to Playa Colorado, where we got 8-10 foot, gut wrenching beach barrels.Â I snapped a fin and took on more water than Grizzly Adamsâ€™ beard in a hurricane.Â We also surfed Avellanas, Lanceâ€™s Right and the reef at Popoyo.Â Eric Paine had to take off for a wedding in the states and we had to pick up Eric â€œBasedowâ€ Jenson from the Managua Airport. We drove out of Popoyo with our shoulders aching and our minds on the barrels we had just scored.Â We dropped Bring the Paine off at the airport with a backpack and rocking chair and headed over to the Pharaoh Casino across the street.Â Bill, Kevin and I spent the entire night playing video poker and drinking free refreshments.Â At the end of the night, I think we each lost about $18, but had a worthy number of drinks and 2 full meals.Â We slept in the camper in the casino parking and told the guard to wake us up at 8AM to pick Jenso up from the airport.Â The guard banged on our tent at 8, we went across the street and grabbed Jenson, donned in his typical gangster jersey and velvet pants.Â Â
We left mangy Managua and spent the next few days hanging out at Popoyo.Â We surfed at 7AM and at 2PM every day.Â The winds were howling off shore and the swell was still pulsing in from the Antarctic.Â Jenson spent his time fully immersing himself in Spanish, doing push-ups on the beach and dominating the kitchen at JJâ€™s.Â Bill, Kevin and I surfed, ate and slept.Â There was not much else to do.Â One day in the water, Bill recognized a pair of bright green TAVIK (our sponsor) shorts on a surfer.Â After some small talk, we learned the guyâ€™s name was Dingo and he was friends with Eric Paulson, the owner of TAVIK.Â Dingo is a shaper from Huntington and is now living in Playa Grande in Costa Rica. He was in Popoyo with his buddy, Stu Stu Studio, a surfer from the British Virgin Islands.Â They needed a ride back to Costa Rica from Popoyo and we were heading out the next day.Â It was meant to be.Â We surfed the following morning, grabbed Dingo and Stu and headed out of Nicaragua into the land of Ticos (Costa Rica).Â
On the drive over, we learned about Playa Grande (Dingo and Stuâ€™s home) and all of its nuances.Â Stu, who used to work on Paul Allenâ€™s yacht told us about Kike, the owner of the main restaurant next to Stuâ€™s house in Playa Grande.Â Kikeâ€™s English vernacular consists of two phrases â€œno problems, only solutionsâ€ and â€œphone sexâ€.Â Â No matter what you ask him in English, he replies with one of the foregoing sayings.Â He has no clue what either of them mean.Â For instance, if you were to say â€œHey Kike â€“ Where is the bathroomâ€, he would reply â€œOK â€“ Phonesex, no problems, only solutionsâ€ with a heavy Spanish accent.Â Makes a lot of senseâ€¦
We arrived to Playa Grande after dark and Kike was nice enough to let us park our truck in his restaurant parking lot.Â We all ate at his place and then headed next door to Stu Stu Studioâ€™s house, where Dingo was posting up on the floor.Â We drank beers and jammed on the guitar until late in the night.Â The next day, we surfed and spent the rest of our free time educating everyone on our vegetable oil conversion and searching for used oil to put into our truck.Â On the 14th of November, we dropped Kevin off at the bus station for the start of his girlfriend week.Â We had one more night in Grande and it happened to be a little thing called Ladiesâ€™ Night.Â Just about every town in Costa Rica and Panama has a Ladiesâ€™ night.Â It consists of girls drinking for free and guys trying to talk girls into getting them as many free drinks as possible.Â It is to Costa Rica, what Friday and Saturday nights are to the Weekend Warriors, Thursday night to college kids, Tuesday night for Tacos and Sunday for the fun day.
We started our Ladiesâ€™ night at PGI, a new hotel in town.Â We hung out with the owner and convinced him to convert his truck to veg.Â He actually named a drink on the menu, â€œThe Bio-Dieselâ€, in our honor.Â We imbibed a few at PGI and then headed out to Ladiesâ€™ Night.Â We drove on sketchy dirt roads for half an hour and finally ended up at an oasis in the dark that was pumping music right on the beach.Â Disco lights were flashing, people screaming and a full blown dance party erupting on the desolate beach.Â We parked the cars and joined the madness.Â One drink turned into three or four and the next thing I knew, I was back in Playa Grande, waking up next to Bill in the tent.Â Jenso spent the night fully immersing himself in the greasy Rican culture and we didnâ€™t see him until about 10AM the next day.Â
Jenso, Bill and I piled in the truck and took off for San Jose to pick up Taylor and Alex.Â The girls were coming to visit for about 8 days and we were all really excited to see them (except for Jenson).Â On the way to Alajuela (the airport town), we got pulled over by the police on a narrow mountain road.Â They pulled us out of the car and cited us for no running lights, having a driver who was not on the entry visa, not having our passports and for Bill not wearing his seatbelt.Â In total, they wanted to fine us $800.Â We explained that we were volunteers on a surf trip, but they held firm and demanded due compensation.Â We balked and told them we did not have that much flow.Â We ended up having a standoff with them and literally stood across from them, not talking for about 15 minutes.Â Finally, the cops backed down and told us that they would let us off with a warning if we gave them one of our Spanish childrenâ€™s books for their kids.Â We smiled and told them gladly.Â We hopped back into the rig and arrived in Alajuela long after dark.Â
We parked the truck at the Fiesta Casino and went in to try our luck at a little game called Craps.Â Jenson, Bill and I spent the next 5 hours gambling and meeting the locals at the tables.Â We ended up catching our zzzâ€™s in Fiesta Casino parking lot that night.Â The next day, we spent our free time eating McDonaldâ€™s and running errands.Â We picked up Taylor at the airport the next day at 2PM.Â She bobbed out of the airport terminal, looking like a million bucks and wearing cowboy boots and a big smile on her face.Â Her and I took the truck up to Monte Verde to get a glimpse at the rain forest.Â Jenso and Bill stuck around Alajuela for another night at the Fiesta Casino.Â They ended up at a local bar and then found themselves sleeping in the camper at Fiesta Casino once again.Â The next day Bill picked up Alex (the foot in his football) at the airport and they headed off for the beach.Â
The next week was girlfriend week, rife with sweet nothings and ouch ouch you are on my hair.Â Kevin headed down to the Oso Peninsula for some off-roading with Mimi. Bill and I headed to MalPais / Santa Teresa and stayed at a house on the beach with Taylor and Alex for a week.Â We had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, complete with chicken (there are no turkeys in Costa), mashed potatoes, guacamole, caprese salad and copious bottles of wine.Â After an amazing week with our better halves, we dropped the girls at the airport, waved the white hankies out the window and had another tough goodbye.Â
While the truck was parked in Alajuela dropping the girls off, our lock was punched in and we were robbed.Â In less than 5 minutes, in the middle of the day, someone made off with my camera, Billâ€™s Ipod and a few other valuables.Â Bill and I spent the next day at the police station writing up a police report, only to have our claim denied by our insurance company.Â Bill and I took off the next day for a mountain resort called Tilajari, which is located by the Arenal Volcano in the middle of Costa Rica.Â We had emailed Tilajari earlier in the trip and they had been saving their used vegetable oil for over a month.Â We showed up in our rig with the Darkness blaring and a cool look in our eyes.Â The owners liked our style and treated us like royalty.Â They hooked us up with about 20 gallons of used veg and we showed them how our conversion worked.Â They were amazed at the simplicity and benefits to both the environment and their pocket books.Â They are going to try to convert all of the vehicles at the resort to run on veg oil .They fed us a few delectable meals and then we hit the road to reunite with Eric and Kevin in Tamarindo, which is located on the Northwest Costa of Rica.Â Â
After a day of driving, we found the boys waiting for us at Pizza Hut.Â Ericâ€™s mustache was thicker than Boratâ€™s accent, Kevin had a Grizzly Adams beard and everyone had a smile on their face after seeing their girlfriends.Â We headed back to Playa Grande and met up with Stu Stu Studio and Dingo.Â The boys were happy to see us.Â We hung out at Kikeâ€™s for some food and then ended up going to Ladieâ€™s Night one more time.Â Eric and I literally murdered the dance floor with our dance moves.Â I think people were ready to shell out for lessons, but we had to deny them after we lost control of our motor skills due to something in the drinks at the bar.Â We spent a couple of days in Grande, surfing and looking for vegetable oil for the truck, then met a group of girls who were teaching surf lessons in Grande.Â One of them was a nineteen year old Aussie girl named Stacey Stace Stace Stace.Â She had an around the world ticket and was traveling for a year.Â She was ready to move on from Grande and wanted to hitch a ride with us.Â We said absolutely!Â
We headed south from Grande to a beautiful black sand beach called Marbella, for some camping, surfing and desolation.Â The winds were blowing offshore and we were the only ones in sight for as far as the naked eye could see.Â We surfed by day and had bonfires at night.Â We heard it was a sharky spot, but wrote it off as mearly dirty local rumors.Â Well, rumor turned into reality the next day when Eric and I were spear fishing at an outer reef that was almost a half mile out.Â We saw schools of tuna, a parrot fish, a morray eel with elephantitis, conch shells, oysters and countless other living creatures under the sea.Â Eric was heading back to shore and I was poking around the reef with my Hawaiian sling.Â I looked to my left and a large grey and white shark appeared from the dark below my feet.Â I froze, with my spear in hand.Â The shark, which was about as big as I was, swam by me without a care in the world and disappeared on the other side of the reef.Â I high tailed it back to shore, scoring some oysters and conch along the way.Â
After a couple days of camping at Marbella, we headed south for Playa Hermosa.Â Ericâ€™s buddies Brett and Miguel own a house right by the beach (boyyyyyyyyyy) in Hermosa Palms.Â They were generous enough to let us clean up our act there for a couple of weeks.Â The house was unbelievable.Â Hot showers, cold air conditioning, flat screen TVâ€™s, granite counter tops, and three spacious bedrooms.Â There was a community pool and amazing surfing right out front for us.Â We settled into what would turn out to be an amazing few weeks of surf, vegetable oil and endless night life.Â More to followâ€¦
By admin | November 12, 2007
The night prior had been Seanâ€™s birthday, none of us were very clear headed, and we were about to go for a hike with a Canadian couple and Lucy the friendly British girl. As the others prepped for the hike by hydrating, battery checking their headlamps, rubbing in sun block, and lacing up there boots, we scrambled to get ready, and ran down the sparse trail to the sound of their voices as we had fallen behind. As we scrambled to catch up to the group, we got our first taste of our hiking guideâ€™s laugh (you can hear it on the website)!
If you are wondering why he was laughing, I will do my best to paint you a picture… The hike is not a short one, and it is very steep. The weather of the Guatemalan mountains is not cool either, it is hot and humid, and very buggy. This hike was heading to some caves high within the mountains… that is about all any of us knew, or at least all I knew… Sean and I ran up first, yelling, stopping, listening, and then running again. I had forgotten my shirt, but remembered a half full Nalgene of water. The night before, after Seanâ€™s first birthday party, Sean had a near fatal encounter with an unmarked tope (speed bump). It took off half his toe, therefore he was barefooted, not carrying any water, and likely shirtless. Bill was not far behind: no shirt, no shoes, and no water… A bit of a problem, says the guide as he points to Sean and Billâ€™s lack of shoes. Eric immediately followed up barefoot as well, at which point all three smiled and said they could handle it. After a closer inspection of their gnarly, mangled feet, the guide agreed they might make it, but he wanted to get a good laugh out of it all. The trail quickly turned from grassy, to muddy with sticks, to just plain nasty. By now the three shoeless wonders were mid shin in mud, and carrying nearly 5 pounds of mud per hoof. As always, we were having a great time, and everyone around us was enjoying our antics. We finally reached the cave, and it was amazing. Years of water wear had carved some amazing stone that you can see on our website. We played around in the caves, saw some unusual creatures, wandered around by candle light (we hadnâ€™t thought to bring flashlights), and swam in crystal clear pools of runoff water. All in all the caves were amazing, and the day was a great precursor to anther wild b-day party for Sean that would leave us all tattered for a few days following.
From here we made a road trip to Tikal, an amazing set of ruins in the mountains, filled with monkeys, temples, and amazing views. We woke before sunrise, and headed into the park to watch the sun come up from the top of a temple. As the sun rose, the park came alive. We sat in silence for about an hour, and took in all the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of a Guatemalan sunrise. The rest of the morning was spent wandering around the park, taking pictures, spotting monkeys, and learning the history of the Mayan people that once inhabited the area. We returned to the truck to find the battery deader than Chris Farley after a three day bender.
We immediately began looking for a solution in the sweltering mid-day heat. There were not many options on a Sunday, so we were forced to wait until the following day for the shops to open, so we could get back on the road. By the time we managed to get the truck up and running, we returned to Finca Ixobel to pick up our hitchhiker (you remember Don, that sad little human we had adopted as our charity case?). Well, we were apparently too late. In our absence, and without our supervision Don Ricardo, our hitch hiker, had managed to piss off the people running the Ranchito and was asked to leave. At this point we were not really sure what to do. We talked with a few more people at the Ranchito, and learned the story of what had happened.
Don had received a one day job translating for some doctors. When he returned to the camp, he likely scurried into town to buy some pot to satiate his omnipresent yearning for the green stuff. With a days wages of weed, he got stoned, obnoxious, and paranoid. After being kicked out for stealing oranges (Boxes! Why you stealinâ€™ boxes Craig? You gonna build a clubhouse? How’d you get fired for stealing Boxes!!!), he freaked, thought we had robbed him, and hit the road hitchhiking. The story gets twisted, complicated, and confusing from here. But a long story short, he filed charges against us for theft of his 12 year old yoga mat, and 20 year old wool serape (he claims that we are not allowed in Guatemala for 1 year). He later had the audacity to threaten us with physical harm via the hand of his “friends” at Dolphin Quest, and then sent us a bill for $50 to make it all go away… needless to say we laughed at his empty threats, and sent him a bill for room, board, and the Oakley sandals and sunglasses he stole from Ericâ€¦ what a sad character he is! We still receive an occasional email from Don, ranting and raving about something. We don’t really read them anymore, he is simply too far gone.
