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My Invitations to Two Traditional Fijian Weddings

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I’m done with drinking drugs in Fiji.

That was hard for me to admit for a while, as not to disrespect the locals who graciously offered me dozens and dozens and dozens of bowls filled with kava to drink throughout my time in here on the island. I chugged and chugged, my tongue and lips grew numb, and I eventually felt like I was high on something funky.

What is kava?

Kava is a popular non-alcoholic drink among Fijian locals. Technically a drug made from the kava ground root plant (Piper methysticum), it contains chemical ingredients that can produce the feeling of drunkenness, caused from the lactones in kava to be quickly absorbed into the blood flow and into the brain.

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It’s ceremonious staple in villages where locals sit and gather around a giant wooden bowl as someone prepares the kava to be passed around for everyone to consume.

From my own experiences with kava, it’s completely social and the only time I’ve ever drank it is in the company of many other locals, while sitting cross-legged on the floor of someone’s home. It’s like how you’re at a party and certain friends run off and go to someone’s room or car to smoke weed with each other. It’s like that here except without the sneaking off part. It’s completely legal in Fiji and is a completely normal thing.

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It’s all fine and dandy. I’ve had tons of kava during the past few weeks. Its something new and I wanted to fit into the community as much as possible. My only gripe with kava is that…

It Tastes. Like. Shit.

To describe the taste to you…just imagine a giant wooden bowl of water you’d get from a garden hose. Then toss in some dirt, mix it up, and add a dash of pepper and bam—you have something that looks and tastes like kava.

The person who makes it, sits in front of a bowl of water and adds the kava root (in powdered form) into what looks like an old knee sock. He proceeds to massage and crumple the sock in the water as if he were washing the socks and in turn washing his hands. Then once it’s been settled, he dips a bowl into the kava water and passes it around. Everyone shares the same bowl and the attention is focused on you while the others clap once or twice in unison. It’s a unique tradition that I appreciated but it didn’t change the fact that I disliked the taste. I’m also ignoring the fact that the person making the drink basically rinsed their hands in the bowl of kava—whatever I’ll live.

(Note: Many people I met loved the kava. Then there were also many who felt the way I did about it. If you are ever in Fiji, definitely give it a try and form your own opinion!)

It was during the second of two weddings that I decided I just about had enough and felt comfortable declining kava every time it was offered to me. And it was offered a lot! Probably because I was a foreign guest who resembled them.


The Weddings

I was invited to the first wedding after befriending locals I met at the Beachouse during my first week in the country. They invited me to my first kava gathering where I chugged about six bowls and during that time, one of them invited me to their son’s wedding which would take place the following week.

“If I can get the day off from teaching then I’m there!” I told him.

I had no problem getting the day off and was able to make the two-hour trip to the village along with two other volunteers I decided to bring with me. This is an experience I wanted to share.

I arrived in my sulu, a button up, and flip-flops, ready for…actually I didn’t know what I was ready for. The weddings I’m used to in the States involve a formal ceremony of the bride and groom and lots of drinking and dancing with family and friends the rest of the day. Here, I was game for whatever they threw at me.

Once we arrived to the village, I met up with a few of the locals and one directed us to sit in the meeting house for kava. Inside were about fifty villagers, all men, sitting on the floor surrounding a gigantic kava bowl. I sat down next to a guy in a red button-up who flagged me to come sit next to him and was immediately handed a bowl of kava to drink. Then another. And another.

What about the rest of these guys in the room? They would probably like some kava?

Although I blended in the crowd I also stuck out a bit. I had a bulky and expensive camera strung around my shoulder to document and I was sitting next to two foreign volunteer girls who obviously weren’t from here. So we were circled with attention.

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“Where is the village chief?” I asked one of the guys across me.

“Right there,” he responded as he nodded his head to the man sitting next to me in the red button-up.

He didn’t look like any chief I had imagined. He blended in with everyone here and sat on the floor next to everyone else just like any ordinary villager.

What makes him the chief? It’s because he’s the eldest.

I started to feel heavy from the kava and my mouth was almost completely numb, but whenever the kava bowl was passed to me, I made sure to chug it as not to disrespect the chief. He was sitting right next to me observing my every move! But then again he probably wouldn’t care if I denied it since he seemed so laid back and at ease.

The wedding itself took place inside a small church inside the village.

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The bride and groom wore traditional attire. One note about the bride, she looked unhappy as hell throughout most of the ceremony. I did manage to get a single shot of her cracking a smile.

