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Rob (from Melbourne, Oz) and Nicole (from Atlanta) were living in Nagoya about ten years ago and we've become friends ever since then.
I came to Atlanta in April 2005 for the first time to attend their wedding. We had such a great time then, and that super-crazy buck's party (aka bachelor party) with Rob and all his mates in Las Vegas and New Orleans before the wedding is still unforgettable today: lots of laughter and lots of booze....
It's been over seven years since my last visit in Atlanta now. As I could not really see Atlanta during my last visit, I'm going to explore a bit of this 1996-Olympics city this time while I'm crashing at Rob and Nicole's place with their lovely kids - Harper and Finley.


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Little did I know that the head office of Coca-Cola is in Atlanta, and also that the original Coca-Cola recipe was formulated by a man in Georgia called John Pemberton.
The World of Coca Cola is the museum located in downtown Atlanta dedicated to exhibit the whole history of Coca Cola.


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I hardly had a chance to drink Coca Cola when I was a kid. My mum never allowed me to, she even told me that Coke would melt my body if I would ever have a sip of it! Partly true, I guess.
Time passed now and since I travelled through South America and Central America where it was much easier to buy a bottle of Coke than a bottle of water, I've unwisely become addicted to this sugary drink.


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This Coca Cola museum was a bad honeypot for me as there was a section called "Taste It!" inside the museum where I could actually try all Coca-Cola related soft drinks for free.
Needless to say, I tried everything (probably 40 different types of soft drink) and my belly started to get upset a bit.


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Amongst all the drinks at "Taste It!" section, the "worst" one was from Italy called "Beverly" as shown in the photo below. It tasted like some awfully bitter syrup for a cold.

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My favourite one was from Chile called "Manzana Lift" as shown in the photo below. It was based on apple (I'm guessing). It tasted very similar to Appletizer. Super refreshing!

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Across from the Coca-Cola museum, there is an aquarium which is said to be the largest aquarium in the world. (My favourite aquarium is Kaiyu-kan in Osaka, Japan actually.)

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The world's largest aquarium?
No wonder there are three whale sharks in the tank. It was very impressive to see this huge tank with all kinds of fish, and humans (divers).

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My stay in Atlanta was awesome.
Many many thanks to Rob and Nicole for having me at their place (Rob took me to a baseball game on Sunday as well).
It was great to see them with their super-genki kids.
By staying at their place and actually seeing how their live evolve (or change?), a lot of things popped up in my head to ponder about, amongst them was "What is a family?"

Family . . . . .

I never thought of wanting to have my own when I was younger, but this thought has now started to change;

My own family?

Not now. But in the future. Maybe.

Thanks again to Rob and Nicole!


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Next Destination >>>




スポンサーサイト

Rob kindly drove me to the international airport in Atlanta. It was before sunrise. Nicole and the kids were still sleeping then.
Some people dislike Delta Airlines, but I disagree with them. I've never had any dramas or trouble with the airline before and I believe that Delta offers much better service than some other rubbish American airlines.

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I arrived in San Salvador around midday without any problems. It was cloudy and hot. Sticky hot actually! This is my second visit in El Salvador and I felt good to be back here.

My very reason for re-visiting this country is simply because I want to surf in this country more than the last time (Click here to see more details of my last visit in El Salvador.)

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Most of my last stay in El Salvador was based in El Tunco, but this time I thought of staying in El Zonte for the first few days because I never went there before and a few of my friends also told me that there were some good waves in El Zonte with few crowds. However, accommodation in El Zonte turned out to be a little more expensive than expected. Therefore, I ended up staying in El Tunco this time again.

"El Tubo" is the name of a guesthouse owned by local surfer Papaya in El Tunco and I stayed there this past June. Its sister guesthouse "Papaya's Lodge" also located in El Tunco and only a couple of hundred meters away from each other. I decided to stay in Papaya's Lodge this time.

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The above photo shows a room at Papaya's Lodge that I checked in for USD8.00 (The mosquito-net is mine), a super basic single private room with a shared bathroom and no breakfast included, but it's only 8 US dollars per night and I don't have to share it with others. No complains!

I only spent 8 days in El Salvador the last time. This time I came here to surf, surf and surf. So I'll be staying here as long as I want, or as long as my visa allows me to.

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Since I came to El Salvador I've been surfing for 20 days straight, mostly at Punta Roca and El Sunzal.
Like those workaholic men in Japan, no day-off for me up until now, but I suddenly caught a cold, having a runny nose and a sore throat in this hot and sticky El Salvador (I even had a fever last night). It's time for me to have a little rest and stay out of the water.

The below are some of the events (and incidents) that have happened to me over the past 20 days;


1. My Beloved Watch was Gone!

I was surfing El Sunzal when my left arm was tangled with a dodgy longboarder's leash code. He was paddling right in front of me for a wave which I paddled for. As I was about to take off on the wave, he didn't only interfere my way, but also took over the wave while my left arm was caught by his leash code and I was dragged into the water. I have no idea how my left arm eventually came off from this idiot's leash code. When I eventually emerged from the white water, I was so angry at this dickhead.
A couple of minutes later he paddled back out and apologized to me. I didn't swear at him, but I said something not very nice to him.
You cannot really see the injury that I sustained from this incident in the photo below, but my left arm became swollen with a big bruise and I realized that my watch (G-Shock Gulfman) was gone.... Angry and Shocking!

