Punta Negra from Allen Brouwer on Vimeo.
We left the Center House in Lima on a Wednesday after loading the car with some essentials we would need for the rest of the week ahead. Bernie, an Australian priest who was now the head of the Center House, has lived in Peru for 27 years. He knows the place and the people very well and has seen the ups and downs of the country, people, and government. He tells me about his time here, still with his Ausi accent, in our hour and a half drive South to Punta Negra.
Punta Negra’s Landscape
Punta Negra Peru is a very small town right on the Pacific Ocean. It could be walked from one end to the other in under 5 minutes. Still a desert town, even though it sits on the Ocean, everything is dirty and gritty like before, except the air is cleaner from the sea breeze that cools the place down.
The sea town is lined with sand beaches, not soft sand, hard shell sand that kind of hurts your feet if walked on without any flops. The beach is also accompanied by large rock structures up and down the coast, usually acting a a point or a jetty, hence the town name (Black Point).
The house we are at is owned by the church and it is used as a get-away for the priests for retreats or whenever they felt they needed one. The home was built in typical Peruvian fashion, one story built at a time. They maxed this one out at four. I thought it was funny how they finally installed a kitchen on the third floor, guess they didn’t need it prior to that.
Fidel- The Fuckin’ Man
We were met outside by Fidel, a native who was hired by the church when they bought the house back in the 1982. He was hired to watch it for a few weeks, make sure everything was okay with it before the men came down, he has never left. He stands about 5 foot 6 and is dark and wrinkled, but I couldn’t tell you his age, could be 40, could be 60. Have no idea. All I know is he speaks not a lick of English, and I’m going to be with this guy by myself for the next few days. But more on that later.
Time To Surf
Bernie and I unloaded the car as quick as we could with the help of Fidel, through our stuff down, and as we got our gear ready to go surf, Fidel pulled out the two boards. We jumped back in the car and headed just up the other side of the hill to Bernie’s favorite spot. He liked it because it was safe (meening the car was safe while we were in the water) and because there was always a consistent break there, no matter what the tide was doing.
There were 3 people already out, 2 guys and a girl. A left break was pealing off one of the rock points coming into the bay, after crossing one quarter of the bay, the wave hooked up with the jetty and continued on. They say Peru has the longest left wave in the world, and that seems to be exactly what I was looking at. Bernie and I paddled out against the jetty and joined the line up. We said hello and waited for the next set. Perfect mellow lefts, curling at the peak, then rolling over; I hopped up and cruised a little, then realized theres more wave forming, so I kept going, and going. I can say without doubt it was the longest wave I’ve ever ridden. We stayed out for an hour and a half and headed back to the house. More surf in the AM.
After the morning surf session Bernie headed back to Lima and left me and Fidel by our lonesomes. I headed into the market and bought a few things to cook and went back to the house to drop them off. I explored the town, the beach, and a few of the shops there. All are very nice but the beach was my favorite.
Don’t Drink The Water, I Repeat… Don’t Drink The Water(Actually, don’t eat the salad)
(Note: the rest of this post is vulgar, do not read if you have a weak stomach)
3am Saturday morning I woke up with a massive stomach ache, one that literally locked my whole body. Little did I realize this was not the only thing that was terribly wrong, about 30 minutes later I proceeded to vomit everything up. Unfortunately this isn’t the only end that things wanted to exit my body. Sitting on the commode with a bucket between my legs, I finish my episode and head down to the 3rd floor to get some water. The little fucking Peruvian, Fidel, had locked the door to the 3rd floor, I was stuck- I started yelling and cursing his name, he couldn’t hear me because he lives on the first floor, Great.. I’m fucking stuck up here. I start pounding the door and yelling louder, not caring if I wake the whole town up. Just before I put my shoulder through the thing he opens it up. Thank God- I grab some water and head back to bed, but not before I curse him off, he doesn’t know English anyway.
Little did I know that this early morning surprise was just the tip of the iceberg. I proceeded to get sick about 15-20 more times that morning, I thought I may have been dying, so I went in and asked Fidel for some help. A lot of people might say, “Allen don’t over exaggerate, you weren’t dying, blah blah”. No.. Seriously.. The reason I thought I was dying was; one, I was in terrible pain, most pain I’ve ever felt, and two, between the second and third time I shit myself, I knew something was terribly wrong. For real, I’m 24 years old, never had a problem like this one before in my life.. Seriously thought I was dying.
I will tell you one thing though. If you want to speak Spanish fluently, get as violently ill as possible, and have the only person around you speak Spanish. I was pulling out words and phrases I know I never learned in Spanish class. Him and I would have full blown dialogs and I would understand him and he understood me. It was crazy. My new buddy, Fidel.
Ciao… For Now
Fidel finally got me back on my feet a full 36 hours later, and I was strong enough to make it back to Lima. He plopped me on a bus and I headed North, I thought I knew were I was going, but then there was transfer, and I couldn’t find the second bus. Fuckin’ A, just what I needed. After asking around and not getting anywhere, I said fuck it and took a taxi, cost me about 400x more then what the bus would have but got me back home quicker and direct. Definitely well worth it after the past few days. I will head back to Punta Negra to do some more surfing after my trip to the jungle.
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