Why is it when Crystal, Delfo and I get together, we have to get into some interesting situation? (Only this time Simon had a guest appearance.)
After my Vegas Vacation, the four of us go to Santa Bárbara, Santa Bárbara, (a cute city) with Crystal and Simon’s sitemate, Syd and his girlfriend, Susan, to watch the superbowl. We take 3 buses and a flatbed truck jalón to get there (technically, it is only 25 km away, but you have to travel over 150 km to get there because in this country, there just wouldn’t be any other way). We meet up with some business volunteers and health volunteers there and get together in a bar that has a projection TV. Naturally the TV is not set up when we get there and it’s about 50 minutes until kickoff (but who’s counting, right?). Instead of showing all the pre-game insanity before the game on the smaller TV, the bar decides to show Eagles and Michael Jackson videos. The TV gets set up after 3 minutes of the game had been played (not important, really…but being the tomboy that I can be, it mattered to me). We were served a nice steak dinner, which was even nicer when I found out that it was all paid for by one of the business volunteers. Sadly, I did not get to enjoy it though. I either had some bad water or bad ice in my licuado (from San Pedro) because I was sick with some fun parasite/amoeba/bacterial infection that had my stomach hurting in all kinds of ways.
Have you ever seen “Faces of Death”? The producers document one scene in Asia where a group of men shove swords into their stomachs as some sort of rite of passage. That’s what I could imagine the pain in my stomach was like. (Not that I had ever shoved swords into my stomach…) It hurt a lot and it was hard to walk, talk, or even sit. Only by lying down did the pain subside.
Anyway, after the poorly called game, the four of us decided to stay in the same hotel where Syd and Susan were staying. Hotel Santa Lucia.
Santa Lucia, Francisco Morazán, is where I lived for the majority of my training. It is a beautiful mountain town with clean, crisp air and pine tree covered mountains. Hotel Santa Lucia, Santa Bárbara, is the place where life long memories are made.
The plan was that the four of us were going to get a room with 3 beds for 150 lps. That was agreed upon before we even got to the hotel by Syd and the manager. We are taken to a room with 2 beds, for Crystal and Simon, and are told that if Delfo and I plan on staying there, we have to pay 150 lps. extra or we could take another room for 150 lps. We decide on taking another room which was the one that had 3 beds. No less than 2 minutes pass when Crystal comes charging into the room stating, “Check you beds before you do anything because ours are covered in bugs.” We check and Delfo says, “The only things I see are the California Raisins” (in reference to the bedsheets with those charming little 80s commercial characters) The manager comes up to our room and asks for our names and a long process begins where Crystal and Delfo try to talk her into letting the 4 of us share the room for 200 lps. because of the bedbugs. It takes awhile but she agrees in the end.
“I have to pee and there’s no bathroom door.”, Crystal says. “Look the sink drains right into the shower”, I state. “The TV brand is Panda”, Simon says. “There’s no way I’m going to get to see porn on a black and white TV, is there?”, Delfo states. That kind of describes the room. The walls are covered in a fun mystery stain and smells kind of like sewage…only mixed in with the smell of dirty foam mattress. I think the song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson describes it best when the voiceover says, “The funk of 40,000 years”. That was the smell. Crystal takes a picture of me lying in bed and with the background I look like one of those “For only $25 a month, you can give this girl a place to call home”, kind of ads. All we could do was laugh about the situation. You could get mad about the whole thing, but what would be the point? Besides, if I got mad I would feel like an insensitive traveler from the states who isn’t willing to take an adventure and adjust culturally. I also wouldn’t be able to share the story now if I wasn’t able to look back and laugh on it.
It was hard to sleep because it was really cold in the room (I foolishly and unknowingly took the only bed sheet, which didn’t help much) and it was just uncomfortable. We got out of there early the next morning and went to a restaurant famous for foot long baleadas, only to find that they didn’t have any (fine with me because my stomach was still hurting like crazy). I just got on the next bus that left for Santa Rosa, spent the night in the PC House and got back to site Tuesday afternoon.
It was interesting getting back to site because I got off the bus and my brother Ramón came running up to me and said, “You were gone a long time!” When I got in the house, my other brothers came right into my room, grabbed the Monopoly board and said, “Finally! Let’s play.” This started a marathon monopoly session that didn’t end until the next day. Maybe I am creating little capitalist monsters...