June 30th, 2011 12:40pm - San Blas=Paradise

On my last night in Thailand in 2008, I lost a sandal. The lost sandal resulted from a cocktail of alcohol, drinking games, and bad decisions. Walking through the streets of Bangkok, I realized how observant people are. Eight people told me, "you're only wearing one sandal," and, "do you know you're only wearing one sandal?" Others pointed to my naked foot and smiled. Yes, I was aware of the situation. I had feeling in my foot. I did know that I was stepping on concrete, trash, and dirt instead of rubber.
The same situation occurred in Panama City. We stumbled out of Luna's Castle at four-thirty in the morning to catch the Jeep. I wore one sandal, a result of alcohol, drinking games, and bad decisions. One of the guys crawled to the vehicle. The Jeep stopped off at a grocery store so we could buy supplies for the three-day trip.
"You should buy food, water, and any extra alcohol you might want," the driver said. "The money you paid for the island includes three meals, but you might want more food to snack on. You'll need to get water, because you can't drink the stuff on the island. They sell beer there, but you might want to take a bottle of alcohol between a couple of you."
When we tumbled out of the Jeep and walked towards the grocery store, the driver pointed at my feet and informed me, "you have one shoe." As if I didn't know.
We loaded up three shopping carts with alcohol and mixers. Everyone was entirely delirious on a half hour of sleep with more booze running through our veins than an anorexic alcoholic on New Years Eve. Seanog put on a Panama hat and pushed the cart around like he was a five-year-old in a bumper car. He ricocheted into shelves and displays. Bags of cookies flew onto the floor and an old woman screamed as he barreled around the corner and almost hit her.
The giant leprechaun surveyed the shit-hill of awesomeness. Bottles of rum, vodka and tequila, cans and cans of beer, Coke, Sprite, and juice completed the alcoholic jackpot.
"Ey, mate, you think we need that much?" Giant Leprechaun asked.
"Ya, we fucking need that much alcohol, ya cunt bag!" Seanog yelled.
"Ya, but, should we get water or something?"
We spent over two hundred and fifty dollars on one two-gallon container of water, three bags of chips, and alcohol. Two hundred and fifty dollars in Panama equates twenty nights accommodation. We were prepared for our three-night trip. Ed saw the cart and said, "maaaaaaaaaatte!"
I was bouncing around on a half hour of sleep and passed out as soon as we got back into the Jeep.
I woke up four and a half hours later, when we stopped near Carti Island to catch the boat transport to Tony's Island. It was magical. I had slept the deep and wondrous sleep of the rum overdosed, and emerged exhilarated and ecstatic. Everyone else hated their lives. 
"How the fuck were you able to sleep through that cunt bag of a ride?" Seanog asked me.
"What are you talking about? It was wonderful! I slept like an overdosed baby." 
"You were in a five-inch space, and we almost died."
"Huh?" I'm quite articulate when I'm still half-drunk.
"Mate, the roads were horrible. There were more potholes in them than smooth parts. It felt like the roads were intentionally shaking around our brain bits and trying to get us to vomit," Ed added.
"I got none of that, I'm telling you, the ride was a blanket of bliss."
"What the hell are you on about? You're one crazy cunt," Seanog said, and walked away, shaking his head.
We caught the boat and pulled up to paradise. Think bathtub-warm water, white sand beaches, coral reef, palm trees, and swarms of gorgeous Israeli women. The droves of Israeli men were alright. They weren't pretty, but they were hairy.
The most lesbian experience I've had was in high school when I made out with one of my friends for thirty seconds for a Cuban cigar. She was forceful with her tongue, and since that night I've been scarred. No more lesbian experiences. However, these Israeli women were supermodels. And they didn't wear bras to support their monstrous bazoombas. They were in the ocean or tanning in bathing suits, or they wore shirts and their nice brown nipples stuck out of their nicely outlined ta-tas. I found myself wishing I had a boob job. A CCCC cup size might compete with these goddesses.
Us newcomers gathered around Tony (Tony's Island), and he laid down the rules. No littering, and don't drown. Tony was actually Jack Sparrow. Jack Sparrow (Tony) told us these rules while he stood in front of the bamboo huts with a bottle of rum in his hand and a toddler holding on to his legs. 
"No running water, we have a generator for electricity. No internet. But we have music!" Jack Sparrow said, sipping his rum.
"My grandfather, he bought this island many years ago. How much you think he bought it for?"
We guessed. Five thousand, ten thousand, fifty thousand, one hundred thousand dollars.
"He bought this island for sixty coconuts!" 
Jack Sparrow wasn't kidding.