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2. J-girl Surfers Kayo and Kyoko

It was late in the afternoon in El Sunzal with waves of up to 4ft constantly coming in.
The main spot in El Sunzal can often be slow and mushy, but this day it was solid with a nice long shoulder, clean and powerful enough all the way to the beach.
I caught one wave and rode it almost to the beach when there appeared to be an Asian girl in bikini paddling out. It was Kayo, a surfer from Sendai, who was travelling and surfing around the world. We just had a little chat in the water and confirmed each other being Japanese.
Later in the evening when I came back to Papaya's Lodge, I saw another Asian girl in bikini with a boogie-board in her hand. It was Kyoko from Saitama who was also travelling and surfing (in her case "boogie-boarding") around the world.
Now there are three Japanese surfers in this tiny country in Central America. It's always great to bump into other Japanese people on the road, especially if they are surfers cruising around the world like myself.
The photo below shows Kyoko and me at a restaurant for dinner one night. She is married, but left her hubbie in Japan and travelling by herself. Crazy!

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3. Surfing La Bocana and El Tunco

I didn't surf either La Bocana or El Tunco during my last visit this past June because La Bocana wasn't working at all and I didn't feel like surfing at El Tunco back then. But this time I surfed La Bocana as well as El Tunco a few times.

La Bocana (shown in the photos below) is a rivermouth with a short right-hander and a long left-hander. I caught a few good hollow left-hands at this spot. A rivermouth is always fun!

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El Tunco (shown in the photos below) is just an average beach-break, and waves break beside the iconic rock of El Tunco. Quite a few locals always have a short session here before sunset. I often took my 5.8 Firewire Spitfire out with me and had fun with it.

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4. Surfing K59 with GoPro Camera

My first try with a GoPro HD camera mounted on my blue Al Merrick.
I went to K59 very early in the morning with Beese, an American guy who was also staying at Papaya's Lodge. We hired a driver for USD30.00 for a return trip between El Tunco and K59 then.
Like most of the other spots in El Salvador, K59 is a righthand pointbreak with slippery boulders at the bottom.
Waves on this particular day were about 3ft on a set with no winds. It was my first time to surf K59. Beese, his friends and I had a 2-hour session and I caught a few good waves. The below are some of the photos taken by my GoPro camera.

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5. Brazilian Couple Rod and Priscila

Punta Roca, supposedly one of the best righthand pointbreaks in Central America, never became too crowded for some reason and I always saw the same crew every time I surfed there.
I met Rod while I was surfing at Punta Roca. He was always there around the same time of the day as me, and we often came back to El Tunco together by a chicken bus. He and his beautiful girlfriend Priscila are from Brazil and they are travelling around the world together right now,
They are heading north such as Guatemala and Mexico after El Salvador. And as I'm also heading the same direction, we've decided to take the same shuttle bus from El Tunco to La Antigua in Guatemala in a few days time.
The last photo below shows Rod catching a nice set-wave at Punta Roca.

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It's been raining cats and dogs since Monday and I'm stuck in El Tunco.
Unfortunately, there's been no surf due to the heavy rain and I'm actually ready to get the hell out of here. My next destination is La Antigua, Guatemala. However, a bridge near the boarder of El Salvador and Guatemala is broken by floods now....
Rod and Priscila, a Brazilian couple who I got to know here, and I booked a shuttle for USD25.00 to go to La Antigua for today, but it's now postponed due to this flooding; a huge hurricane is coming up this way now. The swell forecast doesn't look good either for Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala for at least the next five days.

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When there is no surf, all I do tends to be just eating.
Eating a lot but not excessively is Okay as long as I surf for at least a couple of hours every day. However, having the same amount of food when there is no surf is no good for my body. Yet my mind still tells me to eat as much. I can't help it....

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A lady who works at Papaya's Lodge made Pupusa for guests today.
Pupusa is basically a corn tortilla filled with cheese and other things such as meat and beans. This is said to be a traditional El Salvadorian dish.

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It looks like a choco-chip cookie, but the brown stuff is mashed red beans and it tastes like big senbeis (a Japanese rice cracker). Fresh and warm Pupusas are really yummy.

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Kyoko became crazy about this particular ice-cream (pictured below). I didn't believe her in the beginning, but she insisted that I should try it. So I did and I've become a big fan for this ice-cream ever since then.

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It looks and tastes like a cheap version of Cookie & Cream (actually better than that!). I now have a pile of them in the freezer at Papaya's Lodge.

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Next Destination >>>




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Although there was no surf for the last four days due to the hurricane, my stay in El Salvador was as good and fun as the last time with lots of waves to be had. The only pity was that I could not go surfing at Las Flores and Punta Mango this time (and the last time either). I'll keep these two places for my next visit to El Salvador in the future.


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After two waiting days due to the hurricane with a bucket of rain, our shuttle for La Antigua finally showed up in El Tunco at 4pm (normally at 12pm).


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Like El Salvador, this is my second visit in Guatemala and many things in La Antigua are quite familiar to me.
A lot of people like this small colonial town, but La Antigua isn't really cheap. Prices for accommodation, food, etc. all seem to be set for tourists. Moreover, it's raining in La Antigua. I don't normally travel with rain....


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