Yesterday afternoon I found myself in a small cafe kitchen in Santa Teresa with my friend Nancy and a new friend Evie. We are baking a chocolate birthday cake and dealing with the excruciating heat by fanning ourselves with old menus printed in spanish. The cafe is closed but the owner is there with her wild pet squirrel that keeps launching itself from her shoulder to mine. I make a strong attempt not to shreek everytime this small wild squirrel whips itself to my shoulder (a sign of affection the owner tells Nancy as her and Evie break down in stitches laughing) and not to cringe at the general uncleanileness of the cafe. The other owners sit out front and smoke pot barefoot facing the dusty street. The Birthday cake is for roomie Tammy,
But I digress.
One week has passed since I found myself fighting airports, tickets, time lines and tricky travel bits and already it seems like a foggy memory. I have finally relaxed into the pace of life here that could best be described as 'island time'... as everything happens at a pace and urgency similar to that of Hawaii... or Ireland... or most of the Carribbean... everything happens at a pace North Americans are unaccousted to. After several months of regimented living it took some mental fortitude and rest (I discovered the joy of just sitting in a hammock for hours at a time... a little gift that came along with the house I am living at) to adjust, stop looking at my watch and to gauge my day by sunrise and sun set. Which is alright by me. I have settled into our little pink hacienda (I occupy the upper floor, a little room and bathroom), have adjusted best I can to no mirrors, cold water and the general town feel. Caught somewhere between first and second, second and third world every day gives me a little something to see and think about.
Living with Nancy and Tammy is great. Tammy is a Canadian expat making her home here for 6 months a year and in Toronto the other 6. I have met a great variety of characters in town (the population is a couple hundred) as both Nanc and Tammy have worked and played here for so many months. I have learned the scoop on many, many people and this town has so many stories someone should make a movie of it, or at least write a book. Maybe I should get on that...
The tatooed barefoot surfers are everywhere and so are the perma vacationers or the tatooed expats as I like to call them. There is a wide and varied assortment of folk. As usual for visiting foreign places, I have loved and hated the language barrier, the trouble with menial tasks (post office, grocery store, 'sodas' the small local resturants) and the meeting of all sorts of interesting people. Not having spanish is a chore. I thought my Italian might help me get by, but there are too many differences starting and ending with Donde and Dove and ending with adios. Mental note to self... do not take the language barrier lightly again. AGAIN! How many times is life and travel going to deal me that lesson?
Last night Tammy hosted a birthday party for herself at a local resturant, a yoga studio slash open air bamboo hatched dining room. We dined with dozens of people over candlelight and wine, drank copious amounts of sangria and had a dance party. We relocated to a bar in town and finshed the night at Nancy Tammys and mine where I finally bowed out at 6 06 am when the sun began to rise. Safe to say Tammy had a memorable night... as I did. I met multiple Tikos, some charming and some vial, local resturanteer expats from the UK and Aus, a lawyer form Italy who also does a 6 and 6 month sweep living here, an architect from Venezula who is living his life long dream of owning resturant on the beach. I am fascinated by this current cast of characters and feel grateful that I have been ducked so deep into local life.
Moving forward from here will be hard. I have enjoyed this gruelling surf, some amazing yoga and food, and the good good company of the girls. The heat is driving me mad and the sweat is constantly pooling on my back and behind my knees but I find comfort in this journey, feeling like seeing the sun rise over the jungle will be the light that keeps rising and showing me the way.
My painfully, PAINFULLY slow internet is treatening to crash on me again so best wrap this up. I am going to meet the gals on the beach for sunset and beer. Photos will have to wait, my apologies, but I am grateful to have had the net long enough to compose this.
Besos, Hh xo