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I noticed that this wedding had everything they needed except for a photographer. I didn’t feel comfortable going around during the wedding snapping photos quite yet but I made sure to take some afterwards, with the intention of emailing them to the community.

I asked one of the men, how come they didn’t have a photographer.

“It’s very expensive,” he said with a humble smile. “We can’t afford one.”

Every wedding needs a photographer. The photos that come about become an everlasting symbol.

“If you have another wedding soon, I can photograph for you guys free of charge.” I offered to him.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking more kava, playing with the kids, and eating the meals served to everyone who attended. The food took forever to come out but I sat in patience, getting drunk off of kava. I didn’t want anymore and began to politely deny whenever the bowls came my way…unless someone absolutely insisted! When the women were finished preparing the food, I was served a plate full of local delicacies including beef, cassava, and lots of steamed veggies. We ate it all with our bare hands too which added to the flare.

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The wedding was low-key and mellow. The second wedding was anything but low-key.

The second wedding was much bigger and attracted a larger crowd of locals from nearby villagers. I brought two different volunteers with me to experience it, expecting it to be much of the same as last time. This was totally different. I was told I’d be shooting one of New Zealand’s Rugby players. It wasn’t the All-Black squad, probably a player from a minor league.

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Since I was the designated camera guy, I made sure to take photos of everything as much as I could. It was a convenient, yet true excuse to avoid anymore kava. Everyone was all over the place and just like before the bride looked pissed off the whole day, which didn’t help with inspiration. I think maybe she was just extremely nervous? She was followed by parades of people taking pictures on their  Samsung phones, sometimes completely in the way of the guy with the professional camera here. As a mater of fact, I don’t thing the wedding party looked at me even once taking photos all around them. They focused on their family members snapping more so, which is understandable. I was a stranger there.

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The ceremony was held in a church just outside of the village in the vicinity of a neighboring school; much larger than the church at the previous wedding a couple weeks prior.

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I went all around snapping photos, trying not to disrespect any culture specific rules that I wasn’t aware of. I was a silent ninja and made sure not to be totally intrusive. I think I did the trick just right.

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As neat as it was to witness another spectacle of a wedding, this wedding dragged on forever. It was mostly just standing and sitting around waiting for food and for the bride and groom to receive their gifts. I couldn’t stay all day, I had to meet the other volunteers later in the afternoon back at the Beachouse for the weekend.

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It was a long day, but I think my favorite part were the puppies I found near the quietest parts of the village.

How come no one was around playing with these guys? They had to be less than two weeks old.

Screw the kava! I could play with these pups instead.

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I said my goodbyes to them and told them I would make an effort to visit the village one more time before I left Fiji for good. 🙂

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Surf The Sky And Other Ways To Fly

The best thing about this unplanned trip is never knowing exactly what I’ll be getting myself into. For example, I didn’t know that I was going to surf the sky!

…Well kinda…

We stayed an extra day in the city of Granada, Nicaragua, which is similar in appearance to Antigua, Guatemala except without the cobblestone roads and fireworks.

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We stayed at a hostel called the Panda Lodge, which was simple and basic. All I really need is a bed and decent wi-fi for blogging purposes and I’m all set. Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I decided to head further down Nicaragua to the town of San Juan Del Sur, also known as the backpacking capital of Nicaragua.

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This time we opted to take a couple of chicken buses all the way to San Juan, which proved to be extremely cheap but a hassle. Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. The price more than made up for the slight discomfort. The chicken bus dropped us off at the front of the entrance to our planned hostel, The Naked Tiger. We’ve heard many great things about this place which is known as the party hostel of San Juan. While backpacking, it’s neat to submerge in atmospheres like this because exciting stories always come from it and there’s always tons of new people to meet. A shuttle truck belonging to the Naked Tiger picked us up and drove us to the hostels entrance which was situated on a hill overlooking San Juan Del Sur and its Pacific Ocean.

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At first glance, the hostel looked more like a resort. I couldn’t believe how upscale and cushy it was. This was the party hostel I’ve heard so much about? More like resort hostel. One of the best looking hostels I’ve ever stayed in. We were greeted with a free can of Toña beer and a beer bong. Now THAT is how you greet a guest at a hostel!

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Everyday at 5:15, just before sunset, everyone grabs a beer and gathers on the pools edge looking out towards the sun. Then all at once, everyone shotguns their beer. It’s tradition here that I was more then happy to take part.

