Typical Saturday morning for me, just waking up from the night before but fairly early since I am used to waking up at 5 a.m. for work. It doesn’t take long and the text messages start rolling in, assuming they haven’t already, and the boys want to go to the island. I am a little sleepy but I have nothing planned for the day so it’s settled. I make a few calls to make sure those who want to go and are allowed to go, know to get ready and come meet me somewhere. On this particular day we are on the road to Isla Grande around 8 a.m., with no breakfast and no coffee. We always stop at El Rey in Las Sabanitas to buy groceries and other goodies. This time we were on a budget and we almost always buy too much food and don’t eat it, so this time, we went with the basics, the bare necessities. Rum, coke, beer, ice and ceviche, yum! Told you we were on a budget, I even paid all 4 tolls to and from the island with change, about $10 worth. As I was saying, it’s early, we haven’t had anything to eat and have a long, beautiful scenic drive on a back country road until we park and take a small boat the island. So what else to do but to drink a cold beer right? The drive is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour from the El Rey, then sometimes you have to wait 10 -15 minutes to get on the boat so by the time we arrived to the island I already drank a few beers, and by few I mean more than a few. First thing I do when I arrive to a nice beach, especially here in Panama, is to strip and go for a swim, especially in these calm and clear waters. Mmm, so refreshing and a nice time to take a piss after all those beers! Looking up on the beach, scouting the people and surroundings I notice my friends have already cracked open the 1.75 liter Ron Abuelo bottle, and thus the day begins, drunk at 10 a.m. basking in the sun on the beach. The rum is so good, I never really drank rum before I moved here, it’s cheap, it’s good, and it gives me much pleasure, we love it. So basically we stand in the water, drinking and talking and looking for new friends. There is also a little restaurant beach shack there that we always eat at and they know us there because we are here so often, I always flirt with the black woman that works there, everyone calls her my girlfriend. I told her this last time we were there that my friends call her my girlfriend and give me a hard time and she said people there on the island talk about us too. She asked if she was my girlfriend why didn’t I bring her anything, I said, “like what? Tell me and maybe I will. Chocolate? Flowers? Wine? Imagine what they would say if brought you any of those things!” We had a good laugh over it, and she convinced me and the boys to order a few plates of food, as if it is hard. The food is good and the selection isn’t bad either. I ordered fried fish fillet with fried plantains. Now this isn’t the fastest service in the world but it’s well worth the wait, plus mine is always cooked with extra love. So I’m waiting and I’m still drinking and it’s official, I’m drunk. In fact I’m so drunk it’s time to lay down for a bit, fuck the food! So I lay my little beach mat in the sand, under the shade and try to take a little nap before the food arrives. After about, well who knows really, some amount of time I sit up, knowing I’m going to puke but since I’m too lazy to get up I get the bright idea to dig a hole in the sand there in front of me. I dig out a nice hole and lean over it, trying to not be noticed by all the wonderful beautiful people on the beach, and quietly hurl my beer, rum and ceviche into a hole in the sand and then cover it up. Now I can relax and get some sleep! I lay back down on my mat and didn’t even bother to wipe my mouth off! What woman would NOT want to be with me!? After what I can only guess was an hour or two, I wake up feeling grand and ready to start the day, again…for the second time! It’s almost like a mini-vacation. You wake up to a new day, a new beach with new people that arrived during my sleep slumber self party. I get up and take a seat at our table and try to piece together what has happened thus far. I’m hungry and thirsty and wondering what happened with that food I ordered and waited on for what seemed liked days.
After a few minutes of contemplating what I wanted or was going to do, I moved some of our things around on the table and discovered a plate of fried fish and plantains, could this be mine? Do I even care? I immediately doused the fish with some picante and covered the fried plantains in some ketchup and started eating. After eating I made my way into the warm water of the Caribbean to refresh myself, I felt like a brand new man, a brand new day, I felt grand! It’s amazing how puking, sleeping and eating can revive you, I’m ready to start the day again, for the second time! I love partying twice in one day, makes me feel as if I’m a step ahead of everyone else, at least that is my rationale. So I am awake and alive and feeling good, the party has just begun! It may sound as if we are drunken fools but I assure you we were not the only ones, there were plenty of others who had no problems joining in the nonsense. In fact there was another group of guys and girls, mostly Colombians hanging out and partying alike. One of the guys was going to take 2 of the girls on a ride on the back of a jet ski, well the girls were so drunk I had to help them both get on the jet ski. Once they were safely on I turned around and started to walk away, I got about 15 feet away and heard them fall off into the water, all 3 of them, and the jet ski continued running towards my direction. Not being of sound mind I thought I would jump up and turn the thing off or at least grab it to keep it from driving further away out to sea, it wasn’t going very fast, I probably could have just placed myself directly in front of it and stopped it with my hand. When I jump up to grab the handle bars I must have hit the gas and the jet ski shoots forward for a brief moment but in the process makes a hard turn away from me and the back end of the jet ski smacks the middle of my thigh, it’s a direct solid hit. I immediately squat low in the water in immense pain, I can’t look, walk or talk. I can only moan in my disgust and pain. I knew it was a good one and days later has proven how right I was, I have been tempted to take a pretty picture of this grotesque bruise, but it got me good.
On this day and pretty much every other day in the rainy season, especially in the Caribbean, it begins to rain and everyone on the beach attempts to crowd under the restaurant shack’s covered seating area. I too made my way under the shelter for about 5 minutes until I decided to go for a swim. I always enjoy the rain, plus it makes the ocean feel even warmer, almost like bath water, to the point someone almost has to drag you out of it! Shortly after other people caught on to the idea and started making their way into water. As long as it is not raining so hard that it hurts, I think it’s fun. It’s nice to be somewhere so beautiful that your only worry is the rain, and even then you don’t care enough to worry but only enjoy your surroundings and the blessed day you have to live, enjoying another day in your life. About an hour and a half of steady rain it all comes to and end and the skies begin to clear for a late afternoon shine just before the sun begins to set, another marvelous beauty. It’s been a long day and we have about a 2 hour drive home in the dark, but it was well worth it and will no doubt be repeated in the very near future. The more I look back and think about my day and waking up just to puke in my self-made sand hole, cover it up and to go back to sleep again the more proud I am and was the very reason to write this story.