My last night in South America I resided in a mansion revamped in to a hostel called Hostel Espana in Lima, Peru. It resembled an amalgamation between a Spanish mission and Hearst Castle. A marble bust of Michelangelo's David's head - the size of a triceratops - was displayed beside a baroque painting of Jesus carrying the cross, blood enveloping his body like Mexicans eclipse California. Display cases augmented the atmosphere. One enclosed three skulls. Marble statues, Grecian columns, and religious paraphernalia adorned the three winding staircases to the sprawling roof terrace. I emerged on to the roof veranda to encounter potted flowers, growing vines, and three tortoises, each the size of a small child. Two of the turtles were trying to mount the third, one from each side. I imagine a similar scene would ensue if I unleashed Michael Jackson and clone in a five-year-old boy's bedroom. My eyes followed in fascination as the female continually ambled away. She slowly, steadily shambled away. Her leather legs extended from her shell reminiscent of the pace of my eighty-five-year-old grandpa with his walker and step-shuffles. Both tortoises trailed her, back and forth, back and forth across the patio. I observed the pursuit for twenty-five minutes. I had only witnessed determination of this dimension one time a few months before when a guy I met at a bar proclaimed I should leave with him. I was nine shots in and deemed it prudent to issue him a swift kick to the balls. He limped from the bar only to return two minutes later and resume talking to me.
I was settled on a bench with a branch tickling my ear and an older Aussie next to me.
Me (in reference to the turtles): "That's nice. They must love each other."
Forty-Year-Old Aussie: "Ah, those two have been trying to mount that female for days now. I figure it, she's got a slick shell and that's why they can't properly mount her. They just need some leverage."
Following this hypothesis he scooped up one of the males as deftly as Michael Flatley's legs in Lord of the Dance and placed him on top of the female.
Aussie: "I just want to see turtle sex."
Me (laughing): "I've never thought about turtle sex before."
Inspecting the turtles and their shell encumbrances, turtle copulation seemed as difficult as night-vision for the blind.
Aussie: "I really want to see turtle sex. My eighteen-year-old girlfriend would be a lot easier to get to do things... I've been thinking about extracting her teeth."
Me (horror): "Um. What??"
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