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It was becoming more and more apparent that this was indeed the partay hostel I’ve heard so much about. Two backpackers we met in El Salvador, Ryan (Australia) and Lisa (Canada), moved from their hostel in the town center up to the Naked Tiger with us. They really are good people.

One day, Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I went down into town with the intention of climbing up to the Jesus statue we saw on a cliff at the end of the beach. Luke and Tyson split to find a volunteering opportunity while Deb and I continued towards the statue. Nicaragua is freaking hot so halfway there, I just couldn’t be bothered going there anymore. We turned around and went back along the beach and that’s when I saw it. A sign with a picture of a guy on a hover board gliding above water. It looked as though he was surfing in the sky! I darted towards the ad and saw a woman nearby at a stand with a list of extreme activities on the beach.

“What. Is. This?” I asked her with a huge grin on my face.

She giggled. “It’s fly boarding. You have to try it!”

She was a saleswoman that undoubtedly gets paid to say that, but I didn’t need any convincing. It was love at first sight. I looked over at Deb and told her, “I have to do this.” There was no question about it.

I asked the woman all sorts of questions and scheduled myself to fly board the following day just before sunset. It cost a pretty penny though- $90 for twenty minutes of flying or $140 for forty minutes. If I didn’t do it then I would regret it forever. I went back to the Naked Tiger, happier than ever.

The next day, around 4:30pm, I took the shuttle down to the beach and there she was waiting for me. I didn’t think I would get motion sick from this but I didn’t take any chances, especially after the debacle I had flying in the Himalayas, so I took one Dramamine. The woman showed me my board, which was the size of a skateboard with a whole lot of bulkiness. I felt its weight.

“This thing is gonna drag me down to the bottom of the ocean!” I told her while investigating it.

“No, it’s perfectly safe. You’ll be wearing a life vest and the hose attached at the bottom will propel you up” she said, always with a smile. Everything she said was with a genuine smile.

Underneath the board was an attachment for a giant hose, about 15 meters long that will connect to a jet ski. From what I understood, there would be a guide on a jet ski shooting up water through the hose to my board, thus lifting me into the air. It sounded and looked like this was going to be difficult.

“It’s easier than it looks” she said. “Most people are able to stand within the first five minutes.”

I hope she’s right because this looks pretty hard. She gave me a really brief training lesson about proper positioning and what not to do when I’m in the air. Keep your legs straight at first but then crouch as if you were snowboarding, but in the sky! It was go time. I walked towards the shore into the water where my guide was waiting. I floated on my back and stuck my feet into the heavy board as onlookers watched. I was the only one in the water doing this at the time.

“Just lay down and I’ll propel you further out” he said.

He proceeded to pump water into the hose attached to my board as his jet ski took off. I began to glide effortlessly in the water, further out into deeper territory away from the boats and swimmers near the shore. I just laid there in my life vest. It was actually pretty relaxing. Then he gave me a thumbs up.

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The woman at the stand told me to stand straight up in the water when I began to feel pressure from the water on full blast. I lifted up, almost as if I were levitating, so that my knees were out of the water, but then I quickly fell back in. I attempted again. Same thing. Then I tried again until I was completely out of the water and floating in the air. I was instructed to “surf” in big circles close to the jet ski. Subtle movements was all it took to move the board around. It felt almost like I was snowboarding! Green Goblin!

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At points I would ascend so high that when I looked down, I got nervous and would lose my balance. Boarding was fine but when you fell in the water, you fell hard. It hurt a lot!

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“Dive head first when you fall!” shouted the guide.

Easier said than done bro. It was hard to control a fall when my feet were attached to what felt like a cement block. I tried to dolphin jump in and out of the water, like the pros did on the ads, but failed miserably with a painful bellyflop from meters in the air. I didn’t try that again. Even just holding a GoPro was distracting. I stuck with my gliding circles which I perfected by the end of my twenty minutes.

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If I had to describe the feeling of fly boarding in one word, it’d be ‘weird’. I felt like I was on a hovercraft. It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever felt. My twenty minutes were up and as much as I wanted to continue, I was pretty water logged from falling so much. Twenty minutes was a good amount of time for my first go.

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When I got back to Naked Tiger, I wanted to relive the moments I had fly boarding and do it again! Neat thing here is if I wanted to do it a second time, I’d get $20 off the regular price. I showed Luke and other backpackers pictures my guide took with the GoPro and they were quite impressed. I may have sold the idea to a few of them. I wanted to do it again the next day but I had other plans.

Tomorrow is what they call ‘Sunday Funday’, which turned out to be one of my most fondest, silliest Sundays on this trip thus far!

Howlin’ In The Nicaraguan Jungle

The further down Central America we went, greener jungles grew abundant with animals more exotic than before. Luke and I, and our two new backpacking buddies Deb and Tyson, took a free shuttle in Granada to Poste Rojo Tree House Hostel in a jungle just outside of the main city. I was thrilled to go to this place after I’ve heard so many great things about it from Jaryd and other backpackers we met on our route. Plus, jungle settings are probably my most favorite of all the settings in the world! We joined another solo traveler from Finland in the back of a pickup truck up to the tree house entrance about 20 minutes away.

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My backpack was the heaviest it has ever been from all the sand and wine bottles I’ve been collecting over the past few months. Like for real heavy. It’s been a strain on my back and especially my shoulders. When I saw we had to hike up the green mountain to the treetops, I wasn’t too thrilled, but it had to be done. Did someone exchange my clothes for bricks? It felt like I was carrying a boulder on my back! Not to mention my small carryon bag which was completely stuffed turkey with dirty clothes, gizmos, and other worldly entities I’ve scooped up over the months. Going up the hill was quite the workout. People in the army do this? I can’t complain, but it was completely worth it once we got to the top. It took about 15 minutes. My bags dropped off my body like an anchor into the sea, except onto a wooden floor suspended in the trees. We were literally in a giant sized tree house made for fun!

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It was so secluded that we ended up being the only guests there, save for another couple from Montreal that has already been there for one night.

“How do you like it here?” I asked them. Even though I already knew I would love it, I asked them anyway to see what they said.

“It’s great!” said Alexis, the boyfriend of the two. “But I must warn you of the howler monkeys that howl in the early morning that keeps you from sleeping.”

We were so high in the trees that the monkeys appear right next to you making all sorts of noises just as the sun begins to rise. Not to mention all the bugs and birds joining in on the party. Little Aakash of Nepal was the loudest little thing that ever woke me up in the mornings, so I was more than ready for the howling monkeys. They got nothing on Aakash.

We didn’t have any beds here, we’d all be sleeping in hammocks. Those hammocks were on another treetop that we’d access by a suspended red bridge that shook with each step you took. It was too cool and linked the two main houses together.

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There was one big closet where we could secure all of our bags nearby from snooty jungle bandits who crept at night. No pillows or blankets here, it was just us and the hammocks. Screw that! I had my travel pillow and sleeping bag I planned on using on the hammock at night because I was told it does get a little chilly at night. Underneath the tree house was a large swing that swing out into the open. If you fell off, it meant certain injuries for sure.

The bar in the main treehouse was decorated with all sorts of Nicaraguan signs, caricatures, and drawings from guests who stayed previously.

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Even better, they were stocked with Butterfingers, my favorite candy bar in all the land! Reese’s is actually number one but it’s not a “bar” per say. It’s hard to describe a Butterfinger to my foreign friends. Australian Luke has never had one and thought it looked…so so. The girl from Finland tried a bite of mine and thought it was rancid. It’s chocolate and peanut butter but the peanut butter is crispy and has a distinct taste, different from any candy bar ever.

Besides the chocolate, they did serve actual food here. The menu was set daily and since we were stuck here, we had no choice but to eat whatever they gave us. Thankfully, it tasted delicious: gallo pinto, plantains, and chicken for dinner. It wasn’t enough for my big appetite (it’s never enough) but it did the trick. I ordered coke after coke, sprite after sprite, Butterfinger after Butterfinger. I was a fat kid living it up (literally) in the canopy!

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That same day, Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I wanted to explore our surroundings. We went further up the hill and came across a barbed wired fence. It was meant for no passing but…I crossed over it anyways and convinced the others to join me. We hiked up the jungly mountain not knowing where we’d end up.

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We came across a bamboo forest, some of it cleared out, and to a pass when suddenly we heard howler monkeys going crazy nearby. We froze but ventured a little further and saw the monkeys in the trees above us. We’ve gone a bit further before we decided to turn back. The day was fading and getting dark. It’d be pitch dark soon and we’d get lost out here if we were stuck at night. We got a little lost on our way back but found ourselves before the sun completely let up.

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There wasn’t too much to do in the tree house and that was the whole point. Chill on the hammock, read a good book, listen to music, and nap away.

