Sunday, July 27, 2008

21 Paces to Freedom

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the fact that I have been virtually M.I.A. for the past 12 days and to officially redeem myself. There is no single reason for my absence however if I had to pinpoint a reason, I would definitely blame it on my new found friends Ryan and Dennis….more on them later. Anyway, after receiving numerous threats in the form of e-mails, smoke signals, and late night whispers through the darkness from this blog’s ever-growing fan club, here is the quick and dirty run down of the past two weeks. I am warning you, it wont be pretty and some feelings might get hurt…and it probably wont be quick….but it will definitely be dirty……regardless, you asked for it so here it is.

Lets start with Ryan. It was three weeks ago, the first time I laid eyes on her and I knew instantly that she was a creeper. I had just finished my morning business in the bathroom (which by the way is an exercise in humility due to the fact that there are ZERO private bathrooms here….its all public…all day, everyday, for two and a half months!)….and there she stood in the hallway staring at me. I don’t mean staring at me like she just woke up and was still in zombie mode….it was staring like she thought I was the dumbest person on earth and had never wanted to punch someone so badly in her whole existence. I knew immediately that we would be lifelong friends but I decided to wait until she cheered up to introduce myself.

Later that day I saw her slowly walking alone on the bridge looking a little less hostile and thought I should take the chance just incase it was a rarity. The expensive Nikon with the telephoto lens and the high powered binoculars dangling from her neck told me that she might be interested in the sloth I had spied up in a tree, so I waved her over and asked if she wanted to see it. As she walked towards me I assessed the situation….bandanna on her head, nose ring, wife beater T, aviator shades, and a sweet pair of trail runners…I asked myself, GJL or long lost twin? I showed her the sloth, she showed me a toucan, and we haven’t stopped talking since. Turns out she is my long lost twin and we are currently putting together a questionnaire to administer to our parents when we get home.

10 days ago….enter Dennis…or Dr. D as he insists on being called (makes him feel young and hip I think)…or The Bloody Brit as we like to call him. It wasn’t tough to spot him….he is ruggedly handsome, talks with a ridiculous accent, and is incredibly arrogant (we try to cut him some slack…he’s British after all, he can’t help himself), Have I mention the serious shortage of male eye candy around here? Anyway, Ryan and I were sitting at dinner enjoying yet another surprising spread of rice and beans when he sauntered into the cafeteria, effectively turning every female head and leaving my jaw drowning in the beans….Ryan, thanks for slapping it back into place before I started panting.

Not sure exactly how it all happened because I was still trying to wipe the beans off of my chin, but he ended up joining our table where Ryan (who has an uncanny ability to talk to anyone about anything) chatted him up and got all of the vitals for me. 42 years old….old but seasoned…..Ecologist…yummmm….. British….. yet disserted his country because he secretly adores all things American such as Alabama accents, shootin’ vermin, drinkin’ Bud Light, and ridiculously enormous 4x4’s. YEEHAW!.......2 kids……okay, I like kids…..and duhn duhn duhn….
Married…...crap….oh well; I guess that means I don’t have to shave this week after all.

Over the course of 5 minutes, the three of us became fast friends and were completely unable to do anything without each other’s company. Mostly we just made fun of Dennis’s accent and sentence structure and used him for his night vision camera (which I still think has ex-ray vision) to search the swamp for frogs and stalk kinkajous on the bridge. Ever notice how the British always end a sentence with a question? They always say something like “Hail to the Queen, have a pint, blah, blah, blah, BRILLIANT isn’t it?” What the hell does that even mean?!

8 days ago…..The Butcher arranged for Ryan and I to stow away with her and some of the other researchers to the Caribbean to get IRIE MON for 3 days! I was so freakin’ pumped I could hardly contain myself….and I mean it in the most literal sense….overnight, I became ill again and the toilet became my closest acquaintance. Not good if you are planning on sitting like a lady on a bus for 3 hours…so what do you do?.... take an Imodium and pray that god himself doesn’t want to punish you. Absolutely nothing was going to keep me from dipping my toes in the Caribbean and finally getting a tan….not even way.

3 hours later our bus pulled into the palm tree lined beach town of Puerto Viejo de Limon near the Panama border. Ryan and I rented the honeymoon suite at Kaya’s, fully equipped with bunk beds, a sink that stopped working, and our own private bathroom with a sign that read “Please to not flush paper in toilet. Please put in the trash can.” Dios mio how I would hate to be a housekeeper there! I immediately christened the toilet before Ry and I headed out for a candle lit dinner of vegetarian nachos and pizza. Ever since coming down here I have become a vegetarian to help eliminate possible gastrointestinal illnesses which sounds lovely except that I am also lactose intolerant….but I LOVE cheese and it is especially delish in Costa Rica obviously because the cows are happier here.

Okay, lets pause here to assess the situation…hindsight is always 20/20…isn’t it? I was already afflicted with a pretty gnarly case of explosive diarrhea so why wouldn’t I test fate and indulge in a copious amount of queso?! Sometimes my own intelligence astounds me.

Okay, so Ryan and I throw back a couple of drinks (vodka soda limes to kill the bacteria), meet up with the other researchers, throw back a couple more and retire to the honeymoon suite to dream the night away. Fast forward to 3 a.m. and you will find me in my bunk lying in a pool of sweat and trying not to shit the bed (sorry, there is simply no better way of putting this). I’m not sure how long I lay there in agony visualizing every single step that separated me from the toilet but as soon as a small break in the violent cramping came, I seized the moment and hauled ass. Clenching every single muscle even remotely associated with my bowels I scurried down the 5 rungs on the ladder, shuffled the 6 steps to the door and bolted 15 more straight down the hall which landed me precisely at my target….el bano (I chose not to defile our own restroom because I didn’t want to alienate my new friend so early in our relationship). Feeling a bit better and thinking the worst had to be over, I gingerly slipped back into the room. I had just closed the door to the hall and barely taken 3 steps into the room when I heard the bell rang and the announcer yell “ROUND 2!” Sorry Ryan, but logistically there was no other choice…by my calculations, our bathroom was exactly 13 steps closer than the one down the hall and there just wasn’t any time left! So in I went, head first this time and purged the cheesy contents of my stomach….(don’t say I didn’t warned you that this would get dirty).... and what I saw will baffle me to the day I die….I have never seen anything like it…. I swear I could have rolled it in almonds and called it a cheese log. BRILLIANT isn’t it!

Even though I remained a slave to my gastrointestinal track, I spent the next two days lying in ecstasy on the black sand beach soaking up the Caribbean vitamin D. Aside from the obvious distraction, I had a great time getting irie and now I can finally stop complaining that I have been to this country of rich coasts 3 times without ever seeing la playa. By Sunday evening, I was back to the sullen rains of La Selva practically drunk with kisses from Caribbean sunbeams….and possibly a slight overdose of Imodium.

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