Arriving at Samara

Rarely are things the way we imagine them to be. Sometimes the mental images and ideas we have formed in our mind about a person, a place or an anticipated event can never match the truth of reality. Other times, we create such impossible expectations and fantastical delusions that reality doesn’t stand a chance in the comparison.
I have finally arrived in this strange place where I do not know the rhythms of the day, the subtle shifts in the language, the location of a bank or store or internet café. There are no maps and no one at my little, somewhat inhospitable cabana can tell me anything anyway because no one speaks English and the staff’s Spanish is far too fast for my pale gringo ears. I must rely on myself and my scrambled sense of direction, so I leave the hot confines of the room I will inhabit for the next 30 days and venture down a poorly paved street in search of … something. I know the Pacific Ocean is near so I follow the sounds of the waves back towards the slip of town my bus past through to bring me here. Past sleeping cows and grazing horses. Past twisted trees and concrete shells that once might have been or perhaps one day will become buildings and dogs that lie so still in the dirt I want to touch them to see if they still breathe. The sun is high, beating down with equatorial intensity and already I begin to sweat as dark kids on mopeds and mothers on bikes, deftly carrying their small children balanced on the handle bars, wheel by me on the road.
The beach is lovely – as all the guidebooks guarantee – a pearly, crescent moon pushed against pulsing blue surf. Bodies litter the sand, all shapes and all sizes. The large-framed and fair northern Europeans glow pink from too much sun too fast. Young girls sport awkward tan lines and carefully adjust their clothes to smooth the transitions. The little and wiry surfer kids shimmy on their boards and scramble to catch any wave that dares to raise its head to the sand. The locals, the Ticans, creamy dark and compact, form large masses encamped upon the beach; beneath the trees they arrange coolers, towels, sandy sheets and salty snacks as rapid-fire Spanish and laughter flies from their tongues. It’s Saturday and everyone is out for some fun.
Shake Joe’s rests on this perfect slip of beach, a cool and hip oasis sandwiched into the shady grove of palms and indigenous trees that rim Samara. Thatch-roofed cabanas and oversized lounge chairs for two offer beachcomber a place to recline, sip a cerveca or mango smoothie, or read a book. An Asian man is stretched on the sand reading “Jesus Loves Me” (in Spanish) while another flips through his Lonely Planet guide. Hammocks dot the landscape and sleeping bodies fill them like the overripe meat of a tasty banana. Signs are posted: It’s illegal to buy or sell drugs. If the sun is down, shirts must be on. Funky jazz and retread 60,s hits pump from nearby speakers and everyone seems to move to a rhythm I have yet to hear.
My first day, in search of a towel and bug repellant, I find a sleepy yet chaotic world unfolding, a world full of shapes and sizes and sounds all very alien to my own. For now I watch and wait and listen, sip my cool beer, dig my toes in the sand and write these words. 3:30 pm, January 30, 2010

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About waggingmytale

I am an English teacher, writer, animal lover, and aspiring athlete. If you stop by and read or "stumble" upon my blog, please leave a comment and say hello. It's nice to know who visits :-) Namaste!
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3 Responses to Arriving at Samara

  1. Walt says:

    Enjoy the world as it unfolds, the words and the rhythms will come. You are part of it and you share it so well.

    • mo says:

      Sounds pretty quirky there..Ill send Bucky to keep you company! Ole!

      • It is quirky – beach culture….So hot and time feels really different. bucky would love it thought b/c the dogs run freely and are in and out of the surf, rolling in the sand… it’s fun to watch them be so free.

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