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When we finally went to sleep I was grateful that I had a sleeping bag and a pillow. The sounds of the bugs, distant animals, and winds together conducted an orchestra that lulled me fast to sleep. I was warm and snug while the others were shivering away at night. I felt bad but there really wasn’t anything I could do. The monkeys in the morning were there but they weren’t as obnoxious as I was led to believe. They must have been taking it easy today. I slowly rose from my hammock to find Luke and Tyson uncomfortably on the floor wrapped in jackets and sweaters. It was then that the others decided that one night here was enough. The hammocks were uncomfortable for them and it was too cold at night, they couldn’t bare it again. I, on the other hand, was content but I felt one day and night was enough also.

Before we left, I wanted to put my footprint on the ceiling. It’s tradition here at the treehouse to paint the bottom of your feet and climb up the tree trunks and plant your feet on the ceiling. It’s a little odd but still unique. Who would think to do that? Handprints I could understand, but feet? I stepped in a puddle of lime green paint, shuffled up a tree and found an empty space to paint.

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My mark will be left there for years to come, hopefully. I left a trail of green drops of paint all the way to the outdoor shower stall. I washed my hands and feet while a cheeky giraffe made out of clay watched me, poking it’s head over the shower walls. I still couldn’t get all the green off me.

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Luke left earlier in the morning to go back to Granada. He offered to help make piñatas for a local organization he came across on the internet. I carried my heavyweights and also his bag all the way back down the mountain and back to Granada where we reunited at our hostel for the day.

“You owe me a beer dude!” I said to him while drenched in sweat. What a workout! Onwards further down Nicaragua we go!

Volcano Boarding 101: Cerro Negro

I’ve experienced many adrenaline rushes during my travels: shark cage diving, multiple skydives, bungee jumps, serious hikes, canyoning, white water rafting, etc. But never have I surfed down an active volcano. I didn’t even know such a thing existed!

The only place in the world to do so is in Nicaragua on Volcan Cerro Negro, located in the western region of the country, close to the city of León. It’s the thing to do in Nicaragua.

The are a few companies that host volcano boarding in León. Bigfoot Hostel, my accommodation, is one of the places that does. For 31 US dollars, we got a shuttle to and from the volcano, a free singlet shirt displaying the hostels logo, a liter of water, and a can of Victoria beer and a mojito for when we were finished. My friend Luke and I booked the night prior and were ready by nine the next morning. There were about thirty adrenaline junkies total in our group. We were shuttled into the back of a large truck and drove through the backlands outside of León towards Cerro Negro.

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After about an hour, we arrived to the gated entrance to the volcano where we each had to pay a $5 fee. The fee pays for the workers who monitor the volcano everyday, studying for any possible signs of potential eruptions. We hiked about 45 minutes up what our guide said “is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.”

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It was a short, manageable hike up to the windy top–Nothing but gravel and wind.

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The only way back down was to board down. Well, I guess you could hike back but it would have been a shame.

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The record is 97 kilometers per hour. I wasn’t focused on beating it, honestly I just wanted a good shot from the camera woman standing near the middle of the rubbled track. Hopefully she knew what she was doing. I sat on my wooden plank, about the size of a snowboard, modified with a curved hedge for breaking wind and sheets of smooth plastic underneath to decrease friction. I put on my googles and held onto the rope attached to the board. Then, the guide gave me the go ahead. I scooted and skirted, shoving myself along. The start of the track was loose and practically horizontal, but soon its slope began to steepen and I started to take off. Dust bellowed from underneath me as I looked for the camera woman standing midway down the track. I grinned a smile for her and sped up by extending my legs outward and leaning backwards.

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My board began to wobble and as I tried to regain my composure, I fell off to the side and I tumbled a couple of feet downward. I was completely unscathed. The orange jumpsuit I wore completely protected me. I crawled to my now buried board and rubbed the volcanic rubble off of it. If anyone was laughing at me, I couldn’t hear anything. All I heard was the fierce wind blowing around me. I sat back on my board and proceeded to scoot. I wanted to finish in a blaze of glory. I found my balance, extended legs out and leaned as far back as I felt comfortable. My board was smokin’! I could feel it heating up underneath me. Pebbles and ashes were shooting at my face; some in my mouth. The faster I went, the easier it was to control my board. I saw the guy with the speed gun shooting at me to capture my velocity. I was practically lying down completely horizontal when the board came to a grinding halt as I reached the base of the volcano.

