The Endless Summer

After a year of living in the “sunny” part of San Francisco, I was quite done with living in a cool climate that was constantly covered in a chilling fog.  I grew up in Los Angeles, if I am to only have one climate I prefer it to be warm and sunny.  So when planning this trip I decided to chase summer and festivals across the continents.  I have one cold stop in China in January to celebrate Chinese New Years but hope to make that my only non-balmy stop.  My stops in South America and Southeast Asia will most likely be beaches.

It would not exactly be an endless summer without some surf.  Despite growing up mere miles from the beach and spending whole summers at the beach in my teenage years, I do not know how to surf.  I stuck to boogie boarding, likely due to my inability to swim.  I still don’t know how to swim but the instructor here in Ecuador insisted it was not an issue.  He had taught a 65 year old lady earlier in the month.  There was a woman in her 70’s in capoeira in the Bay Area that could beat me any day.  The geriatrics totally kick my butt at learning fun new things.  I hope I am still that adventurous and able bodied then.

"Imagine the board is like a handsome 9 foot tall man." "Why would I keep trying to get up?" "Good point, I'll stop using that."

I have had friends who learned how to surf and had some ideas that I would not be able to stand on my board after one mere class.  Luckily Pablo and Katherine of Surf Switch were really great teachers and used a much easier longboard for my lesson.  By the end of the hour or two I had managed to stand and catch a few waves.  This was easier than I thought it was going to be!  Having two great private teachers certainly helped. I am rather pleased that Ecuador uses the US dollar as currency and that things here are really pretty darned cheap.  I don’t think I could rent a surfboard for an hour in LA for how much this private lesson was.

I had also managed to swallow a few gallons of seawater, I forgot what that feels like.  I did feel great after class and relaxed as I watched Pablo run out to catch a few more waves.  It’s great to see someone so passionate about enjoying the ocean.  Katherine cleaned up and had a smoke while we waited.  I forget while in America that it is much more common to smoke in other countries.  I only see smokers at bars back home.  It looks like other countries are trying to change that though.

"Smoking causes cancer". The other side said "Smoking kills." This makes the surgeon general's warning look absolutely wimpy.

I am rather amused that quite a few American brands are in South America.  Many of the snacks and packaged food items are brands I am quite used to seeing back home.  When people visit other countries I tell them to bring me potato chips to see what local cultures eat.  I am a little disappointed that the chips here are pretty similar and there are no weird flavors.  Oh well, I’m sure Brazli or Asia will make up for the inoffensive snacks and normal foods.

Sunset and surf photo courtesy of my neighbor in Curia, John.

I am looking forward to the various other new things I am sure I will try as I chase an endless summer.  Maybe I’ll take another surf class.


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