Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Jesus Lizard, Part 17 -- The Hangover

I remember very little of the night spent at Cha Creek -- between the shots of Tequila chased by Belikin beers I was in no shape to recall much. Here’s what I do remember. Cha Creek sported an open air dining room -- it had a grand thatched roof and there were long tables and for some reason I remember lots of twinkling little candles. That night was our last night with London so we toasted him at dinner and I gave him a t-shirt and a fat envelope with his tip. I don’t remember dinner, but I do remember things deteriorating after everyone over the age of 50 went to bed. Cha Creek’s owner was a big burly British expat, and I got the feeling that every night was a party for him. We all got very loud. Really loud. The lights twinkled, the tequila kept flowing, and I think the howler monkeys might have shown up with brass instruments around midnight. One of the Mayans who began the night as a waiter, ended the night as my confidante. He sat far too close to me and asked me where my husband was? I told him my Boyfriend was back in the States and that I missed him terribly. I must have told him why my Boyfriend didn’t come on the trip -- because Significant Others weren’t allowed to travel with staff back then, if he had been my Husband, it would have been all above board, but he was just a Significant Other, and that wouldn’t look right to the older, conservative folks. So he stayed behind and I was damn mad about it. Whatever else I confessed to him I have no idea. Perhaps he’s blogging about it right now, in Spanish.

At some point. Rockbottom came up to the party and told us all to shut up and go to bed. Seriously. She was in her pajamas and hiking boots, and she was flanked by two other old girls, not Jeanne of the CIA -- come to think of it, Jeanne might have been drinking with us, but don’t hold me to that. There we were, living La Dolce Vita, and Rockbottom said we were keeping her up. The Brit who owned the place laughed in her face. He told her, “This is my place and I’ll stay up as late as I want and be as loud as I want.” Well, Rockbottom and her little army turned on their heels and stomped back out into the darkness. The howler monkeys struck up a hot rendition of Miles Davis’ So What and I think I might have told Nigel, “You know, when I get back to the States, their gonna fire me for this!” The last thing I remember is the Mayan walking me back to my cabana, where he lit my oil lamp and told me good night.

Morning was a horrible shock. The Belizean sun poured into my cabana and I sat on the floor of my white stucco shower and let the water beat on my head for a good hour. I was hoping I might just be washed down the drain because I didn’t want to face the day.  We were to canoe the Macal River to San Ignacio and the thought of paddling down a river in my condition was most discouraging. Nigel rapped on my cabana door, “Wolfy! Up and At ‘Em! We’ve got to get all those canoes down to the river!”

“Yop . . . I’m coming Nigel . . . ”

“You alright?”

“I’m trying to transcend this feeling Nigel. If I can transcend then I’ll make it.”

“What?”

“Never mind Nigel. I’ll be dressed in a jiffy!”

Nigel knew damn well how sick I was. So he was having a little fun with me. We carried ten canoes with all the gear down to the water’s edge. The howlers were up in the trees, “Man, dig that girl Wolfy, she’s gonna canoe the Macal today and she ain’t got no sleep!” I looked up at the howlers and smiled, I thanked them for the good jazz the previous night, “Any time Wolfy, any time!”

The peanut gallery arrived at 9 a.m. sharp. They were full of piss and vinegar. They saw the green cast on my face and Rockbottom led the charge, “Miss Wolfy, we got absolutely no sleep last night because of your bad behavior!”

“Tell me about it Rockbottom, I think we’re in agreement for the first time in our acquaintance.” I handed her a paddle and bit my lip. There was fire in her eyes, the marquis on her brow said “Off with her head! Off with her head!”

We got everyone paired off in their canoes and Nigel put me in the front of his canoe, “There’s some extra lemonade in our canoe Wolfy, just for you, with a little hair of the dog. You sip, enjoy the ride, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

I wanted to die on that canoe trip. Really, I sipped my lemonade, paddled enough for appearances, and occasionally looked back at Nigel with a pleading gaze, “Just dump me in the water Nigel, feed me to the piranhas.” But he just smiled and told me to keep drinking my spiked lemonade.  We came upon a bat cave along the river and sat idle at the great dark entrance for lunch. Remember, caves are portals to the underworld according to the Mayans. I stared into the cave, the sun glinted off the river, Nigel told everyone of the thousands of bats that lived deep in the caverns and emerged every night. I wondered if I had seen the bats the night before . . . had the bats taken me dancing? Was that why I felt so horrible? That was it, I had been dancing with vampires all night. I was delirious. The shores of San Ignacio couldn’t come too soon.

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