Avec glasses!

Tuesday 10 January

There is no such thing as platonic friendships.  Just thought I’d share that pearl of wisdom with you.  After having the debate over dinner with my amigo, and indeed after arguing the point with many a doubting Thomas, it’s about time it was put to bed once and for all.  “I’m just going to speak to my friend” a girl trills in San Juan Del Sur.  She then skips across the road to throw her arms around a local guy who she’s known for all of half a day.  With her arms hugging his neck, I notice his hands are all over her bum.  Now call me a prude, but I can’t remember the last time I put my hands all over a friends arse.

In my opinion, girls are pretty naive if they think that most of their guy ‘friends’ have never thought about them in ‘that’ way.  You’ve either done it, thought about doing it, or one of you wants to do it.  How many of those mates could you guarantee wouldn’t jump you given half the chance?  Not many I’m betting.  We’re biochemical programmed to desire sexual interaction.  Men and women can never be real friends.  Fact.  Yes I’ve pretty much thought about most of my female friends in a sexual way at some point.  Either that or something has happened between us.  Or I’ve been knocked back and shot down in flames.  It’s usually the latter.  I’m betting my bottom Cordoba I’m not alone.

Incidentally the nail varnish was for my guitar.  The Nicaraguan sticker is wearing away with the strumming.  I figured a coat or two of varnish would protect it.  I’ll give you an update on this riveting story as it unfolds.

My glasses have arrived.  Costa Rica tomorrow.  Words cannot describe the sudden burst of freedom that overtook me when I raised the new lenses to my eyes.  There is no longer anything to hold me back in Granada.  My travels, my journey, this story…it all begins again in ernest with first light.

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Sans glasses

Monday 09 January

Well there’s a turn up for the books.  No glasses today either.  What a surprise.  In fact there is a chance that they won’t be ready until Saturday.  With Tina’s indispensable help, she manages to persuade the assistant to ensure they are in the shop by tomorrow afternoon.  Of course this means I won’t be leaving for Costa Rica for another day.  That’s IF the “promised” glasses arrive at all.

I’m learning to take the rough with the smooth on this trip, and spend another day chilling out in Granada.  I’m bored to death of Granada.  I WANT MY GLASSES BACK GODDAMN IT.


Got a bit carried away.

Seriously though it’s another nice afternoon.  I buy some cotton buds, nail polish and face scrub.  I feel totally alive.

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Sunday 08 January

OK I’m literally going to rub it in by saying I’ve had another massage today.  This was followed by a three hour workshop on how to make chocolate, which included making my own chocolate bar with coffee beans and almond shavings. MMmmmmm…coooffffeeeee beeeannnss…

We’ve arrived at Granada’s famous chocolate museum.  This is also home to a spa and luxury hotel.  Another day of pampering awaits.  The massage is somewhat rougher than I’m used to.  she throws me into all kinds of crazy positions and appears to be enjoying herself while she’s at it.  I’ve gone to the only sado masochist in Nicaragua.  Actually that’s almost definitely not true.

I become aware she could potentially snap my spine or tear a limb off.  I’m also aware she’s getting dangerously close to smacking my balls when she’s doing that vigorous choppy hand thing on my thigh.  I say close, I actually mean she karate’s my left testicle, sending my leg high into the air with a howl of pain.  I nearly put her grinning teeth out.  “Lo sciento” came the mumble response.  “I’m sorry”.  Yes.  Sorry for permanently damaging my ability to have children.  Thank goodness she didn’t ask if I wanted a happy ending.  That would have given new meaning to ‘ripping the head off it.’

Feeling an odd mixture of pleasure and pain, I make my way to the chocolate workshop Tina and myself have signed up for.  It’s a fascinating, thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, and one of the nicest things I’ve done since coming to this country.  Forget trying to swim with fish or throw yourself down a volcano; learning how to make chocolate is the way forward.  This is my kind of tourism.  Safe, tasty and reassuringly dull.

No, no, no…I do the day an injustice.  It genuinely was lovely.  One thing that I didn’t grasp however, was how even relatively close to the cocoa bean source, Hershey’s chocolate is still shit?  Apparently Nestle invented milk chocolate too, and that still tastes like pig swill.  I’m afraid the kings of coco for me forever remain the Belgians, with the Nicaraguans a close second, and Mini Eggs bringing up the rear.  It’s a question of light verse dark really.  Chocolate racism.   I proudly place the fruits of my labours into the fridge to collect in the morning.  Cadbury eat your heart out.  With a bit of luck, tomorrow I will be the proud owner of chocolate and sight.  Together at last.

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T+3 no drink and smoking

Saturday 07 January

So it appears to be going pretty well.  I have managed to last three days without having a drink or a smoke.  I’ve overloaded myself on healthy food and fruit smoothies.  I have a lovely companion in the shape of a Dutch girl called Tina to hang around Granada with.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the horses are pooing in the streets.  It’s a beautiful day.  Now all I need is my sight.

Except it isn’t there today either.  It will be here on Monday apparently.  It looks like our plan to head to Ometepe isn’t going to happen.  I’m a little upset by this, as I have wanted to go to the volcanic island for some time.  However I feel I have spent far too long here, and I need to change country.  With a new country comes new karma, and I’ll start to enjoy myself again.  Life has become a little stagnant and I’ve caught the tickle of homesickness more than once.  I attribute this to the fact that I need a change of scene and nothing more.  Nicargua has not been kind; I’m not hanging around to see a volcano in a lake.  I’ll just do it next year.

Another much needed detox day full of doing very little.  I’m aware things have become a little boring for the time being.  I’ll try and come up with a kidnapping, trafficking, sex slave expose during my journey into Costa Rica.  Fear not dear readers, trouble and adventure always seems to find me.  This is the calm before the storm, and those are dark clouds on the horizon.

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Friday 06 January

The plan is to pick up my glasses, then head to Ometepe for some much needed R&R.  The specs are not ready yet.  The driver didn’t come down and will arrive tomorrow.  Mañana, mañana.  Always mañana.  Who would have thought that it would all go so smoothly?

As luck would have it, this typical twist of misfortune actually turns out to be a blessing.  A wonderful day is spent eating amazing food and getting pampered in a spa.  I have the best massage I’ve ever received, and I treat myself to a facial.  Yes that’s right; a facial.  Where they scrub you and smooth all kinds of nice things into your skin, while you lie there and listen to soothing, twinkly music, with cucumbers on your eyes; and you do your best not to fall asleep because you’re so relaxed yet you’re loving it too much.  A facial.  And I’d do it again.  Maybe even tomorrow.  And I might get a pedicure.  Maybe even a manicure.  Actually I draw the line at a manicure.  I’m not a big girls blouse.

After lunch, I’m starting to get my old self back.  The one who doesn’t feel like a half shut penknife, or suitable only for pouring down a drain.  I’ve stopped quivering and shivering too; I can just about hold my hand level in front of me.  I’ve come to realise that not shaking is a useful skill to acquire.  Especially when playing pool for money.  And shaving.  And building a house made out of cards.  Epic win.

Time will tell if I can keep it up.  The odds are stacked against me, considering I really want a drink.

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The stages of recovery

Thursday 05 January

…this morning.  Yes I’m still awake as I bundle myself into a taxi.  I can’t be bothered waiting on a shuttle, or risking the chicken bus with potential kidnappers, considering the state I’m in.  It’s time to get out of this crazy place and crash into a quiet hostel in Granada, ready to start some clean living, away from smoking, drinking, hedonism and debauchery.  I should start a charity sweep stake to see how long I’ll last.

It doesn’t take too long to change cities, considering I’ve closed my eyes in San Juan Del Sur and opened them in Granada.  I’m due to meet a rather nice friend of mine at five, as we are planning on going to Ometepe island tomorrow.  I stagger into a lovely hostel, recommended by a fellow traveler, throw some money on the counter, my bags by a dorm bed, and wipe out on the top bunk fully clothed; my last fading action with shaking hands to set my travel alarm for 4:15pm.

Awaking with the persistent beep of my clock, my face melting off and clothes sticking to greasy skin, death should be an option.  I really can’t face doing anything else, yet somehow I manage to stick my head under a cold shower and wash away some of the redness in my eyes.  It’s a pretty horrific sight in the mirror.  I’ve aged in San Juan Del Sur.  I examine the condition of my skin, which has always been pretty bad, but I can only attribute this devastation to the amount of toxins in my liver.  My system is screaming for a fruit smoothie at the very least.  Then laser skin surgery when I reach Columbia.

For now though I’m happy to put some distance between myself and the ‘bad things.’  Every passing moment is a victory for mind, body and soul.  As the seconds tick by, eating well, drinking fruits and not putting anything nasty in me, I can feel my body recover, my skin thankful I’m finally listening to it.  They say you are what you eat and drink; in the past few weeks I’ve turned into a bottle of Flor De Cana and a pork burrito.  I’m focused on this change, because I jest not when I say San Juan Del Sur would have killed me if I remained any longer.  However I may have to take a little blame for some part in my own demise.

Somehow I make it to our meeting point and wait for an hour.  Here we go again.  I try to make my smoothie last, but I can barely keep my eyes open anyway.  I don’t have my contact lenses in, I’m wearing really dark glasses, I have a killer hangover and my friend has decided not to show up.  When I return to the hostel and demand suitable excuses via facebook, she infroms me that she was just running late.  It’s not all doom and gloom is it?  What was I saying about the glass half empty?  I definately need to change down a few gears.

We spend the evening doing exactly what I need to do; nothing.  Goodnight.  Perhaps a better version of me will emerge from the cocoon tomorrow.

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