My alternative title for this weeks installment of Witch Doctors, Wine Coolers and Woe was ,”Krauts, Krap and Krying” but I have a deep hatred of spelling words that begin with C with a K instead – maybe because I was almost (but not really) murdered at a KOA Kampground years ago? Perhaps. But I digress. Which is actually a major feature of this blog. Oops. Did it again. On to the story!
After my dreamy evening of snuggling in a hammock under the moon with my latest crush Assaf I felt certain I had this one “in the bag”. When we saw each other the next morning he was reserved but I attributed this to his gentlemanly concern for my reputation…(let that one sink in for a moment) and followed his lead. Our secret was safe. However as the morning wore on I detected a certain amount of avoidance coming from my future husband. Discretion was one thing but this felt more like…Nooooo. Was he blowing me off? Not possible. The moonlight! The kissing! The eye contact! How could this be happening?! And then She arrived.
Chris – the sour faced German girl who rarely spoke and wore an expression of perpetual indigestion showed up at the ranch a day late but apparently with ALL the dollars. Now in fairness Chris was not inherently evil (I assume – perhaps her backpack was stuffed with dead kittens?…I don’t know) – she was just shy and not very fluent in English. Plus she had met Assaf a whole week before I had which in travel time is approx. 10 years and HE had a crush on HER. I was undeterred. It was me against Chris and the stakes were sky-high. Two “women” enter the arena…
The afternoon turned into a painful of example of not counting your chickens before they hatch as I watched Assaf shadow Chris’s every move and take careful pains to avoid being alone with me. The night came and with it a local fiesta. We were in a very remote mountain village. There was ZERO tourism here – just local people spread out among the hills and jungle. Our host father was a local hero as he had moved to the city and become a successful lawyer. Anytime he returned to his birth village he threw elaborate parties for the village and every local turned out to celebrate.
Teresa our host mom carefully explained the ground rules to us in her halting English. The girls must dance with every man who asks them. The boys must drink with every man who asks them. Well that seemed reasonable – what could possibly go wrong? We loaded up in the back of the pickup and headed out to the party under a star lit sky.
The fiesta was held in a large field that also served as the football pitch. A van was there with dual generators to power the lights strung from building to building as well as the disco ball and sound system. There were horseback riding games like capture the brass ring, cock-fighting, horseshoes, a bit of light fist fighting, dancing… and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.
The music thumped with so much force it melded with your heartbeat and the liquor was of the raw sugar cane variety and tasted like petrol, fire and ash going down. One shot was enough for me and I secretly tossed the rest over my shoulder or swiftly spit it out when no one was looking. Luckily it was so high voltage the entire swarm of 100 or so people was shit faced drunk in short order and no one took notice of my “shortcuts”. My male travel companions – feeling their testicles were on the line and being reluctant to pass on free booze even if it tasted like antifreeze – didn’t waste a drop. They made our mother proud and drank with every man in that village until they were reeling and puking. Ahhhh youth.
(sidenote: RedDog – your daughter is NOT doing anything this stupid right now. She is probably tucked up somewhere safe reading a book and drinking chamomile tea.)
Luckily our dance cards were not too full – the men were far more interested in drinking – so us ladies were able to bear witness to the awful spectacle of our young men becoming sloppy drunk to the point of blacking out. They were quite cheerful about it however and dear Richard the Irishman regaled the crowd with an array of such shockingly dirty rugby songs I dare not repeat them here. Finally well after midnight our mom and dad pulled the plug and poured us all back into the truck for the bumpy ride home.
I began to plot my attack hoping to regain the upper hand now that Assaf was compromised (I know I KNOW) and when the truck ground to a halt and everyone literally tumbled out I got to him before Chris could say “Guten Tag”. I did that sexy thing where I looked all desperate and sad and told Assaf to meet me at my cabin (I know I KNOW). He agreed and I went to wait for him with keen excitement. By the end of the first hour of waiting my enthusiasm had dimmed. By the third hour I realized he was in Chris’s cabin and my eyes were dry from crying too much. And by the fifth hour I was pissed, hell-bent and laying in wait for the little fucker out on the hammock The Hammock right where he couldn’t avoid me. Hell hath no fury like a woman who spends all night stewing…
We were still strangers so Assaf couldn’t possibly know how prone to drama and scene making I was. Or how I liked to over think everything to the point of pain (thankfully I have mellowed…a bit). Laying in that hammock I watched the sun light the sky, mentally crafting killer statements and proclamations. When the poor bastard stumbled from his bed around 10am with a face like only raw sugar cane alcohol could give you only to see me laying in wait like a really pissed off spider I can’t believe he didn’t just go back to bed. But he was a good guy at heart – just young (21) and travelling and having fun. He couldn’t know I had already picked out our china pattern.
I said my piece – felt used…you misled me..still be friends…I doubt he absorbed a word. But I was playing the long game. Act all cool and nonplussed and win him over with my awesomeness (and perseverance) – because nothing says “I’m awesome” like dishonesty, manipulation and cravenness right? Later that afternoon Assaf finally rallied from his hangover and expressed an interest in hiking around the local jungle to check it out. Chris said she would like to come along so naturally I held back and allowed those two a little time to themselves. HA! No I actually tagged along of course – subtlety be damned!
We began by following Teresa’s careful instructions to follow the roadway and not wander because…the jungle. But Assaf was a boy made for adventure and soon began cutting swaths through the greenery with his borrowed machete to see what lay beyond the path. At one point we came across jungle vines that looked like they were right out of a Tarzan movie. Vine swinging was the next natural step. To my delight Chris showed too much common sense to try something so stupid so I leapt at the chance to prove how stupid I could be and tried it. It broke. Luckily it was a small fall. But before we knew it the light had begun to fade and the road had disappeared. We were lost. In the jungle. Fuck.
We tried not to panic and began hacking our way back to where we thought the road might be. I mean we couldn’t actually get lost lost out here could we? Of course Teresa’s last words had been “be careful you can get lost is dangerous…muy dangerous” but surely she was kidding…right? Dusk turned to full night and worry turned to panic. We were just kids after all, playing at being grown ups and showing not an ounce of sense. Finally after more than an hour of shrubbery hacking we located the road. But where the hell were we? We followed the road in the full black of night straining to see any house lights.
At last we saw some in the distance and began a careful ascent of the driveway – Teresa had also warned us against approaching houses because we might get shot – until a fleet of hell hounds encouraged us to think twice and forced us to scurry back to the relative safety of the road. We continued walking along with no plan – only hoping we would somehow stumble upon the ranch by accident – when a truck slowly approached. We froze – a rescue?!
It was another rancher bringing a couple of his cows home for the night and he knew our host family and said he would take us to his house so we could call them. We had to hop in the back because there were already several cowboys crowding the front. Taking the initiative I grabbed the wooden tailgate and hoisted my self up and over and face planted into the back-end of a cow. Recovering from this I steadied my self and promptly slipped on a cow pattie landing chest first in a pile of steaming cow shit. I served as a canary in the coal mine for Assaf and Chris and they boarded the truck with their dignity intact.
Eventually our host father sent a ranch hand to retrieve us from the neighbor’s house and we returned home to see everyone seated around the tables outside – Teresa’s face creased with worry – we had been gone for over four hours. But when the group got one look at me – covered head to toe in cow shit – they all burst out laughing. It was the fitting end to a perfect day.