A Piece of Paradise

It has been an extremely exciting few days to say the least. On Monday after hanging out at DIA for a couple of hours, flying to Houston, and then getting on another plane, we arrived in Managua around nine o’clock with all of our bags and paperwork. After going smoothly through customs, and handling a few bumps in the road, we made our way down winding, dirt roads to the Monkey House. Dotted along the sides of the road were little houses, and in some areas, the trees lining the street were painted in neon green colors at the trunk to show where the sides of the road were. After a few wrong turns, and lots of car dancing, we at last arrived at the small, steep road to the Monkey House. Oliver, our surfing instructor, came down, and, relieved to be out of the car, we all jumped up, grabbed our bags and made our way up the remainder of the hill.

The Monkey House is quite different from any place that I have been before. Oliver built the house himself, so it is very simple and yet beautifully rustic. Located on a rocky outcropping above the sea, it has a magnificent view of the ocean, and easy access to it as well. We dumped our bags in the bunkroom, each girl claiming one of the eight bunks, and turning on the fans in the room. Outside, there was a small open-air shelter, where hammocks are hung, and on the edge of the property, right above the ocean. Oliver had homemade juice waiting for us, which was delicious. 

We decided that, although it was two in the morning, we wanted to travel down the steep path of rocks to the ocean in the pitch black with only flashlights to guide us. We made our way slowly, everywhere we shine the flashlights, crabs would scurry over the rocks and out of the way. At last, we made it to the ocean, and although we could have just dipped our feet into the warm water, we went in all the way. It was amazing, we turned the lights that we had off, so that we could only see the ocean when the waves would break, and the pale light of the moon glimmered on the surface. Dripping wet, we made our way back up the trail, rinsed and dried ourselves off, and collapsed into our bunks.

In the morning, we awoke to sunlight in our window, and the most incredible view of the ocean. It truly is breathtaking here. We had a breakfast of banana, pineapple, eggs and toast. Full, we did some light yoga on a deck with (yet another) amazing view of the ocean. After yoga, we went downstairs, and spent the next half hour or so getting crafty with how to hang mosquito nets from the bunks.

Very hot after putting up the nets, we made our way down the trail to the ocean and spent a few hours cooling off. We had lunch, a bit of down time, (which was spent on hammocks with books, or just enjoying the view), and then it was time to gear up and go surfing. We got all of our surfing stuff together, and headed down to the waves for a second time that day. 

After lugging down all of the surfboards, Oliver gave us instructions on how to surf, and received a brief talk on ocean safety from Jackie and Jen. We each got our boards, and headed out into the sea. It was crazy to finally paddle out, because of course, being Colorado kids, we don’t have access to oceans anywhere near us, let alone surfing! Once we had all paddled out far enough, Oliver would call one of us up to him, and then we would wait there with him for a wave. He would watch the ocean, and then suddenly get really excited and say “This one, this is your wave.” Then he would help get us into position and yell “Paddle, Paddle!” and then, “Get up! Get up!” Catching my first wave was such an amazing experience. To see the water curling next to me, and my arms and body in the perfect balance was indescribable, and turned out to be incredibly addicting. Once I had stood up after getting tumbled around when I fell off my board, I paddled right back out, ready for the next wave. 

We surfed for a few hours, and by the end of the day, everyone was thoroughly exhausted. We carried the boards back home before heading out for dinner at one of the restaurants on the beach. After heading home, we took quick rinses in the showers, and then fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean’s crashing waves outside.

This is by far the most incredible place I have been to. It is paradise here, and I feel to honored to have this amazing opportunity to spend the time here with all of the girls, Oliver, Jackie, and Jen.
On a side note: to Annie, Mom and Dad, I miss you guys and I love you so so so so much!!!!
-Kate Hartshorn