12° 44' 0" North, 87° 26' 0" West
Well to make a long story short, I'm very glad I stayed another week in Jiquilillo.
The front yard.
The Cast of Characters:
(Pics removed by request.)
Jameson's temporary replacement.
These three characters were fairly prevalent for my first week in Jiquilillo. We were all supposed to go to the UK together on the 22nd, but due to some difficulties on the set, I decided to stay on by myself for another week and let them go.
Although my original travel companions left, I was hardly alone for the next chapter.
My most constant companions:
Danny Jose. 13 yr old guard / spanish tutor extraordinaire.
A very smart kid with a heart of gold. Danny spoke a tiny bit of english, so every night we swapped lessons with each other.
Jeferson Oniel. 10 yr old patrolman / portrait artist.
Jeferson didn't speak any english, so we communicated mostly through body language until I figured out that he's a really talented artist. We started drawing a lot of pictures for each other.
Dionel. 17 yr old bodyguard / card player.
Dionel was the fiercest of the boys, but still had a pretty big soft side. We spent a lot of time playing card games late into his night watch duties.
Although our language barriers came up a lot, by the end of the week we all understood each other pretty well. When my car was leaving this morning I had to actually fight back some tears. Especially when I was trying to explain to Danny what "I'll miss you" means.
Momma and Mutley. The ferocious house guard dogs.
This girl and I had an adventure together that I will never forget...
If you asked me before I went on this trip if I would ever ride two and a half hours alone, after dark, during a torrential down poor, through the pitch black, unmarked, foreign streets of an extremely impoverished fishing town, in a country where I hardly knew the language, to a beach lit only by vicious lightning striking the incoming tide's waves that I had to race home on a horse that was afraid of water before the beach was totally gone... would I do it? I probably, definitely would have said no.
I blame these two.
William and Xavier. The two french chefs. They had tempted me earlier in the day by inviting me up to their place, which by car takes about 45 minutes to get to on the dirt roads. On the phone I misunderstood exactly how long it would take by horse and beach, then through a fishing village and up the hill on a route I had never taken. Lost in translation (common theme of the trip.) The assumed 30 minute trek was actually two hours at a fast pace (I was really determined to get there and since all the locals kept agreeing I was going the right direction I knew I wasn't lost... just not there yet.)
By the time I finally made it up their driveway I found William and Xavier in their newly opened pool. They were literally having the very first swim and asked if I would like to join them and some margaritas in said pool. After two hours of riding in the sun it sure seemed like a good idea. Such a good idea in fact, that I didn't even really notice the sun starting to set before the incoming clouds.
When they invited me to stay the night I said that would probably be best, mostly because I didn't bring a saddle on the way up because of the ride's imagined distance and Becky's backbone wasn't exactly comfortable anymore. I called my place to tell the boys I wouldn't be home that night and Danny handed the phone over. I had guests at my house. Lots of them. I had completely forgotten that a couple had intended on making me dinner that night. Two canadians, three americans, and four locals were drinking on my porch and making dinner. When would I be home? Blar.
Xavier reluctantly lent me his saddle and off I went into the night. As soon as I took that first left from their driveway and started down the hill into the village it started to rain. I immediately figured out that the headlamp wasn't a good idea. (Thanks anyways T.) None of the locals riding around had one. It wasn't long after that that the monsoon, thunder and lightning started.
The image that sticks out most to me now are all of the dimly lit huts on the side of the road, all full of people and dogs watching me slip past in the darkness... some yelling out and barking... some not. All wondering why on earth I was riding at that hour... most asking questions that involved vocabulary Danny and I hadn't quite covered in our short time together.
Despite my intimidation, I felt committed. After resolving to not turn around I did some deep breathing exercises and reminded myself that the world is a good place.
I felt resolute peace despite my environment. I'm really glad we did it.
Anyways... sorry that was a big side note... back to the cast:
Bodhi. SoHum big surf bro-bra. He owns the house we rented and knows just about everybody I know in NorCal. It was really nice to have somebody that understood my situation and so graciously extend an offer to stay longer. Thanks Bodhi.
Mini Bodhi... who I only met briefly.
They thought I was crazy at first. Ha.
If something's broke... get creative.
(Yes that's a Pam spray oil can extending that exhaust pipe that just fell off our truck. No worries, a nylon belt did the trick for the rest of the way.)
(Yes that's a bungee chord we used to fix the door that suddenly stopped closing. Could've had something to do with the door handle that was now a shoestring tied to a bent coat-hanger.)
The Main Point:
Over and Out.