Anyone who knows me well knows that I am one of the most clumsy individuals on earth… You know how this is going to go.
Let’s say it’s just my luck for me to hurt myself within two hours of arriving at a beautiful surf beach, and I hadn’t even been surfing yet!
After making the two hour journey from San Juan del Sur in less than comfortable conditions (two boys, two girls, nine beers and four backpacks in an old Hyundai accent that had deinitely seen better days), I wanted to stretch my weary legs with a quick sunset jog up and down the beach. Exercise isn’t something I see too much of these days, and I enjoyed it.
Red faced and feeling the searing heat, I threw myself into the welcoming sea water, joining in with the two Mexicans, Alvaro and Isael, bodysurfing the waves. All was well, until one set started to build, the next wave stood up ahead of me. I could see it coming and knew it was going to be bigger than the others. I dove under and grabbed the sand on the bottom with both hands. The turbulent water hit me hard and I tumbled. The darkness under the water due to the black sand made it hard to detect the surface, and I came up gasping for air. No sooner had I surfaced, but the next wave came looming, a quick breath and down under I went for the second time. I wasn’t enjoying the experience so much, and relieved to find the surface once more.
I hadn’t realised I was hurt at this point, but when I went to put my foot down on the bottom to steady myself, I found that my foot wasn’t working as it should and I screamed out in pain. I wasn’t able to bear my weight, and the Mexicans helped carry me to shore where I collected myself, still in intense pain and just hoping that nothing was broken.
Over the course of the next day it because apparent that my midfoot was sprained and I wasn’t able to walk more than the distance between the beach, hammock and the dorm, around 50m at most. This specifically excluded even a walk down to the shop which was around 200m away, and I had to rely on the help of others to get me water and food as I lay pondering my predicament in a hammock.
Trust that the one place that I am the most remote – there is no doctor or even a pharmacy in town – I would need assistance, and there was no way I could carry my bag or take a bus. I didn’t know what to do – should I lodge a travel insurance claim and get them to bail me out to the nearest hosptital in Managua ($120US for a cab there), or just stick it out and rest for a few days? I felt like I would be making a fuss over nothing, so after a quick consultation with my sister the physioterapist over the internet, decided to take more ibuprofen and stick to the RICE strategy.
My travel buddies left this morning for Ometope, a wonderfully hilly place which I just know would mean I wouldn’t be able to do anything. So I chose to stay at the beach for a few more days with new Norwegian friends Christina, Gro and Panilla, and a likeable American named Kenny.
Still there are worse places in the world to be stuck… it’s actually been nice to have a rest and not do anything, as much as I hated it to begin with. While there’s no creature comforts – fan “cooled” rooms, salt water showers (cold of course), and only a mini mart to buy your groceries, the small town’s charm grew on me day by day. The highlight of my day was listening for the vegetable truck to arrive in the morning, the loudspeaker blaring with details of whatever the produce of the day happened to be.
After almost a week I was able to walk again, and explored the natural rock pools with the crew, a great place to cool down in the searing heat! But as we discovered, you can only make it there on low tide (or face a gnarly climb up over the rocks with the powerful waves crashing down on you).
We made the journey down the beach on Saturday night to party at Magnific Rock, up on a cliff and built jutting out into the ocean. I wish I’d made it there earlier to watch the sunset.
As a friend wisely advised me, maybe it’s just the universe conspiring to avoid me being in a place later on to keep me safe!