The Devil's Elbow
Trip Start Dec 07, 2011
48Trip End Ongoing
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I am three months into my travels and I am still not happy with the packing process. Each time we come to move on and pack our clothes it’s the same questions: where does this go? Do I really need this? How the hell did that get into there? Isn’t that illegal? I make a promise to myself each time to offload stuff at the next available post office but when the opportunity arises…hmm, 'But I may need that!’ ‘What if this happens and I’ve sent that home?’ ‘It might snow!’ having gone through the full ritual each time I decide not to send home that first edition of Shakespeare’s Complete Works, Volume 1-7 (the expurgated version), hold onto the boomerang (you just never know) and put that Swiss Army knife with 6523 implements back into the dark recesses of the rucksack only to be discovered during the next flid fit
Mind you it doesn’t stop me whinging about the heaviness of the rucksack or how it must be damaging my knees or how quickly the sweat builds up in the crack of my arse (2m 22s) is the best time so far) but it does remind me of the alternative lifestyle that I left back home in England beating up patients on the treatment couch...I mean tending to my dear patient’s needs. Each day really is a new day. I think for the first time I have really bought into that concept; up until recently I thought it was the biggest pile of do-doos I have ever heard of but now the daily routine is as varied and unpredictable as the global economy.
To day, for an instance, we left the mountains of San Jose Del Pacifico and headed for the seaside; not Butlins or Blackpool mind you but ‘hippy-ville’, Mazunte. We had aimed to arrive there for the new-year but we nipped over to Cuba instead. The word ‘nipped’ seems perfect although it meant something quite different in England for example, I would nip down the road to Tescos or the local coffee shop. Everything changes when you travel independently including context.
The journey to Mazunte would have taken three hours because the road is even more convoluted than my own intestines
So far as the journey was concerned I should have been a little suspicious when he offered me a four point seatbelt, helmet and neck brace and I definitely regret not taking the sea sickness pills. He also offered me a cross but I think that wasw just a little devlish of him. It’s very hard to get off a minibus that’s rolling around the corners on two wheels; in fact he spent most of the time on two wheels whether he was braking accelerating or cornering. It did look pretty impressive on those few occasions I did not have my head in my hands or between my legs kissing my arse goodbye.
But as with all things there are highlights and positives. For example: whilst driving the minibus around the corner on the wrong side of the road he would casually hang his left elbow out of the window whilst on the phone to Lucifer discussing something to do with having found new souls and smiling in the rear view mirror at the same time…at me! He kept on talking about the ninth gate though I never saw the first eight on the mountain road so I guess we still had some way to go. So as you can imagine I was quite impressed by his multi-tasking skills. Although I think assistance from the Prince of darkness is a slightly unfair advantage. I wish I had taken a video in between vomiting into the rucksack. I’m not so sure the wider public would believe me without that vital evidence but I take comfort from you, the reader, that you have faith in my obituary…damn (don’t mention damn with Lucifer around, It might encourage him too much). I meant to say blog not obituary; it’s all the excitement of the journey you see!
Whilst we are on the subject of vomiting and the over stimulation of my alimentary canal I did have time to notice, in between the sways of the minibus, small little wooden shacks the size of porta-loos, randomly perched on the grass verge overlooking and often overhanging the cliff edge. Most had a vague sense of dignity for the occupant with some panelling to surround them but most were more of the alfresco type which, in fact, provided a very nice, unobstructed view when you were sat down on the pan; coincidentally, it works for the passer by as it is easier to look over the shoulder of the occupant rather than around the hard wooden walls of a toilet – everyone’s happy. Communal crap houses, just like the Romans! It was very tempting to spend a little time there myself unfortunately the devil’s chauffer was on a mission so it was just the rucksack and me.
There was one aspect of the journey I had time to contemplate. As we slid from one side of the minibus to the other side of the minibus my lower abdominals were working nearly as hard as my anal sphincter, and fortunately, more effectively than my gastric sphincter which was failing abysmally (it really had lost the plot). Its times like this I wish I was a cow with four stomachs which on one hand could mean copious amounts of puke leading to projectile vomiting but I suspect cows have far greater dignity than that – ah I’m ruminating. Let’s get back to the action! Where was I? Ah, yes abdominals. As each corner approached the muscle would involuntarily brace as my torso whiplashed to one side and then the other; in double quick time head-butting each adjacent passenger: brace – whiplash – head-bang – brace – whiplash and so on. Bloody exhausting! And the disappointing part with all that exercise…you know, abdominal work outs for a solid two and a half hours…no soddin’ six pack at the end to show for all that effort. Life can be so unfair!
So you can imagine my reaction at journey’s end when the driver ask for a tip…well, actually I was impressed that despite his lack of consideration toward his passengers on the journey he was very astute at reading my facial expressions and body language. As a consequence his hand disappeared quicker than a virgin’s dignity in a knocking shop.
In all, we had dropped about 6000ft in height, gone around a million bends, filled my rucksack up three times over, seen a rise in temperature from 65 ̊C to 90 ̊C, managed to hang onto my soul although lost most of my stomach lining and all in a day’s travel. Not bad, eh!