From Finca we shot straight for El Salvador. Running out of daylight, we stopped near the Guatemala/El Salvador border. Eric and I shot into town to check out some sort of pre bike race party while Sean and Bill made some pasta. Town was interesting, we watched a few traditional plays and dances, grabbed some food and were back at the truck a few hours later. The morning was the highlight at the hotel. As each of us crawled out of our respective rat holes and looked over to see 12 Guatemalan models prepping to get picked up to go work the bike race… wow! We have been living out of a truck for a few months now, and none of us can muster the courage to crawl out of our beds into the parking lot, and go talk to 12 very attractive women… we must be getting old or becoming hermits!
The following days consisted of lots of driving and lots of rain. By lots of rain I mean more rain than any of you have ever seen, actually more rain than Nicaragua has ever seen. We caught the tail end of 50 straight days of hard down pours… lots of flooding. As we pulled into La Libertad, the rain was dumping, and the streets were beginning to flood. We camped above what had been a stream and was now a full blown river gushing garbage from upriver into the ocean. We were anxious to load up, and get out of town, but the truck would not start again..
In search of dry land we headed to the biggest mall in Central America, located in San Salvador, El Salvador. With the car parked out of the rain we headed into the movie theater. Matinee, student tickets were $2.75, and we were going to get our moneyâ€™s worth. The first movie we saw was entertaining but a bit contrived, so we headed straight for the bathroom to wait out the security guard. With the coast clear we slid into a really fun comedy. That wasnâ€™t so hard. On the way into our third movie people were getting suspicious of the four white guys with mushaches over a head taller than everyone else in the mall. Sean got picked up by the security guard on the way in. He told them things were different in the US, demanded to speak with the management, and ended up watching a great psychological thriller with us five minutes later. With our cover blown, we didnâ€™t hesitate to try sneaking into a fourth movie, but they werenâ€™t going for it. We each paid $3.25 for the evening show, leaving satisfied with the action/comedy.
The next day the rain subsided, and we went back to the beach. El Zonte, where we parked on the street next a really nice restaurant, run by a guy from Spain. The next few days consisted of good food, bad waves, and lots of drying out, as everything we had inside the truck and camper had become soaked over the previous few days of down pour. After a few days of rest and relaxation in El Zonte, we were off for Honduras. We got a late start but were not worried about the drive, because someone had told Eric that the roads in Honduras were smooth and clean. Well who ever that was, all of us at Feral Green, especially me, would like to say you are an ASSHOLE! Seriously the roads were some of the worst we have encountered so far. I was driving, Bill was sitting shotgun, and we were both pressed to the window, trying to navigate the shitty shitty bomb-scarred roads with our less than efficient head lights. Again to the mystery person, You are an Ass… the roads were hell, and we tried to drive them at night you ASS!!!!!!
That night, in order to escape the beating we were taking on the road, we slept in front of a church in the small town of Choluteca. The next day we were off for Leon, Nicaragua, but not before another hectic but interesting border crossing. We made it across relatively quickly and with out too many fines/ bribes/ fee’s, and we trucked on to Leon. We parked in front of the Big Foot Hostel and talked it up with the gente to find the best waves and food. That night all the talk paid off as we found an amazing restaurant that served GOOD steak, and had cheap bottle service. At the end of the night after eating and drinking like kings, our bill came to less that 30$, and it was the best money we have spent down here. The walk home prompted a shirtless, shoeless basketball game in the street where we proceeded to dominate the local children.
We returned to the truck and snuck into the hostel to play some pool. The guards loved us and allowed us to hang out inside and play some pool. Lucky for them, because soon after a drunk Irishman stripped naked and tried to climb into bed with a couple of hot Norwegians staying in the hostel… Sean, captivated by the manâ€™s physique, went to work and helped “escort” the drunk out… The night only got weirder from there on, but those details will be saved for the private email list.
The following days were spent in San Juan Del Sur. Watching the world series, surfing Maderas, flirting with 35 year old divorcee’s with two kids, and going to the all-you-can-drink disco for $5. Needless to say our time in San Juan was nuts, somehow, somewhere along the way, after a night of all you could drink rum at the disco, Sean convinced some fellow drunkard to break his hand on our mirror; unfortunately the mirror also broke… Onto the 35 year olds.
We had been hanging out at Popoyo surf camp (www.surfnicaragua.com), enjoying the lazy life of the country side, and hanging out with some wonderful people. After five days of relaxation, a Halloween spent teaching children at the local church about the harms of polluting the ocean, a near fatal fight between me and a monkey, and lots of hammock time, the waves died and we all became restless to move. It was time to head back to a town. Masaya and Granada were selected for their supposed fun atmosphere, and amazing markets where we could buy rocking chairs and guitars… we were off. After a bit of stop and go, we reached the market. It was your typical third world market selling all sorts of artisan crafts, foods, meats, etc. Eric searched for a rocking chair, Sean raced around looking for a guitar and alligator skin shoes, and Bill found his niche, searching for Jerseys. Upon returning to the truck, we were greeted by the 35 year old we met on the beach in Madera.
She was with her son, and they were hoping to show us around their home town, take us to some local parties, to a country club, and to give us a more local view of the area. We dropped off our truck and hopped into her Land Cruiser. She drove us through the Barrio to get ice, we got a good indicator of what the rest of the day would bring. We watched an old man and a younger man huff and puff in the street, preparing for battle. It was broken up when the old man pulled a 12 inch knife out of his belt, and a woman, who weighed about 23 stone threw the men apart… Sunday Funday was about to reach a new level! Stay tuned…
By admin | October 24, 2007
…..Â picking up where Eric left off in Mexico.Â We were all impartial as to where to surf that afternoon or where to sleep that night, so we just got on the road, as Kerouac would say.Â The event of the day wasnâ€™t a delicious papusa, a hermaphroditic cur, or Seanâ€™s mustache.Â It was a hitchhiker.Â He jumped in, got our names and called us gentlemen.Â Then Richard went into a trance of story telling.Â We heard about his college buddy Chris Farley jumping off a roof, totaling a car, and walking away unscathed.Â We heard about drugs, travel, history, politics and theories.Â Sponge Bob is a government sponsored population control, because with his gay voice and wristy gestures, he subconsciously influences Americaâ€™s youth to be gay, controlling procreation.Â The Mayan Calendar ends in 2012, which is when a galactic committee of several alien races will decide whether they accept humans as members of the committee, enslave us, or simply exterminate earth.Â They will use the pyramids, which these aliens built thousands of years ago as communication devices to the outer reaches of space, which is why many pyramids are astrologically aligned.Â He told us very personal things about his family, hard times, and hilarious stories.Â After a family quarrel he made the choice to separate himself from his parents, â€œI gave back the condo, the jeep, all of it, and I got on a plane to
â€œWow,â€ Eric said, â€œwere you all right when you got toÂ Spain?â€
â€œActually yea, it worked out great, because I got hired to sew the biggest pair of blue jeans in the world like two days later.â€Â Richard was immediately one of us, and he started sleeping on the bench seat of the truck by night.Â By day he would give us Spanish lessons.Â Rich needed a lift and had no money; we needed some Spanish tutoring; Richard had a degree in Spanish from Marquette, and heâ€™d been a translator for some extremely influential people heâ€™d rather I didnâ€™t mention because of the sociopolitical ramifications of their current circumstances.Â Needless to say, Aventon is a big believer in karma.
To the Hispanic people we met, Richard introduced himself as Ricardo, so we amped it up to Don Ricardo.Â He also came to be known as Aventon (hitchhiker), Don Aventon, Tricky Dicky, and Rich.Â Just as he was known by many names, Richard contributed to our journey in many different ways.Â He was brilliant with language, so whenever Sean or Hongo didnâ€™t know how to say FFFFFFFF or FFFFFFFF he was there to tell them it was FFFFFFFF or FFFFFFF.Â As we drove to Chacahua, he had me jump out of the car and taught me to cut down a gaggle of bananas and hang them to ripen.Â Ten days later we each started eating four bananas a day.Â Aventon taught us yoga and did one on one sessions with Eric.Â He speared and cooked fish with Kevin, and he talked shit to Seanâ€¦ relentlessly.
Chacahua, one of the first places we stayed with Don, was a great right point off a river jetty.Â I got the longest wave of my life and broke a board.Â Sounds pretty cool eh?Â Well itâ€™s not.Â I broke the board walking down the slippery rock jetty before getting in the water.Â The other five surfers in the water watching, I slipped on some moss trying to scurry back up the rocks to avoid getting pummeled by a set wave.Â I fell hard and cut up my back and hip, damaging the board in the process.Â Then I got hit by the set wave, pleasant.Â I paddled out anyway, while the other guys in the water nodded in my direction whispering about the idiot bleeding in the water.Â Oh well, you canâ€™t make an omelet without getting really embarrassed about being inferior to your peers.
At Chacahua Kevin finally got to use some the fishing equipment again as well.Â The river was a hot bed for tiny fish, and he got a bunch.Â First Kevin went out with a spear gun heâ€™d bought and got one in his sights.Â His aim was true and the spear hit the little guy perfectlyâ€¦ perfectly gently, because the spear daintily bounced off the fish, which seemed to wink at Kevin before swimming away in a leisurely manner.Â At that point the locals yelled over that spear guns werenâ€™t allowed in the river.Â Luckily a retired cockfighter named Scary Larry, who weâ€™d met in the water earlier, told the locals we were all right, and they let us carry on.Â So Kevin went back out with fish from the Hawaiian sling.Â Don Ricardo cooked them up and we had a great dinner that night.
We moved on through
Puerto Escondito is heavy duty.Â Only Sean and Eric went out the first morning.Â The set waves had eight to nine foot faces, which weâ€™ve surfed in other places.Â At Puerto Escondito the white wash comes down so hard it rebounds twice as high as the original wave.Â Sean and Eric caught some waves and got hammered by a few others.Â They called it quits after an hour, and we did some yoga on the beach with Rich.Â We can all stand on our heads unassisted for over two minutes, see people behind us without rearview mirrors, speak to Jesus, and weâ€™re working on scorpion position.Â The second day at Escondito was more crowded, but Eric and Sean got into some big-cheese waves, and the professional photographer thought them worthy of a few pics.Â Check them out in the Mexico album, because theyâ€™re up on the site right now.Â
When we left Puerto Escondito we brought Karl and Robin from Montana.Â Weâ€™d already met them and hung out in Nexpa, and Escondito, and we were all headed to Barra de la Cruz, so Karl rode in the cab with us and Robin rode in the camper with Aventon.Â It was a great surf camp.Â The wave was a point with a heavy current and a tiny take off spot, but when you got one it was a long, fun ride.Â We all had a good time, accept Hongo, who contracted Dengue Fever.Â He and a few other surf camp temporary residents unfortunately had to sit it out.Â While we were there, school was out for â€œteacherâ€™s day,â€ so we gathered up all the surf kids in town and read our childrenâ€™s book, courtesy ofÂ wetsand.com.Â They loved it, and when we gave each of them Wetsand stickers for their boards and their chests, they were ecstatic.Â But the surf was about to die down, so we headed back inland.
Next we went to San Cristobal in the highlands, Eric trying to sleep off the Dengue in the back seat.Â It was raining, and we could see our breath, but the city was great.Â It reminded everyone else of Europe, and it reminded me of landscape descriptions Iâ€™ve heard from people whoâ€™ve spent time in
The Mexican Border departure fee is about twenty bones, so we didnâ€™t know what to do with Richard.Â But, as usual, things worked out, and Don Aventon shimmied across the border, no fee incurred. Â We stopped by Lake Atitlan and Antigua for a night, and found all negative rumors about
By admin | October 13, 2007
E Paine signing onâ€¦..I took off for the weekend of September 21st to try to get away from the 3 caguama guzzling, American fast-food scouring maniacs in exchange for a visit to Guanajuato and San Miguel del Allende.Â In the meantime, per Senor Boyd, â€œSean, Bill and Kevin checked out Punta Mita & Sayulita.Â They had a great weekend surfing an epic right-hand pointbreak called Veneros.Â At night, they roamed the streets of Sayulita, explored the shops and showed the locals what Feral Green means. Â Sean & Bill played soccer with the locals, while Kevin dangled his worm, fishing on the beach.Â They spent their free time during the weekend scouring the town for precious used vegetable oil.Â They made their way into the more than accomodating Four Seasons Resort of Punta Mita and scored over 10 gallons of usable veg oil for the truck.Â From there, they headed out to Puerto Vallarta for the day.Â As Sean & Kevin were walking down the street to eat Carlâ€™s Jr., a truck hit a stoplight and it came inches from crushing both of them.Â No worries, they continued on and each got a $6 burger that got all over the place and definitely belonged in their face.Â They changed the motor oil, washed their clothes and ate some delicious Costco pizza before hitting the road to pick me up in Manzanillo.â€
I must say my experience with the Mexican bus system was stupendous â€“ the bus schedule had departures around the clock and the buses were fast, comfortable, and punctual.Â I rolled into Guanajuato around midnight and took a stroll around before locating a hostel to hole up in.Â With a warm shower and real bed I was in heaven.Â I spent the next day cruisinâ€™ Guanajuato - checking out the museums, gente, and devouring local fare at the market.Â The next day I met up with Hana in San Miguel de Allende and spent 2 days hiking around and eating great food.Â Hana was working on the interior design install of a sick, huge colonial house in the middle of San Miguel.Â Both Guanajuato and San Miguel reminded me of Europe, having small cobble-stone streets winding up the hills and vibrantly colored buildings â€“ something I wasnâ€™t expecting to see in Mexico.Â The third afternoon I headed out for Manzanillo (via bus through Guadalajara) where the guys would [hopefully] pick me up at the central de autobuses.Â
After a long ride all night, with a bus change and hour layover in Guadalajara, I arrived in Manzanillo around 6:30am.Â I sent a text to the guys and heard back about 45 minutes later that they were 30 minutes out.Â That was a relief since I was naturally assuming they wouldnâ€™t be up so early.Â I passed about 2 hours of time reading the Mexican anthology book that I had brought with me..Â Next I heard from the guys they were trying to find the bus station.Â I left and got a quick bite to eat at a dingy little cafÃ© next to the station.Â When I made it back to the station and walked in to ask the woman I had befriended whether she had seen any gringos looking for someone, she answered no.Â I headed back to the seating area to chill out for a while longer, and then the savior Guillermo entered the scene explaining that once they had reached Manzanillo they spent 2 and a half hours driving in large, not so concentric, circles in an heroic effort to find me.
