Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just got back yesterday evening from a kick ass week in Costa Rica!

So much to say and so little time...

It's wierd but I am feeling more and more connected down there (almost like a local-even though I'm not, ofcourse). That feeling is helped by the fact that my Dad (Jim Chambers) built a stellar 3 bedroom 3 bathroom home with a private pool and all of the trimmings down there almost 3 years ago.

Maybe it's the warm, humid wind, maybe it's the haunting howls of a family of monkeys, maybe it's the mini dinosaur like iguanas that strech out as long as a skate board, maybe it's the sun rising at dawn while riding my bike with a surf board under one arm down a bumpy dirt road, maybe it's the off shore wind sprinkling the tips of the salty waves in my face just before dropping into a hero making 6 foot barrel, maybe it's the large gentle turtles laying their eggs at midnight while a lightning storm crackles in the distance showering shiny shimmers on the mysterious Pacific, maybe it's the friendly smiles and greetings and goodbyes of the Ticos politely and respectfully sharing their secret to life ..."PURA VIDA" ... maybe it's all of that and more all rolled in to one. I am starting to really learn who I am again down there, all over again.

So my wonderful wife approved that I should go down to Costa Rica this last week to clear my head, get some work done, get some relaxation, and get a one on one trip with my brother Jaime Chambers-now he is 29 years old, a KTLA reporter with his wonderful wife Julie and their 2 adorably perfect kids Annabelle (4) & Tommy (1). We left our wives our kids and our puppy dogs "Ruby" & "Sergant Roseberry" and headed off to Jim's Beach House...

I arrived first and was greeted promptly by our good friend and fellow property manager Max. "PURA (f-ing) VIDA!" Max is one of the most energetic, life of the party people I have ever met, he gets everyone pumped up and excited about the next adventures to come.

He drove me to the Palm Beach Estates and there at Lot # 95 we pulled up to my Dad's 2 story master piece house in Playa Grande. I was alone at the house the first night and it was pretty cool. It reminded me of the first month I traveled alone through numerous countries in Europe over 10 years ago. (wierd cool flash backs)

Monkeys, lizards, iguanas, HUGE crickets (some bigger than a grown man's hand) , crabs running around the dirt roads into their holes in the ground, turtles, skinny cows, horses, and oh yeah bulls!

I picked up my brother at the airport the next day and after a drive back to the house to a new cd mix, a quick unpack session, and a couple of showers we were ready for our first evening adventure... "Wanna go check out some bull riding?" Max says peeking his head through the front door of our house... "Let's do it." I said. and off we went.

We arrived at the bull riding event and there were about 1000 locals gathered around a 60 meter fenced in diameter circle. We climbed up on the 8 foot circular fence and sat on the top of it with happy onlookers locking our legs in to the second to the top round wooden rung of the ladder like fence. I had my handy bad ass black hand held wide angle lens video camera in my hand. I took it out of the green cushiony old sock that I used as it's carrying case. I thought it was pretty clever because the old sock made what I was holding look very unimportant.

Some brave locals (about 8 of them) jumped into the ring ready to tease the bull and show off their quickness infront of the crowd just before the bull was ready to go. The gates opened and here came the first rider! This bull was huge! This was the most masculine beast I had ever seen in all of it's glory, throwing off the poor rider in the first few seconds and proudly standing up bravely against the odds which were seemingly completely unfair (1000 to 1). After all of the people escaped quickly out side of the ring 2 horse riders came through the gate and with amazing skill roped the bull from opposite ends of the perimeter with awesome perfection on their first try each. They guided the bull back to it's quarters outside of the ring and everyone applauded.

The second round my brother saw me with the camera and decided to get some Costa Rica street cred. The second bull was off and he was in the ring with about 10 local ticos! (I totally got a shot of the bull and Jaime in the ring with my bad ass video camera) It was kinda sketchy with the camera because my feet were locked in over the inside of the 8 foot high circular arena fence but I had my hands working the zooms and my feet were the only thing helping me keep my balance! When the bull came around right near me I had to readjust and back off over the outside of the fence! Jaime kept his distance in the ring, got the rush he was looking for and then scurried quickly back out over the fence. It was a wild dangerous rush and nobody got hurt. PHEW! (pretty cool footage too... can't wait to check it out again with friends!)

We surfed a few great spots Playa Grande south, Playa Grande north, Avellanas North cove, and a couple spots in between. To our luck my friend Joe (surfer stud and owner of Witch's Rock Surf Camp) dropped me a text the day I arrived that said "The new swell should hit us in 24 to 48 hours!" stoked.