“Good job!” I heard someone shout as they clapped.

I sat up on my board and spat out wafts of pebbles and ash that flew into my mouth. I stood up with a gigantic grin on my face. That was one of the most wild things I’ve ever done! Surfing down an active volcano was everything I imagined it to be, minus the lava.

“Cincuenta y nueve!” shouted the man who recorded everyones speed.

My top speed was 59 km/h. Not too shabby for my first go, but no where near the record. The fastest female of the day went to a girl named Deb (Indonesia). She flew at 65 km/h at the expense of small rocks flying up her nose and swallowing it through her throat. She’s a beast.

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I wanted to go again but I wanted to go faster. This company didn’t let you do so, but I heard there was another company that gave you the option of going twice. Maybe next time. At least we were rewarded with an ice-cold beer for our efforts.

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Luke and I stayed one more night at Big Foot hostel before we departed further down Nicaragua to the city of Granada. On the shuttle was Deb and another backpacker named Tyson (Halifax, Canada) among others. The four of us realized we were heading down the same direction in Nicaragua and decided to stick together. Instead of going straight to the main city of Granada, we opted to live amongst the trees for awhile in what was one of the most unique accommodations I have ever stayed in!

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Crossing Borders For The Super Bowl!

I’m going to miss this little life here in El Tunco: the cheap food, the chill vibe, the cheap food, the sunsets, the hamburgers, the ice cream, the wavy ocean, and the cheap food. I’d love to stay and hangout longer but it’s Saturday, January 31st which means that tomorrow is the Super Bowl! As an American, it’s my duty to watch it and I’ve managed to keep up with all the recent games and drama the past few weeks thanks to the Monoloco bar in Antigua. “Deflategate” has made headlines all around the world. I have to get to León, Nicaragua to catch the game. It’s an eight to ten hour drive from here to there, so if all goes well (which never happens) I’ll make it there right at kickoff.

Luke left a day earlier than me to León. I stuck around an extra day to hangout with Alex and Lucinda, two volunteers who came a couple of days later from Antigua.

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I also remembered to scoop a bottle of sand from the beach to take home with me and add to my slowly growing collection.

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I booked a shuttle the following morning though. I wasn’t quite sure what time the Super Bowl comes on down here; the timezone is different. I said my goodbyes to Alex and Lucinda and headed to the shuttle station at 7:30am but because of delays with the border, my van didn’t arrive until damn near 11am! We gotta get a move on!

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The road down through El Salvador was a long one. But at least we had air conditioning, wifi, and a movie to watch. The Dramamine I took earlier helped a lot so I was able to watch Ted along with the other traveling backpackers. There were ten of us packed in one van. Most of them from Australia, some from Canada, and one or two from the US. I had a window seat right underneath a vent so at least I was a little comfortable. I messaged Luke telling him that I was probably going to arrive around halftime. I’ll take what I could get.

In order to get to Nicaragua, we had to cross the border in Honduras and Nicaragua itself. When we finally arrived in Honduras, it took us forever and a day to get our passports stamped.

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No one else seemed concerned that we were racing against a ticking-time bomb. Probably because none of them except for one was American. At this pace we were going to miss the Super Bowl. I still remained optimistic that I would at least see the fourth quarter, which is usually the most exciting anyways. I had no clue who was performing the halftime show so I couldn’t have cared less about that.

It was nine-something at night. I gave up all hopes that the game was still on. Still I held a glimmer of hope. I began to doze off before we finally arrived in León. I got out the van and as soon as I retrieved my heavy backpack, I beelined straight to the Bigfoot Hostel, my accommodation. It was only a few doors down. I stopped at the window of the hostel and saw the tv at the bar on. The score was 0-0. The game has ended and they were showing the highlights. I saw Luke sitting underneath with a beer in hand. He turned and saw me when I let out a big groan.

“I thought you were lost!” said Luke.

“No,” I replied. “We had some issues this morning.”

“You missed a good game!”

Those words poked at my nerves. People at the bar boasted about how this was one of the best Super Bowls in years. And I missed the whole thing.
At least the Patriots won. I should have left El Tunco a day earlier. I was beating myself up for that.

Still I was starving from the long ride. I went with one of the Canadian backpackers to get some street food around the corner, which was mighty good.

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“Dan, are you up for volcano boarding tomorrow morning?” asked Luke.

My spirits were lifted.

“I sure am!”