“Take care the kite! Take care the lines!” Marko’s 2 favorite phrases. I hear him in my dreams now, his voice calmly guiding me through the walky-talky attached to my helmet. He answers pretty much all of my questions with an emphatic “ab-so-LUTE-ly!” Marko, do you think I should straighten my lead leg more? "Ab-so-LUTE-ly!" Marko, can I try a transition today? "Ab-so-LUTE-ly!" Marko, will you teach me how to jump? "Ab-so-LUTE-ly not!!" He said I need to master the basics first :) I am completely 100% addicted!!!!
However, the 3rd day of lessons was a little rough for me. Prior to starting this kite surfing thing, I had visions of myself picking up the sport pretty quickly. I mean, after all, I surf and ski and snowboard, and I’m pretty athletic. So it should be effortless, right? WRONG! The kite is a whole other beast. I spent the entire day riding 10 feet at the most before either sinking or crashing. I lost my sunnies, scraped my elbow, got a horrific farmer’s tan, and ingested my salt intake for the entire year. The kite was controlling me, instead of me controlling the kite. But Marko assured me I was right where I should be and don’t worry, tomorrow is a new day! He rocks. I got super lucky with my kite instructor. He’s one of the fastest around, so he gets the board up-wind and up the beach for me before any other person could, which gives me more time in the water. He’s also really patient and mellow. Nothing rattles him. One of the other instructors lost control of Marko's kite and it ripped across a barbed wire fence. It didn’t even faze him.
That night I relaxed in the dining room, playing cards with the German couple and Jonas. They are seriously the best – so much fun to hang out with! We took turns telling jokes that night, everyone trying to translate it from their native language into English the best they could. But the punchlines were always off which made it even more amusing. They really liked this one joke I told: An Aussie joins the American military. His first day at boot camp, the sergeant comes up to him and yells "Did you come here to DIE???!!!" and the Aussie replied, "No sir! I come here yester-day('die') mate!" We dined on sea bass carpaccio topped with fresh herbs from the Vila garden, filet mignon parmesan (never would have thought to do this but it was amazing!), freshly caught fish in a lemon caper sauce, and flambéed mango with ice cream. One of the best things about Vila Prea is the food! They have a huge organic garden and use the delicious produce in their kitchen. There are banana and papaya trees, passion fruit, yucca, melons, squash, basil, parsley, chives, tomatoes, arugula, and more. The kitchen is run by an actual chef from Sao Paulo and he is very talented. He’ll make you whatever you want, too! One night I asked for ceviche, and he delivered a very tangy and tasty dish.
There are two owners of Vila Prea: Fred and Rob. Fred is a young’ish guy from France who worked a ton in the states before landing in Jeri. He kites. His mom, Madeline, is in town for a month – lucky her! I went for a walk with her one morning. She’s a cool lady… raised a couple kids and travelled the world when they moved out. Plus, she used to be a nurse! So we talked all kinds of nurse talk, and I told her all about what a CRNA is, and she asked me what I thought of Obamacare.
Fred and his mom area cool. But I bonded the most with Rob, the other owner. He’s from New York, in his early 50’s, and has an eyebrow piercing. Rob would show up to the Vila every day around noon on his motorcycle. He would then survey the kitchen for a few minutes to make sure everything was in order there before retiring to his “office”, which was an old battered desk and swivel chair under a palm tree. I had daily “therapy” sessions with Rob, as I called them, which were really just me asking him a bunch of questions about his ideas on random stuff. He’s part Native American, certified in some special ancient open-hand form of karate, and really into energy. Most of his sentences begin with “It’s scientifically proven…” For instance, he says that we live in a hologram. I asked him to explain how he got this information. “I don’t remember, ask the scientists” he replied. Rob is the first person I have ever heard say that he actually needs some carbohydrates. One day they brought out a plate of sweet potatoes to his office. Another day it was a big pancake of tapioca, which is very starchy. “I need some carbohydrates” he would repeat several times in his nasaly New York accent, usually going into a rant about healthy eating… in between puffs on his never-ending cigarettes. He chain smokes like a chimney. But I’m telling you, the man has lived a lot of life and has some great stories. He’s also read books on practically every topic known to man. He’s like a mini expert on everything. Did you know that the tongue is the next thing to develop in the fetus after the heart?? Rob said it’s scientifically proven, but I haven’t verified that yet.
My 4th day of kite lessons was incredibly exciting! It made up for the 3rd day. I actually rode a pretty good distance in both directions without falling or crashing all that much. I felt much more in control of the kite and didn’t have to go super-womaning after my board quite so much (that’s the zig-zagging body drag you do to get your board after you lose it). I love kite surfing. I love it so much that I extended my stay for 3 more days over the weekend!! Which means 3 more lessons!! So stoked!!
To celebrate my momentous 4th day of kiting, I ordered the chef’s choice plate of sushi at this incredible Japanese-style place in Jeri. It was the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life!! There were 3 different kinds of sashimi that tasted so incredibly fresh as if it just jumped out of the ocean onto my plate: salmon, tuna, and sea bass. There was a cone of seaweed stuffed with tuna, rice, and thinly sliced pickled ginger. Even a shitake mushroom and cream cheese roll which was to-die for! All of the sushi was really creative and innovative. My favorite roll had salmon in it topped with lime zest. It was a really, really good day.