I felt healthy and ready for good surf. It was great. Jaime and I were 14 again. A little wiser now but our minds completely on the next wave and nothing else. With a pack of 30 surfers out, but plenty of waves to go around, I had a great first day. My brother actually said for the first time ever "You're the best surfer out here" (my brother never says stuff like that) Even though I knew I wasn't it still made me feel great (must be a brother thing) and I thought to myself "well, maybe top 3 out here at least?" there were a couple of ripper locals who new these spots really well. They would get so much speed and fly off the top of the waves with some sweet airs. Not pro enough to land these crazy acrobatics yet but having great style and pure enjoyment to boot. I am definitely an amatuer but solid enough to have a killer time at it. Towards the end of the day my brother Jaime got the wave he was hoping for on this trip, a good size IN N OUT barrell. He clenched his fists and closed his eyes in delight at the end of the wave, old enough now not needing to look around for acceptance at his greatness. He just celebrated deep inside and would be happy for the rest of the trip because of it. With a batch of at least 20 waves each under our belt we walked south to the house with a perfect sunset to our right. I also found my first perfectly white sand dollar with an incredible flower logo in the middle that I would take home later to give to my wife Kristen.

After arriving at a restaurant late it forced us to drive to Bula Bula's where I ran into one of my favorite singer songwriters who happened to be having dinner with his wife. I walked right up to him.

"Hi Jon, I'm a big fan my name's Willie Chambers." I don't know why I always introduce myself with my last name. (Not very San Diego- like)I think it's because I'm proud of my family or something. My grandfather Stan Chambers (over 60 years on KTLA as a reporter and a sweet star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has really made a good name for us. My Dad has added to the greatness with the way he lives too. Everybody loves him.

Anyways, Jon Foreman from the rock band Switchfoot was very normal and humble and nice. I met his wife as well briefly and My brother Jaime, Max and I seated ourselves at a table far enough away as to give them their privacy. There were only really about 8 people in the entire outdoor restaurant but there was enough room to sit far enough away. It was random and cool because I had a mix cd in my car with some of his old stuff on it: His catchy Pop Rock song "New Way To Be Human" & his magic ballad "Let That Be Enough" immediately got caught back in my head.

Jon and his wife Emily (I usually need to hear names at least 3 times but I'm 99% sure that's right) finished their dinner first and came over to ours to chat some more. We talked about music and San Diego and my Dad's beach house and it was really cool to meet him. It makes me realize again and again how the world is so small. (Flash back: I remember meeting Pierce Brosnan in Kauai-he was James Bond at the time-so cool and we met him in the perfect James Bond setting) Fame fascinates me. The fact that people can know other people for something that they do when they are complete strangers is just kind of cool. Anyways, I didn't really explain that very well but some of you get what I mean, I think. It's just cool.

After another great surf with Joe from Witch's Rock Surf Camp I got some cool pictures from a velcro wrist band water proof disposable camera. The crazy part was holding the camera in big surf to get the shot just before getting blasted by a wave. Knowing the wave is going to hit you in a split second but hanging in there in hopes of getting a great photo. It was pretty fun trying to be water camera guy for the first time. Hopefully the pics came out cool... should be developed soon...

Walking back from one of our last surfs on the trip we came across 2 researchers helping and studying the leather back turtles. It was perfect. We asked the researchers if we could film them for a news story and they agreed. Jaime asked me to grab the camera and we shot a KTLA news report right on Playa Grande beach near beach marker #25. They are editing it as I type tonight a few days after we actually shot it. I also got some cool footage of some baby turtles and a rare set of twin baby leather back turtles too! so cool. I saw a turtle in the water while surfing too. Turtles rock.

One night when Jaime and I went out to get some drinks at the bars in Tamarindo we freaked out. We had parked the car at Pasa Tiempo (which we found out was closed) then drove and parked at the Diria Hotel which was closed. Then walked to the center of Tamarindo and had drinks at Club Babylon and Bar 1. At the end of the night we walked back to Pasa Tiempo and our car was gone. For one minute we were thinking "Oh crap." We looked at each other trying to assess the situation. We parked right here. Now there is no car here. Oh crap. Simultaneously it came to us. We realized that we moved our car to the Diria. Sure enough the car was right there where we moved it.

The second to last morning Jaime walked down the path from our place to marker #25 to check the early morning surf and he ran into Jon from Switchfoot again. Jaime said he was reading something cool called "Niche" or something. Good inspiration for songwriting. Jaime gave him directions to our place and sure enough about a half an hour later Jon came over with a bottle of wine. So nice of him. Hopefully he'll cruise back sometime soon with Switchfoot and we can jam some guitars at the Playa Grande house. He hung out for a while we gave him a tour of the house and then he realized he was late for his plane! I could tell he grew up right near us because we all got along really well and had similar humor. It's cool when you run into people that you admire who have similar paths. I think I'm going to try to get to Bali next!

Well, I don't write this much ever but it was a worthy trip to blab about for a while so thanks for taking the time to read this and catch up with me! (Even though it probably seemed that I blabbed on forever I left out a lot)

Hope to hear from you all soon,
It's good to be back in sweet home Solana Beach...

posted by Willie @ 6:06 PM
Awesome Willie! Costa sounds more and more enticing everytime you go and come back with a new story. I can't believe Europe was 10 years ago! And it's nice to hear that Jaime is finally growing up. :)
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