Once in the truck we headed South for Pascuales to hopefully find some hollow barrels.Â We walked out front quickly, anxious to see what the hype was all about and hoping that the viento del mar (on-shore wind) hadnâ€™t destroyed the surf.Â The surf was thumping and vibrations could be felt through your feet when sets crashed.Â Unfortunately, after watching and walking down the beach we realized that a paddle out was probably not worth it since it was disorganized and enormous, with not one person out.Â The waves were definitely throwing drive-through pits, but few were makeable.Â We walked the strip of cabanas and small restaurants and sat down for 15 minutes to talk to some surfers who were under a palapa next to a couple of skis.Â This was part of the San Diego contingent that we had heard about â€“ oddball surfers who basically lived at Pascuales and had been surfing the break hiding out for 10 years.Â They recently got into using the ski to do hop offs (as opposed to towing in with a rope) and they gave us the scoop on the break, the area, the current conditions, etc.Â They said that that morning, although thriving with swell, the surf was messy for some reason and it was wasnâ€™t a good day for the beast.Â They said the surf was averaging
We decided to move on down to La Ticla, another famous break know for being an ultra-long and hollow, left hand pointbreak.Â Dang, we pulled into Ticla after seeing carload after carload of surfboards on the highway most likely heading back home at the end of the weekend and providing us hope that we would have empty waves, and Ticla was chaotic also, not even sure if it was surfable.Â We were, however, determined to get some surf in and decided that we would camp at Ticla for the night and surf that afternoon.Â We waxed up and after asking where to paddle out we paddled across the river and heading toward the famous point.Â I had the Biofoam mini-gun and everyone else their typical boards with them.Â Bill and Kevin paddled out first and Sean and I went to school on their experience, noting that they were swept, almost violently, to the North.Â We walked South a little ways and jumped in.Â The paddle out was brutal, relentless sets rolling in and choppy.Â We paddled and paddled and finally made it out, or at least almost out but Bill and Kevin were no longer in sight.Â We were probably
After the run we headed into the small town of Placita to see if there was anything going on.Â Town was quiet, with the typical, quaint, communal jardin or public plaza and a couple food stalls, except that as we approached a small internet cafÃ© we heard some dance music and saw a mora (chick) dancing in front of a house in a most-provocative manner.Â As our course altered slightly to see what the haps was, the dancer slowly retreated into a house or bar, but continued to freak the large pillars of wood holding up the porch roof on her way in.Â Kevin was lured closer by the medusal beauty.Â As we got close the masculine stature of the scantily clad she-male was readily apparent and an abrupt â€˜abort missionâ€™ was in order.Â We reeled in laughter as we peeled out and took turns using the painstakingly slow internet and walking around the square.Â
With absolutely no establishments in sight to help end our hunger we asked around and, as usual, were pointed down the dark highway.Â After a walk down the highway with fireflies lighting up all over we ended up at a couple small restaurants with semi-trucks around â€“ a Mexican trucker stop.Â Â We ordered quesadillas, tacos, etc. and tempted Kevin to hunt down a gecko that was chilling up on a beam, barking and eating a boat-load of bugs â€“ the perfect pet for our camper.Â Kevinâ€™s agility was no match for the geckoâ€™s uncanny ability to crawl into small holes and we left gecko-less.Â It goes without saying that at dinner we also solved the daily sleeping arrangement dilemma with a quite exhilarating RPS tournament.Â Sean and I rose victorious (as we become further wisened the strategies of the throws are becoming more and more complex - edge of the seat excitement).
We camped on the side of the road going down to the Ticla break as the quorum was unwilling to part with pesos to camp on someoneâ€™s property if we could be
After La Ticla we headed to Maruata â€“ a beach that was supposed to have a right point break and some hollow beach break.Â Per the guide the point was typically small unless having a solid swell and the water was clear and good for snorkeling.Â We rolled into town, which was little more than a plaza and a couple markets serving the local gente â€“ clearly we were in the middle of la temporada baja (the low season) because it was a ghost town down at the beach.Â When we pulled up we parked the car and took a stroll down the beach to the Southern point where the beachbreak was purportedly good.Â The beachbreak had some potential but at that time was closing out â€“ looked like some fun bodysurf to take barrels on the head but little else.Â
We all ran back in the sand, working up a healthy, tropical sweat and then swam for a minute before reparking the truck on a vacant lot to prep up.Â After purchasing some peanuts from a local peanut picker we were stopped by the â€˜ownerâ€™ of the empty lot that we were parked in and a vigilant negotiation struck up between him and me.Â With the old man starting at 40 pesos per person and me at 10 we had a sizeable disagreement.Â Seeing how he had no services other than palapas across the street and a single lightbulb â€“ which would cause both Kevin and I to take minor electrocution injuries before turning on â€“ Feral had some leverage.Â A couple minutes into the deal Guillermo swooped in as my wingman and the man acquiesced to 10 pesos per person.Â We moved the truck to the other side of the dirt road to take advantage of the hammock hanging opportunity and the sombra (shade).Â We got the quiver picked apart and headed out for a surf.Â The wave ended up being a lot of fun and had a quirky take off where the rock island that was considered the point was.Â Basically swell would roll in and would disconnect because of the island and then reconnect after the island a form a wedge that would jack up and shoot you down the line after a steep takeoff.Â The first day of surf Sean hit a rock with his board and tore a skag out and had to head in to find a suitable replacement.Â When he was at the truck he was stopped by a group after being recognized by Valerie from
When we pulled into town (which is up above the beach and inland a couple of hundred yards) we hunted around for a restaurant and found the one and only that was open (it was 1pm in the afternoon and the locals were feeling slightly lazy that day).Â The only place open was a torta shop with chicken tortas and nothing else, except for Cocos Frios (refrigerated whole coconuts that are chopped open with a machete and penetrated with a straw for extraction of the cold coconut water) which made my day twice over.Â We ate, drank, and were merry before heading off for the beach to check the surf.Â We took a hike for a half hour â€“ I continued down after the others had satisfied their curiosities to see if the left point was breaking.Â While I was rummaging around the beach the guys met a group of 7 surfers who were checking out the break and turns out that one of the guys is Craig Satcher and somehow it comes up that he knows me as his family business was contracted by Pacer in nearly all of Pacerâ€™s communities.Â We headed out for a surf and took turns shooting with the Canon Rebel.Â The surf was pumping, at least for our experience to date, and barrels were taken on the head.Â I sustained a minor injury from a brush with the rocks and still have the open wounds on my ankle and knee â€“ a nice battle scar.Â Everyone had some sick waves and afterwards a refreshing bath in the rivermouth â€“ the luxury of cool, fresh water is rarely available but always enjoyed.Â We stayed the night in Huahua after moving around from site to site in search of a suitable staging area and eventually ending back by the beach.Â
The next morning after a surf check that failed to meet Muster we agreed to hit up Nexpa.Â We got on the road heading South. Â Later that morning, shortly before noon we rolled on into Nexpa and the chill out vibe was omnipresent with mellow palapa roof cabanas, reggae tapestries, etc.Â We stopped and asked some bro (Karl from Montana) what the surf was like and the break in general and he said that it had cleaned up in the last day but was only waist high â€“ disappointing news to say the least.Â We decided to pull in and park to check out the area and the surf ourselves.Â We had read in the surferâ€™s guide to Mexico about the family that owns the majority if not all of the land at Rio Nexpa and we parked at Chichoâ€™s place.Â He was one of the brothers that jointly owns the land.Â We took a look from his restaurant and the break appeared to be working â€“ it was a long, long left point break and had at least some size â€“ it appeared to be head high from our vantage.Â It was noon or so and we were jonesing for a surf and the wind hadnâ€™t picked up yet.Â
