Mancora, Northern Peru
The beginner waves here and the lack of a strong current make this beach town in the northern part of Peru a great place for novices to get on a surf board for the first time. Since his first try in Brazil, Patrick was itching to get back on a board and learn some skills, he and Jorinde gave it a shot while Folker and I watched with content from the dry and warm beach. It was a pleasure to watch and I think it was a pleasure to do!
The rest of Mancora is walked in about 10 minutes and besides the beach and a few shopping stalls there is very little to do. The fresh seafood was a treat, as were the cold beer at sunset. But for me, and I think for Patrick as well, the most memorable part of Mancora was crossing paths with Father Kevin, a catholic priest on a mini-holiday from his duties in the mountain regions of Peru.
In the two days in Mancora, we stumbled into each other on several occasions, one time even enjoying a meal together, at which he was able to weave some of our favorite stories of rural Peruvian life. He spoke of hill villages that get a visit from a catholic priest once a year, at which time all important sacraments are performed. He spoke of sleeping on a family’s one bed, as they sleep on the floor, because of the honor it brings to house the priest. He spoke of abuses due to alcoholism and the daily struggle it is to put food in the mouths of the children. He spoke with candor, humor and deep appreciation for the will of the human spirit, and how helpful a few days at the seashore were to put it all into perspective.
The best story was of a local on the beach selling wooden carvings. He offered Father Kevin his goods and when he refused, he pulled out a more phallic version from the depths of his bag, thinking any man would be inspired. When he replied with “Soy padre” (I am a priest), the man blushed with embarrassment and quickly hid the statue, and walked away. You just never know.
We were moved by Father Kevin’s slow speech, mindful word choices and serene presence and wonder now when the last time was that he gifted himself with some solitude in Mancora.
As mentioned above, while visiting the only "warm" beach town in Peru's northern region (very close to the border with ecuador) Patrick had the rare opportunity to take some surfing lessons (90 min. for roughly $15). Well, as you can imagine his form was impeccable. Watch these few clips and you build your own opinion: