Photographer Alejandra Romo Marquez moved on from California to Nicaragua since the last time we featured her work on the blog. Things are a bit different in the jungle town of Maderas where she’s now living. She sent this dispatch on the “slow life” in the area.
How to Live the Slow Life
By Alejandra Romo Marquez
Life here at Maderas beach is certainly slow; it can’t be another way, you can’t force nature to be different, so the natural thing is to adapt and go with the flow.
Maderas beach is a very small beach close to but far away from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. In terms of distance, the beach is no more than 10km away, so it’s very accessible. So, why do I say it’s far away then? Simply because it’s such a mission to get there. The dirt roads are in such bad shape, that every time you go to San Juan, it takes the entire day. Maderas beach is small; there’re no grocery stores or anything similar around, so you’re obligated to go to town every time you need something.
Despite being small, this beach is a very proud community. If you look around, you have no more than five places to stay, but most of them are named after Maderas beach. Most of the businesses here belong to expats, so it’s really interesting to see all the different personas and how each one of them has a different vibe and approach, and how they come together through a very basic principle: enjoy the simple and slow life on your own terms.
I originally came here to collaborate in a creative project for The Maderas Village community, and ended up staying a month more. I discovered that even though you have all the time in the world to do all the stuff you want to do, it’s really funny to realize that days are very short and you end up not doing much of what you had planned. Time has passed so fast, it’s really hard to believe that I’ve been here for almost three months documenting the slow life.
We have very few things to be worried about here in paradise. But one of those things for us surfers is “the tide.” Here, the surf works better with high tide, otherwise the waves are very steep and shallow. The beach break is very powerful and the wave is very fast, so for some it’s very important to have enough water to fall on. Other people really enjoy the rush of adrenaline – they only go on low tide in order to get barreled and have “break-neck” waves.
We all wake up around 5 through to 7 a.m. or even earlier thanks to the Howler Monkeys or the 1,000 other animals getting up and on with their life at these early hours. If the tide is good, we go for the first session at 6 a.m., then we go back to work on our different projects while we eat a “Nica Tipico” (eggs, rice, beans and veggies) and an energizing smoothie (papaya, banana, passion fruit and ginger and other different combinations).
Sometimes working from here can be very difficult and frustrating. Between the bad internet connection, the heat, and the constant comings and goings of electricity, you have to plan your time really well if you want to accomplish projects or hit deadlines. The key word of living here is “patience.” It is important to learn the pace here and adapt to it, because there is no sense in fighting it. For example, while getting food in a restaurant back home can take 15 minutes, here it will take you one hour or more. Sometimes they even forget about your food, but that’s alright, after all, what’s the rush? You’re not going anywhere, right? You’re in the jungle and you’re supposed to be on vacation anyway.
By 4:30 p.m. the day is practically over, so you can go down to the beach and watch one of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see, or grab your board and paddle out for a sunset session. Personally, the second option is my favorite. You actually get to enjoy the sunset, while surfing perfect waves in a pink afternoon light. Once the session’s over, you can have a Toña (local beer) with friends at Tacos Locos , and enjoy the last light of sunset.
At about 7:30 p.m. it’s time for dinner. I eagerly anticipate the ceviche and a glass of rum with passion fruit. I normally have dinner at Maderas Village, but sometimes I enjoy going down to the beach to Café Revolución, or cooking with friends at The Clandestino Maderas, a nice, chilled little hostel in the middle of the jungle surrounded by papaya trees, just at the top of the Maderas hill.
By 10 p.m. I’m tired. I have no remedy but to go to bed hoping to get some nice waves the following day. Hopefully, I will fit in some yoga too and capture some nice shots for my blog. Sometimes it feels like anything is possible in the slow life.
To see more of Alejandra’s pictures documenting the slow life in Nicaragua, go here: http://myjunglelife.tumblr.com/. Or for her new adventures, check here http://picsfromwhereyoudratherbe.blogspot.com.es/.