We all blocked up, with some Zinka accent for flare and figured out where to paddle out.Â The way the area is set up there is a large river mouth the flows out onto large cobblestones and forms a far out breaking point.Â You paddle out at the river mouth and the current sweeps you to the North as you work to punch through the sets and inevitably get swept to the North side of the break and then paddle back to the South.Â Itâ€™s a solid 20 minutes to get out.Â Once we got out Bill and I went out to the outermost peak and Sean picked off the insides, avoiding the lineup.Â Needless to say I was in heaven with this 250 yard long left point that was decent speed and at the outermost peak was a couple feet overhead.Â On the paddle out I conversed with a chick from Lafayette,
We spent 3 nights in Nexpa (September 26, 27, & 28) â€“ two nights camping and the third night we got hooked up by Laura and were able to stay in the big Rio Nexpa house.Â The Texans had left early and had already paid for the entire week.Â Amy and Dave, a couple from
Al fin we pulled into Zihuatenajo and found a sweet parking spot near the main drag of the lively, beachtown â€“ another night of city camping in the sweat-inducing tropics.Â Amy and Dave took us to a margarita place they highly recommended that was on the bay.Â Gorgeous view and cocktails in hand we shot the shit for a while before heading back to their hostel/hotel where we finagled showers (at least a couple of us did).Â We hit up another spot they knew of for dinner and had a delicious dinner and heckled the local camareras.Â Bill delved into a plate of awesome Mole Negro with chicken â€“ a national dish/sauce that originated in Oaxaca and has an incredibly rich taste do to the unique ingredients, including chocolate.Â At dinner we saw the Texans cruise by on the sidewalk and we drug them into the restaurant so we could expand our numbers.Â After dinner the Texans stayed with us and we had a group of 10 or so tilting back cold cervezas at a local bar.Â After being accosted for trying to change their laptop to play some better music we took off and divided into teams â€“ Bill and I, Sean and Kevin â€“ Amy and Dave went back to their hotel and the Texans tried to shovel us into a cab that they paid for to take us to the local cabaret.Â We vehemently refused until the Texans disappeared and the cab driver bailed, giving us back the money the Texans had paid him â€“ not a bad deal.Â Bill and I hit up the Gente that night for a taste of the local color.Â The start was in a bar where we played a tournament of Bones (dominoes) with 3 locals, who refused to wager anything on the games due to the intimidation factor diffused by Guillermo.Â From there we hit up the local discotheque after juking the bouncer in order to skate the cover charge.Â We took a couple laps, split a caguama, and blew out of there.Â A nightcap of quesadillas led into bedtime.Â Sean and Kevin had also hit up a local disco and busted a couple of their patented moves to the pounding beats.Â
Upon waking up the next morning (I was the first one stirring) I set off on a mission to find the local market for a jugo.Â Luck be two old ladies walking down the street to whom I offered my company in exchange for them directing me to the market.Â They were so enthralled they walked me all the way to the jugueria â€“ I was deep in the Corazon of the market, sitting shoulder to shoulder with the juice drinking gente.Â After ordering and thoroughly enjoying a licuado of papaya, platano, orange juice, and extra hielo (ice) I headed back to the truck to rouse up anyone that remaining to take them on a tour of the market.Â Doug was the only one remaining and I got him out of the camper and took him to the market for a jugo and an order of hotcakes â€“ outstanding.Â
We spent the next hour and a half gathering everyone together and getting the rig ready for blast off so we could get Amy & Dave to the airport on time.Â Amy insisted that she wanted to come visit us for the Nicaragua leg, and possibly beyond, and do some video work to document the Feral Green experience.Â Weâ€™d be stoked to have her down and, as a professional videographer, sheâ€™d hook us up with a Feral video.Â Plus, she could probably give us a surf lesson or three since she ripped much harder than us.Â After getting them to the airport we headed South (naturally) with the destination of Acapulco in mind.Â A couple hours into our drive, in the town of (weÂ´, we noticed a hitchhiker on the side of the road and I motioned for us to pick him up â€“ a motion seconded by Sean and passed on through Parliament.Â We stopped a couple hundred yards after him and he ran frantically towards the truck.Â After letting him and all of his belongings (a blanket, small satchel, and straw hat) squeeze into the back middle seat we went through introductions and gave him the stage to deliver his coming to being story about how and why he was on the side of the road.Â This rolled into a saga that was enthralling to say the least.Â His name is Richard (AKA Don Ricardo or Don Aventon â€“ Aventon being the word for hitchhiker)……
By admin | October 8, 2007
Dr. Robbins hereâ€¦We hit the road for
We had the cabbie drop us off at the Drive Through Liquor store so that we could pre-funk with a few beers before entering the Bull Fight.Â We quaffed a few in the drive through lane and watched scores of drunk drivers roll up with empties between their legs.Â They would pass their finished beers to the attendant and would leave with fresh beers in hand.Â The store workers would open the road sodas for customers trading in, so drivers did not have to dangerously take their eyes off the road while drunk and trying to open their next beer in traffic.Â Safety is always first in Mexicoâ€¦
Once in the Plaza Del Toros (Bullfighting Arena), we grabbed seats in the shaded section and watched the abattoir also known as a â€œBull Fightâ€.Â There were six fights in total and like Eric said, it was like watching a bad movie over and over again.Â Two different methods were used that both ended in the death of the bull.Â
The first method involves a horseman who wears out the bull by running it ragged and stabbing it with colorful swords.Â Then, after thoroughly wearing the beast out, a group of 10 Forcados line up on foot, in colorful clothing, and the bull charges them.Â The first bull we saw dug deep and charged the Farcodos with surprising speed.Â He flung the first guy into the air and then trampled him while everyone in the crowd freaked out.Â After getting trampled, he was covered in blood, barely conscious and ushered out for Medical attention.Â The horseman returns after the Forcados get flung around by the bull for a while. The lone horseman then stabs the bull with a larger sword and a rodeo clown runs out eventually to finish the downed bull with a dagger between the skull and vertebrae.Â All in all, cruel, unfair and really not that entertaining; a slaughter more than a fight!Â
The next type of bullfight involves a traditional Spanish Matador.Â These showmen, who are very charismatic and well practiced, use red or purple â€œtoroâ€ capes to taunt the bull into a charge.Â When the bull charges the cape, the Matador side steps the charge and stabs the bull with a sword in the shoulder blades.Â Midway through, a rider with a large spear on an armored horse enters the arena.Â The rider stabs the bull with the spear, boring a hole in its back, like sinking a fencepost deep into soft soil. Â After this, the Matador returns with a large sword to deal the final blow that ends the bullâ€™s life.Â The Matador must stab the bull between the shoulder blade and neck in order to make it fall.Â A good Matador only needs one try to kill the bull.Â The Matadors we saw needed several.Â After watching six of these â€œfights,â€ we had quenched any bloodlust that was latent in our minds.Â By the end, we were all hoping the bulls would mangle some of the Farcados or Matadors.Â Personally, I would have been much happier drinking Mai Tais in a Speedo on the beach than watching this cruel demonstration of Spanish chauvinism.
That night was Mexican Independence Day, which celebrated almost 200 years of freedom from Spanish Rule.Â People packed the streets of Old Mazatlan, bands blared, and at midnight, everyone screamed for a solid 15 minutes (the famous Grito) after the municipal president yelled â€˜Viva Mexicoâ€™.Â Humid and overcrowded, we were sweating like Elvis in a cheese shop.Â Luckily, we left the A/C on high in our hotel room all day.Â For the first time in weeks, we all slept with our heads on cool pillows and our bodies under covers.Â
Out front of the hotel the next day, our truck wouldnâ€™t start for the 5th time. We hailed a jump from one of the locals and headed south for some solitude and surf.Â On the way south, I was sitting shotgun and nearing the end of my 500 page Clive Cussler novel.Â Out of nowhere, a hornet the size of a hummingbird landed on my neck.Â I freaked out and started gyrating, swatting at the thing and screaming like a twelve year old girl.Â I finally managed to smack the behemoth of a bug with my book sending the insect out the window along with my book, leaving nothing but the question of whether the Japanese mobsters were going to nuke the US and find the billions in gold buried in a Vietnamese cave or not.Â We laughed into a small village called Santa Cruz, located between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.Â We set up camp next to a restaurant on the beach and directly in front of a long left point breaking over cobblestone rocks.Â After surfing, night rolled in with storm clouds in tow.Â A torrential downpour ensued and we decided to get out the shampoo and Camp Suds for a little cleanup.Â We showered in the warm rain that felt like a pressure washer being shot down on us from the clouds.
We spent a few days in Santa Cruz and then drove to the town of San Blas.Â We walked in to the local elementary school armed with childrenâ€™s books about keeping the environment clean, Zinka stickers, and our wits.Â Chuck Menzel, from Wetsand.com, has been more than generous in getting the books translated and stocking us up.Â The principal was happy to let us give demonstrations to his classes, so we developed a loose strategy for keeping order and dove in.Â We hit up the fourth graders, and they were great.Â They loved the book, and they all wanted to know how much it cost.Â When we told them that we were giving a few to the school as a gift from Wetsand.com, they were overjoyed.Â They slapped their Zinka stickers on their chests, hooted, hollered, and ran amuck, bowling over the teacher, and giving high fives to the four of us.Â We went from class to class, talking to the children and giving out stickers.Â It was, hands down, our best day so far.
By admin | October 1, 2007
Kevin Broderick, signing inâ€¦The ferry ride across the Sea of Cortez was interesting to say the least. Hereâ€™s the deal, the ferry is primarily used by truckers with nothing to do for the 9 hour ferry ride; so in the true Mexican trucker tradition, they blast the music and drink excessively. Seeing as how the music was way too loud to allow us to carry a conversation within our little nook, we proceeded to watch these future engineers proceed to build pyramids out of their slain beer cansâ€¦ and get WASTED!!! Rolling blackouts were a common theme.Â During the ride, we occupied our time watching flying fish go anywhere from 50 to 100 yards out of the water.Â We also struck up a 4 hour game of Liarâ€™s Dice (LD) and soon had two Aussies (Gabe & Ash) and an English chick with surprisingly perfect teeth playing with us.Â
As we unloaded the ferry around 10 PM the question that had been shooting through our minds all evening was answered; if these guys are wasted, who drives their trucks once the ferry disembarks at port? Well to them this did not seem to be an issue, as they all climbed in their rigs and barreled out of the parking lot.Â Sean & Eric, who were down on the loading docs with these inebriated maniacs saw a truck crash within 5 minutes of the gates opening.Â We waited a few minutes to give these locos a head start.Â
Our new Aussie friends, Gabe and Ashley, purchased an around the world ticket, and as a part of it, they bought a truck and camper in LA, and were driving through Mexico. They decided to caravan with us to our first spot in Mainland Mex called Marmol, which is just north of Mazatlan and is said to have some great breaks. As we exited the lot we werenâ€™t sure where to go, and found ourselves lost in the barrio within 5 short minutes. Consulting our map for some guidance, we hopped back on the road with the Aussies in tow.Â Within 1 mile, flashing lights appeared behind us.Â Realizing it was not a UFO, and only a federale (Mexican Police), we pulled over next to a swamp rife with mosquitoes.Â Â
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Two rules to driving in Mexico: 1. Never drive at night (broken) 2. Never stop for anyone (broken). We pull onto the tiny shoulder as drunken truckers blast by us. Being next to the quagmire, we quickly find out the bugs are attracted to our headlights. The cop has found something bogus to pull us over for, and Sean and Eric are arguing with the cop, all the while fighting off the incessant swarms of biting bugs. The cop gives us our options: Pay $240 USD to get back on the road, or sleep on the side of the road next to the swamp and die from blood loss as the bugs devour us.Â The first two options just were not feasible for Feral Green, so we did what we do best, argue, negotiate and haggle.Â As Sean threw out his best ninja moves battling the bugs, he and Eric managed to talk the dirty cop down to $47… a great deal to get us back on the road and out of the swamp. We pulled away, a little dizzy from the bug bites and got back on the road. The Aussies to our surprise, had driven ahead, and pulled over on the side of the road to wait for us. Within the first 10 minutes of caravanning together, we had been pulled over, and gotten them lostâ€¦ they are a trusting pair! Unfortunately, a little further down the road, they pulled off in a truck stop to sleep the rest of the night.
