on the scene in Nicaragua
by, 18-08-2011 at 02:00 PM (442 Views)
I find myself up at 4:58 in the morning listening to a Whitney Houston song randomly (or is it?) on my mp3. “It’s not right, but it’s ok” she sings. I find a necessary maternal comfort in this tune. Funny the things we cling to in desperate times of extreme discomfort. I look around the room my girlfriend and I attempted to spend the night in. The perfect little place to commit a murder or do some heavy drugs (or both, not necessarily in that order). It’s more like a cell then a room, and there‘s a duality to that….it breathes….it coughs…it sweats. And to think this was the better of the two previous hostels we checked out before dragging ourselves, against our better judgment, into this godless void. But I digress, allow me to continue my description of the oubliette*, painted in a pleasant penitentiary yellow (however I suspect the original color was white), complete w/ lubricious stains tattooed (or tabooed) to the walls around the “bed”, looking like shadows that forgot to leave with there counterparts…or refused. A small dirty fan swings from the ceiling by it’s exposed wiring , perpetually on (if there’s an off switch I can’t find it). it oscillates with an abrasive, bombastic, life mocking rhythm that reminds me of a an industrial band from the early 90′s; this kept us up half the night -until the power went out- then the humidity kept us up the other half . Then just as we fell into a sickly sweet, feverish state of fear induced coma , the power returned…upset, as if it forgot something (in the same overly dramatic fashion that your dorm mate from freshmen year use to do) and “Nine Inch Nails” resumed with renewed intensity!!! That’s when I had the bright idea of stuffing toilet paper in my ears, I shared some with my girlfriend shocked at how easily she went along with this quick fix (her compliance to my everyday, anxiety driven improvisations is usually how I gauge my sanity).
“It’s not right, but it’s ok.”
The bathroom is open and conveniently part of the “cell”, an intimate arrangement for travelers when staying in a country where dysentery is often ‘what’s on the menu’. The toilette is seat-less and in the corner, as if punished for showing up to class without it. Across from the “porcelain dunce” is a garden hose…I mean “shower”. I’m not sure if my girlfriend and I have made it to this level of “sharing” yet.
“It’s not right, but it’s ok.”
So now I’m up, bags packed, showered, high as a freshly hung piñata from the Central American version of Dayquil I’ve been popping like lemon drops (they win!), and ready to get on a bus and go. Not to long ago we could have just crossed the border for 24hrs (and a small bribe) then crossed back; this act was fittingly called “night of the dog”, ‘but the rules have changed’ my girlfriend informs me, or rather, they have rules now. Still I’m up and ready to go, go, go! “let’s go get breakfast!” I say to my half asleep angel of the morning, looking at the spot on my wrist where I’ve never worn a watch for effect. This is shot down like a scud by an expatriate missile. She’s been here before and knows Nicaragua’s modus operandi , it’s inner workings, what makes it tick even. It just so happens that she was dropped of by a bus here 2 years prior at this same idle hour , on this same idle block, and assured me that even the cocks don’t crow till sometime after 9am. I collected myself, sat on the bed, legs crossed and rocking, beginning a new mantra in my head, of all the curse word’s I’d ever heard, in a few different languages, some in languages of my own invention; words that sounded really exotic and really bad, reserved for situations such as this. Picture a bodhisattva with Tourette Syndrome.
So here I sit now up against a greasy, nicotine stained wall listening to Whitney exclaim over and over “It’s not right, but it’s ok.”, soon to be drowned out by my new mantra of “must stay clean, must stay clean…” as I rub my hands together in a deluge of antibacterial soap with religious fervor. Reading the bottle over and over, like a prayer. Reading interesting facts aloud (I only know this by my girlfriends “if you were closer I’d kill you” glares, I don’t feel bad, I’m dropping knowledge), “kills 99.09 percent forms of bacteria…!?!” I feel ripped off, what about that .01% that could very well be sharing this room with his pals H.I.V., Syphilis and me!!! “If I ever make it out of here, mark my words, I’m going to invent a soap that sole kills that 0.01 % of the microscopic terrorists that hold us now captive!” At this last manic outburst, my girlfriend lets a soiled pillow fly, knocking the bottle out of my hands and the headphones off mi cabeza.
“it’s not right, but it’s ok.”
* oubliette : a dungeon made so that the only way in or out is through a trapdoor at the top.
[ Early 19th century, French: oubler: forget, Latin- oblitus, past participle of oblivisci ]