The Chronicles of Dave and Terry: Volcano Boarding

The Chronicles of Dave and Terry are inspired by real British men. Men who have succeeded in breaking free of the island shackles of Great Britain and ventured out into the wider world. These are the men who give Great Britain such a fantastic worldwide reputation, from the expats in Benidorm to the hooligans in Marseille. Since meeting these men at the World Cup in Brazil, I have been continually impressed by their respectful treatment of foreign cultures.

Disclaimer: The events described may or may not have actually taken place.

Warning: Contains strong language. 

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Terry swore himself awake. Humid Nicaraguan air floated through the window, serving only to burden the struggling air conditioning unit with a more impossible task. Terry looked over at Dave. Snoring impressively, Dave sagged into the bed and a solitary bead of sweat trickled down his gleaming head into the crevasses of his burly neck. Resentful of his slumbering companion, Terry lazily nudged him with his foot until Dave spluttered awake. 

“Breakfast,” mumbled Terry. “The woman’s coming in half an hour.”

Dave and Terry had signed up to go volcano boarding on the outskirts of Leon, Nicaragua’s second largest city. Dave, a thrill-seeker, had suggested the activity, but Terry’s reluctance was hanging in the air as they struggled through a breakfast of rice, beans, scrambled eggs and tortilla. Both men loudly criticised the waiter for serving rice with their eggs and Dave was heard to describe Nicaragua as ‘a joke of a country’. 

The black rocks of Cerro Negro volcano

The black rocks of Cerro Negro volcano

A short while later, the pair were trundling along a bumpy dirt track, their backs bumping against the metal grille of the pickup truck. An enthusiastic German woman was talking too much for Terry’s liking, listing facts about Cerro Negro, Nicaragua’s youngest volcano, down which they would soon be hurtling.

“So, tell me again. Why are we doing this?” Terry asked a still drowsy Dave.

“It’s in the guide book. Supposed to be good fun. Look, we’re in Nicaragua, and I thought we should do stuff that locals do.”

“You reckon Nicaraguans do this? Probably not much else to do, to be fair. It’s too hot in this country. I could barely breathe last night.”

“Well, yeah exactly,” Dave yawned. “Better than being stuck in that city where all people do is shout at you in Mexican…”

“Maybe, but just for the record, I don’t have a good feeling about this,” mumbled Terry, his belly bouncing up and down with the motion of the truck.

At the foot of the volcano, Dave and Terry were handed overalls and thin planks of wood, which would carry them down the slope. Terry wasn’t entirely confident that the board would hold his weight, but fell into line behind his companion and started the short hike to the summit. 

A British volcano boarder stands at the foot of Cerro Negro

A British volcano boarder stands at the foot of Cerro Negro

Being an active volcano, Cerro Negro omitted sulphurous fumes from its various craters and the sun’s rays bounced back off the jet-black rocks with interest. The two men reached the summit at the back of the group, panting and drenched in sweat. A hazy mist obscured some of the view, but Dave could just make out some green plains and the white cathedral of Leon on the horizon.

“Well this is shit!” declared an irate Terry, bent double as he surveyed the view.

“What do you mean?” asked Dave, clearly surprised at his friend’s reaction.

“We climb to the top of a fucking volcano and you can’t see shit! I should never have come on this fucking trip.”

“Hang on mate,” protested Dave, “don’t be ridiculous. There are fields and mountains over there.”

“I get a better view from me armchair at home,” stated Terry, defiantly.

“Your house backs onto the train line, Terry…”

“Yeah, well at least I don’t have to climb a fucking volcano to see it,” he muttered.

One of Cerro Negro's five craters and the hazy view beyond

One of Cerro Negro's five craters and the hazy view beyond

The two men followed their guide’s instructions in silence, squeezing themselves into overalls and pulling on gloves and goggles. Fighting the urge to have another go at Dave, Terry contented himself with grumbling discontentedly, batting away insects and wiping his sodden brow.

One by one, the group edged down the stony mountainside on their boards, until it became so steep that they drifted out of sight. Dave was excited. Terry was still grumbling. At the signal, Dave sat on his board and set off. He gradually picked up speed and before long was hurtling down the slope, rocks flying up into his face. After thirty seconds or so and just as he was beginning to lose his balance, the slope levelled out and he came to a natural stop, feeling rather exhilarated.

Terry’s descent wasn’t quite so smooth. As his rotund figure came into view, it became clear that he was out of control and was approaching the bottom at an alarming speed. After a brave, but short struggle with his board, Terry was sent flying, the stones grazing him nastily through the overalls and flying into his mouth. Moaning in agony, he hobbled awkwardly down the remainder of the hill and was greeted by a gleeful Dave.

“You alright pal?” asked Dave, when he had managed to control his laughter.

“Don’t fucking talk to me,” growled Terry, spitting more stones out of his mouth. “Get me out of this fucking backward country!”

Terry’s bitter mood did not subside until much later that evening. Having initially blamed Dave for his accident, Terry spent most of the afternoon criticising Nicaragua as a country, before turning his anger upon anything and everything that seemed foreign to him. Be it rice for breakfast or overly cheerful tour guides, Terry always found someone or something to blame. Dave enjoyed Terry’s rants and he knew he could look forward to many more as the pair continued their journey south.

TO BE CONTINUED

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The start of the Cerro Negro trail

The start of the Cerro Negro trail