Eric somehow managed to drive us until 4 in the morning to our destination city. I donâ€™t know how, I was asleep, only awoken to us being ushered in reverse out of the tollbooth lane as we had overshot the exit (which was an unmarked dirt road) to Marmol. Although expensive, the toll roads were the only way to go for safely driving at night.Â We parked it for the night in front of a small school, and set up camp for the night/ morning. We awoke to the sound of little kids yelling and the shuffle of small feet outside the camper. Unbeknownst to us, we had pretty much camped in the school.Â Awkwardly arising, we gave the kids a â€œBuenos Diasâ€ and headed towards the beach.Â Â After a little help from the locals, we tracked down the surf break at the mouth of a river that was also used as a fish camp.Â We parked and locked the truck and made our way out to the breaks. After a good day of surfing Sean and I took out the crab trap, and some fishing gear to try and score some dinner while Guillermo and Hongo de la Gente (Eric) set up a nice camp of hammocks and sun shade. The fishing trip did not go smoothly by any oneâ€™s definition. In an attempt to check out a rocky beach we managed to nearly sink the boat, and kill ourselves.Â Letâ€™s just say that Sean paid the price for choosing not to wear shoes on this little lark.Â Getting off the beach turned out to be no easier than getting in.Â After starting the motor, we spent a solid 20 minutes using our scupper to scoop out 4 inches of water from our inflatable boat.Â We decide to name ourselves Team Scupper International (patent pending) and headed back out to sea.Â We dropped our lobster trap and started fishing.Â After an uneventful hour, we decided to head in and wait for the cooler hours of the evening to try again. We headed in and couldnâ€™t make it back up the river due to the low tide, so we buried a stick, tied up the boat and left it on the beach until the tide came up. The camp smelled like the outhouse door on a tuna boat and had more bugs than the Midwest. Â We decided it was time for us to move on. Sean and I now had the task of retrieving our homemade lobster â€œTrapâ€ (patent pending). This task was not easyâ€¦ for the sake of our mothersâ€™ health, I will leave it at thatâ€¦
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We packed up camp, and headed for Mazatlan to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day.Â
By admin | September 21, 2007
The last week in Baja produced more highs and lows for Feral Green than a UCLA football season ending with pepper spray.Â We found out the brakes on our truck were shot the hard way.Â Pushing them to the floor and realizing we were 14,000 pounds without a way to slow down.Â Using a combination of downshifting and the emergency brake, we made our way into Guerrero Negro, the first main town in Baja Sur.Â Before the mechanicâ€™s opened in the A.M, we went to refill our potable water, which had run dry at our last camp.Â Bill tried to ease the tuck into the parking lot, but ended up having no braking power and smashed into the door to the water companyâ€™s truck at a low speed. An awkward silence ensued.Â The workers came out of the purified water shop and stared at us with wide eyes.Â After making sure the window rolled up with ease, they began cracking up and told us not to worry about a thing.Â Relieved, we told them to keep the change for our water bill, and we set out for repair.Â
We took the truck to a mechanicâ€™s shop run by a man nicknamed El Chepe, who we later named El Chepiac due to the fact that he was crazier than Gary Bucci after a seven day bender.Â Putting down his 2nd Tecate (it was 10AM) and belching loudly, El Chepiac informed us our master cylinder was bad.Â He laughed and told us that he would have to order the part from San Diego, which would take a few days.Â Eyeing the dingy town, replete with mangy cur and plenty of trash, we decided to limp our injured rig to a new venue on the beach in search of some tasty waves.Â Arriving, we found the surf flatter than Jane Fondaâ€™s stomach.Â Kevin & Bill went for a spear fish, but found only murky seaweed and some mean looking plastic bottles.Â Eric befriended a local fisherman named Alicio, who gave us some mesquite and cactus to burn for firewood in a land where kindle is scarcer than non-alcoholic beer in a taco shop.Â We thanked our new friend for the tinder and set up camp in the windy darkness. Â Standing around the fire, Bill had two scorpions crawl across his feet in less than 20 minutesâ€¦ we spent the rest of the night taking turns checking for scorpions on the ground with the flashlight.
We spent the next day working on the truck: painting, electrical work, minor repairs etc.Â Alicio, the fisherman came by in the evening to check his lobster traps.Â A spectral shadow, he walked up with his catch of eight healthy looking lobstrocities.Â Reading our minds and salivating mouths, he offered to share his plunder with us.Â Like finding $$ in a pair of dirty jeans, our day just became that much better.Â We gave him a $20 and told him to grab some cerveza and whatever else he needed from town.Â When he returned, we had already taken the tails off the lobster and he showed us how to remove the intestines and filet them with butter.Â We ate like kings; lobster, corn, rice, tortillas, beer and enough butter to keep someone on Lipitrol for years to come.Â We slept easy and awoke early.
Kevin and I took the inflatable boat out fishing with Alicio in the morning and scored 15 fish in just over an hour.Â We gutted the fish, gave half to Alicio, and took off back to our hovel of a mechanic shop in Guerrero Negro to get our brakes fixed once and for all.Â Arriving at El Chepiacâ€™s, he and his cronies were already drunker than the 7th inning bleacher section at Dodger Stadium.Â Yelling at us with a smile on his face, he said the part was in and they would start working on the truck right away.Â Awesomeâ€¦ nothing like a group of inebriated grease monkeys fixing your brakes in a foreign country.Â Returning after a few hours of useless internet time, El Chepiac dealt us some bad news.Â The wrong part came for our brakes and we would have to wait 3 more days for the next part.Â Being that our truck was disassembled in this madmanâ€™s lot, we told him to order the new part and asked him if we could make his mechanicâ€™s yard a motel and sleep there for the next few days.Â Screaming, he began swearing and finally said â€œSi, Si, Si. Venga Gringos. Hotel Chepe esta abiertoâ€.
The next three days were like a bad version of the movie Groundhogâ€™s Day, but instead of Bill Murray, we had Bill Boyd.Â Every morning, El Chepiac would walk into the auto yard (also our hotel at the moment) early in the AM and begin banging on our camper and would yell â€œpinche gringosâ€ wake up.Â He would peak his head inside our tent, yell like a maniac, laugh aloud, and would jokingly yell every Spanish expletive I had ever heard of.Â Laughing with him, we would rise like white zombies out of the auto yard into the dusty streets of Guerrero Negro.Â El Chepiac and his lackeys would start their day working hard, but drinking harder.Â We would leave Hotel Chepiac for breakfast at a diner that showed C grade American movies in Spanish and served up a mean short stack of pancakes with tocino (bacon).Â The real draw to the place was not just the pancakes or entertaining movies, but the fact that they had a bathroom with a toilet seat, a small luxury we had taken for granted early in the trip.Â
The three days in Guerrero Negro were spent reading, logging internet time, interacting with the locals, playing pool and trying (sometimes in vain) to stay out of trouble.Â Bill, Kevin and I played soccer in the town soccer match (futbol rapido) on Sunday.Â Everyone had a great time and Bill pretty much dominated the town single handedly.Â The kids in the town loved us and sent us home patting our backs and asking us to stay another week.Â Then Eric scored us 50 gallons of vegetable oil from a guy who ran a taco truck.Â We filtered the Veg into our sedentary truck in Chepiacâ€™s auto yard and taught some people about our Veg Oil System.Â The correct brake part finally arrived on Tuesday, September 11.Â Chepiac told us to buy him a 12 pack before he would start on our truck.Â We hardnosed him and agreed to buy him and his crew beer when they finished the job. Incentivised and thirsty, El Chepe had our truck fixed and running within 2 hours.Â
We scored him some cerveza and cash for his help and three days of madness and went to the local welder for some much needed strengthening on our surf racks.Â The welder, named BUCHO, turned out to be a great guy.Â He had a dog that was a hermaphrodite and was very proud of IT.Â He took a great deal of time showing us what a hermaphroditic dog looked like… I will leave it at that.Â He welded supports for our board rack and spare tire mount.Â We paid him with some tools we were not using and hit the road just before dark.Â Â Bill drove us partway to La Paz that evening.Â We holed up in a hotel parking lot in Santa Rosalia and took a swim in their pool while security was sound asleep.Â The next AM we were gone before sunup in an attempt to escape the omnipresent heat.Â By 3:30 PM on September 12 (Happy B-Day Taylor), we were enjoying phenomenal ice cream in an oasis called
Waking up with sand fleas in our hair, Bill and Eric suggested ice cream for breakfast.Â Smiling, we rushed into town, grabbed ice creams and got back to the port just in time to get our truck on the ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo, in Mainland
SDR â€“ September 13, 4:00 Post MeridianÂ