Jour­ney to the Promised Land

Howler Magazine - - & Entertainment Arts - By Johnny La­houd

Ask any­one who's tried to make it down here and you'll hear sto­ries about how hard it can be once you've ar­rived. The op­po­site was true for me. It was the trip here that al­most ended it all be­fore we even landed and got trippy on the way to the beach.

From the first time I ever saw pic­tures of Costa Rica, I knew I wanted to live in Pu­ravi­daville. I had met a Tico friend, Tavo, on my surf team in Florida. Every time the waves went flat or were weak, Tavo would say, “Vamos ya a mi país, huevón. Hay olas cada día, mae!” I wasn't sure of the ex­act English trans­la­tion, but con­sid­er­ing the surfer mag­a­zine pics he was bust­ing out, I knew this loosely trans­lated to, “The east coast blows. Let's go surf some real bar­rels.”

So I did what any red-blooded Rhode Is­land surfer want­ing to get bar­reled would do — I called his bluff! I said let's do it and we ¨dropped out¨ the next se­mes­ter and planned to go get pit­ted!

Next thing you know, I had a ticket to Costa Rica for Sept. 8, 1993. I put a Rhody crew to­gether and we planned our great es­cape. The fun­ni­est thing was get­ting pass­ports, as our pho­tos told all you need to know. Of course, we had to have a theme song: “We're go­ing to Costa Rica” re­peated in­ces­santly un­til we got on the plane. That was where things got weird in a hurry.

The first leg to Mi­ami went off with­out a hitch, but like any red-blooded surfers, we de­cided to have a puff be­fore our in­ter­na­tional de­par­ture. Be­ing the ge­niuses that young surf punks are, we

It was all fun and games flush­ing the smoke down the loo un­til the jan­i­tor walked in.

went to the other wing of the air­port, down­stairs at the last gate and into the no-man's land baño. It was all fun and games flush­ing the smoke down the loo un­til the jan­i­tor walked in. My “boyz” cut and ran while I was flush­ing the rem­nants. Mr. Jan­i­tor caught the whiff, but be­fore he could re­act, I flushed and took off run­ning for my life to gate C420. There we all hud­dled and waited with nail-bit­ing trep­i­da­tion, news­pa­pers cov­er­ing our faces, un­til they called flight 420 to Costa Rica. With one eye spy­ing and wait­ing un­til the last call, we scur­ried down the jet­way to the free­dom of in­ter­na­tional airspace.

Fig­ur­ing we'd es­caped our ma­jor pit­fall and were now in the clear on board, it was time for cock­tails and phone calls rub­bing it in to the boys! That was our first time us­ing the phone in the back of the seat, and it was all good un­til the bill came next month. Twelve min­utes cost $220 — quite a dent on a col­lege surfer's credit line!

Af­ter a few hours of fly­ing, we were re­ally stoked to touch down and hit the west coast surf. It was all fine and dandy un­til the pi­lot's loud speaker an­nounce­ment: “Fas­ten your seat belts, boys and girls … we're headed for a bumpy land­ing.”

I learned three things on that des­cent to the run­way: 1) How much light­ning is ca­pa­ble of hit­ting a plane be­fore it goes down. 2) How much grown boys are ca­pa­ble of cry­ing when they know how close they were to ful­fill­ing a west coast surf dream. 3) How cool flight at­ten­dants can be with free booze bot­tles when ev­ery­one has sur­vived an emer­gency land­ing.

Need­less to say, things only got weirder once we landed … but that's for part 2 in next month's in­stall­ment of Dos Lo­cos TTZ.

Pura vida, mae!

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