Thursday, 22 November 2012

LOBITOS, LA CASONA AND THE GOOD VIBES


Not my photo but I hope the owner doesnt mind 
Chronologically, next post has to be about Chile but Im skipping a few countries in South America in order to post this one cos I wanna  record it while all the memories and images are still fresh in my head.
After 5 days on a boat coming from Iquitos and a 24 hour bus marathon, I finally made it to Talara, a small town in the north of Peru. Checked my email quickly cos I knew that my mum was probably going crazy (didn’t use internet for 11 days while in the jungle, the longest so far) and got a minivan to Lobitos where I was supposed to volunteer in a surf hostel. That’s all I knew apart from the few photos they had posted on the website. (Volunteering in Lobitos). 
La Casona
It turned out to be the best decision I’ve made. More than 15 months of travelling and not spending more than 4, 5 days at one place I was getting a bit tired. And La Casona just happened to be my little paradise. And not only mine J.
No wonder no one wanted to leave, everyone (guests and volunteers) stayed much longer than they planned. The views, the waves, the people...everything counts and makes you wanna stay forever. I don´t wanna bore you here, the photos speak enough. 




The whales blowing water
Always someone was taking photos of the surfers

The hammock area
My volleyball court - after all the effort to build it, I never got the ball i was promised. Lies, lies, lies (Oscar)
The neighbours
Lobitos only monument
One of the many abandoned military houses in Lobitos
La Casona


Dead sea lion -  was there for ages
Full moon coming soon


 
Yeah, plenty of jellyfish here
 
The crab invasion starts at sunset
It took me ages to take the photo chasing the crab but at the end it gave up and posed for me
Love the little steps
Lobitos is one of those places where only one thing matters – the waves. Ninety five % of the people, who come to Lobitos, come for one thing - to SURF. Looks like nothing else matters here, just the waves, swell, tides and wind, which means life is pretty simple. 
That´s how some of the pros do it and I hope they forgive me for using the photos :)

It gets crowded sometimes


La Casona or the general’s house is a huge old house, kind of renovated but still pretty basic which made it even more attractive to me. Wooden, full of art work (and ghosts according to some), renovated by so many people that everyone left their touch and heart there.
It lays on the most magnificent spot of the whole bay, perched on a huge rock, facing the sea and Lobitos point break. 
There was no hot water of course but who needs it? Sometimes there was not even cold water but that was fun as well (not as fun if it was my turn to clean the bathroom in the morning!)
There is not even a supermarket in the village so for the basic things you can go to a few local groceries but the proper shopping has to be done in Talara (20 min by minivan, 3 soles).
Amazing, isn´t it? That´s why I didn´t wanna leave
The patio. The invention on the right is the after surfing shower

One of the "pets" we had
Food was pretty good (Thanks Moritz!) but since most of the oter volunteers were vegetarians and pretty often the meals were vegetarian...so the first thing I did when made it to Ecuador was to buy a big steak :).
  
Ceviche for lunch. Even the vegetarians liked it. The best one I've eaten so far! Gracias Jorge
Fede's despedida - asado por supuesto
The reception
The deal was: working 5 hours a day in exchange of accommodation and dinner. The work wasn’t hard itself, either in the kitchen or the bar, if not busy you can do your things while “working”. Either way, you have plenty of time to play with during the day...for surfing, reading, going to Talara if you need, walking or just relaxing in the hammocks. The volunteers clean, paint, cook, build, decorate..anything that could be done to make the house look cozier. And sometimes the guests had some creative ideas and were helping too...Like part of the La Casona family.
Matias and Chanty tejiendo
90 % Argentina
Buying fish at the pier - 2 kilos for 12 soles


We had some gatherings and parties, mostly around the bonfire but pretty much the evenings were quiet around the fire or playing pool, jenga, foosball (Me!) or just chatting. When there were good waves, most of the surfers would go to bed around 10ish in order to be up pretty early for the surf.


Later on, the guys (guests and volunteers) spread a rumour that the house is cursed because there were lots of girls (actually the only place with females in Lobitos) and no one got laid even though some were trying hard. That´s why some were spending the weekends in Mancora, much easier they said ;).
BBQ set up


Verena, Andrea & Seb

 
I had tried my luck surfing a few more times before while in Bali (after watching you tube surf lessons for 2 hours) and Australia and 10 years ago in Hawaii if that counts...but I found it more difficult here. Sometimes the waves were so big that scared the shit out of me. Despite all the bruises I didnt stop going out, so slowly, slowly I was getting there. Together with Verena who was just as good (bad) as me, we tried to stay away from the other surfers and meekly surfed the white wash J. At least at the beginning.
My favourite line was part of a conversation between Verena and a Brazilian surfer I witnessed. He said "Surfing is like a passion for me" and Verena´s reply was: and a washing machine for me :). Same here, and quite a few times :)... I felt just like in a washing machine.
Haircut session a lo argentino
Don´t breathe! 
Building our new musical instrument in the house
Another chill-out night by the fire



 
Fede trying out the new instrument in La Casonain his new style - shorts over long pants!)
Cora & Luisa having their morning tea as usual
Then while I was finally getting friendly with the waves and the surf board, I got stung by a stingray. The most painful one hour of my life! First I thought I stepped on a shell or something cos there was lots of blood coming out. Didnt know it was a sting ray and didn’t understand why it was hurting so much, my whole body was writhing with pain. 
The only people on the beach were the surfers themselves
Luckily Luisa, another volunteer, was with me and she went back to the house to get some help cos I couldn’t walk, came out of the water crawling. Two guys came and carried me all the way up to La Casona (Thank you Moritz and Jorge). While everyone was bustling what to do with me, someone said to put the foot in hot water, the hottest you can stand and that was it. The pain has eased immediately. I couldn´t walk properly for the next few days´but at least wasn’t hurting as bad as before. Well, I´ve got a fun story to tell now
Another morning, another day in the paradise
Colita, as always begging for some alms

Power Yoga at La Casona
More graffiti in progress
There were lots of painting and decorating involved, art projects. Everyone was part of the constant art upgrade of La Casona. Whoever had some ideas of making the place nicer, always had the approval of the manager – Verena the best manager ever!
 
 
Fede´s art work
The dorm room
My bed with its mosquito net and everything :)



 

Cora and Luisa and their art idea
For some reason Dylan doesn't wanna share what he is hiding with my camera
Fede, Ale and Daniel in volunteer's kitchen
The regular kitchen chaos... And the new cooks ladies and gentlemen!
Studying Spanish
Part of the German invasion of La Casona 
 
Ryan and his favourite spot. Mine too.
 

The new built shower outside. Never got to use it :( 
And that is when there were no waves, usually its much busier!
Just before leaving - with Verena, who is, as someone else already said it "The best of La Casona"
In the little brick house
A month of piece, good laugh and thousands of good memories, it was definitely worth it. Battery recharged and almost no time left on my Peruvian visa (still don’t understand how I spent 3 months in Peru), I was ready to move on. 
I made some good friends here and I hope I see you all for Christmas. And hey, It better be a hell of a party if we all make the effort to come back!!!
Goodbye Lobitos. Till the next time

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