June 28th, 2011 10:45am - Luna's Castle and Decisions

Luna's Castle was full of your classic mixed-nut variety of backpackers. Among them, we had an Irish guy who looked like a giant leprechaun on steroids, his friend Seanog, who threw around "cunt bag" like it was a standard phrase in the English language, two Canadian doctors, a guy from Arizona with a great smile, a good-looking black guy from London named Dat, and his skinny white friend who said "mate" every fourth word. Someone would say, "Oy, let's get lunch," or, "Hey, you want me to grab you a beer?" Ed would reply, "mate... maaaaate," and smile. 
After hanging out with him for a few weeks, I was able to distinguish a few of the many uses for the word mate. "Mate" is an appropriate response to relay agreement, excitement and incredulity. It is a term of affection, and can be used in addressing anyone, including a dad, girlfriend's sister, a friend, or the bag lady on the street. "Mate" can be used to get the attention of large groups of people, and for doling out a single beer in a drinking game. It's not as versatile as the word fuck, but "mate" has its uses.
When Dat said he was thinking of going to the San Blas islands off the Caribbean coast of eastern Panama, Ed responded, "mate!" When the Irish lads, Canadians, and Americans (myself included) said we might as well come along, Ed said, "mate! mate! mate!" I don't know if he was addressing individuals, or expressing his excitement in the form of a chant, but at any rate, we went to San Blas. 
The day before we left, we sat at the table sipping on beer while Dat flipped through a Lonely Planet Guide and told us useful things about the three-day trip. 
Dat: "There are almost four hundred islands in San Blas, and most are inhabited by the indigenous Kuna people. The islands are autonomous, so the Kuna self-rule."
Ed: "Mate!"
Dat: "The islands are actually also known as Kuna Yala, after the people that inhabit them."
Ed: "Mate!"
Dat: "It's supposed to be like Caribbean paradise. White sand beaches, warm water, coral reef, and you can walk around most of the islands in five or six minutes. There are a number of islands we can choose from. There are the Carti Islands, Robinson Island, Frank Island... I've heard Tony's Island is a party."
Ed: "Maaaaatttte!"
We went to Tony's Island. We had to be downstairs in Luna's Castle at 4:30am to catch the Jeep, and Seanog thought the most logical course of action would not be to pack and go to bed around midnight after some drinks. The more intelligent decision would be to stay awake. Around the table, we toasted to drinking heavily and not sleeping.
We played fuck the dealer upstairs in Luna's, and when we relocated to the bar downstairs, the bartender wouldn't serve me because I wasn't wearing shoes. 
"But we're in Central America. I haven't worn shoes in days!" I tried to reason with the man. 
He didn't accept my rationality. 
"You cannot be inside the bar without shoes," he said. He was German.
My sandals were three flights of stairs away, and I wanted an alcoholic beverage in my throat immediately. Or at least in my hand. I tried flirting with him. I put my elbow on the bar and my cheek on my hand. I batted my eyelashes. Well, the bar was wet. My elbow slipped off the counter, my chin hit the bar, and in the process of blinking, I lost a contact. The bartender shook his head, and I went upstairs to get my sandals. 
I know that we drank until four in the morning. I know that I woke up in the hostel's staff sleeping quarters at four-thirty. We made the Jeep! It's still a mystery to me why I woke up wearing only one sandal.

June 26th, 2011 6:01pm - June 2011 Quote of the Month

Polly: "Golden Bear, that fish is you. It's extremely long, very large, and looks a bit fucked up."

June 23rd, 2011 4:04pm - Panama City: Round 1

Panama City is at the intersection of two continents and two oceans. This is excellent for various reasons. 1: You can see the ocean from almost anywhere in the city, and 2: Panama is in close proximity to Columbia.
I wanted to travel again, and decided upon Central America, for logical reasons. Flights were cheaper than elsewhere, and I didn't know Spanish.
I'd been looking at flights for a few days and refused to pay the seven hundred dollars roundtrip that appeared to be standard pricing at the time. One night, I had taken a few hits off of Pakistan's joint, and was feeling happy and high. Everything was a little blurry around the edges, and I felt like my tongue was the size of a mammoth's. I found a roundtrip flight for four hundred and thirty dollars, San Francisco to Panama City. Amid overwhelming feelings of joy, I booked the flight. The next morning, I awoke with the realization that there is a Panama City in Florida. Five minutes later, I was ecstatic to find that I had in fact booked a flight to Panama City, Panama. This was a good start.
At the Panama City airport, I wandered in circles like a dog chasing its tail looking for a currency exchange. I never found one, but I did find a bank. When I handed over four US hundred dollar bills, the bank teller pushed them back towards me. I thrust them back at her and insisted, "dinero!" I said the word with such authority that the teller then handed me twenty US twenty dollar bills. I pushed the money towards her again with the confidence of a moron. This shoving of bills across the counter continued until someone with a grasp of the English language explained to me that Panamanian currency is US dollars. My suggestion to anyone traveling anywhere: if you do no other research, figure out what money the country uses, and if there's some historical necessity you should see, like Machu Picchu or the Panama Canal. I am proud to say that upon arriving in Panama, I did know of the existence of the canal. This was largely because I was lugging around a 698 page book that my mom's boyfriend had given me called The Path Between the Seas. In the subsequent months throughout my trip, other backpackers found it amusing to heave the Path up to eye level and read the back cover aloud. Generally, the reader would get three sentences in before two or three people would feign sleep and the rest would scream that they were already bored and to stop torturing them immediately. A few times, one of the guys would walk over to a wall and repeatedly bang his dome into the wood until the reading ceased. For the record, I found it a fascinating book about politics, economy, the French, and the creation of the country of Panama. Plus, if I ever had trouble sleeping on a bus or on a sidewalk, I'd read a third of a page and then swiftly lapse into unconsciousness.
I grabbed my bags and waited at the bus stop outside the airport holding a piece of paper with the name of a hostel that a friend of mine had told me to stay at. Buses came by, I shouted, "Luna's Castle? Casco Viejo! Old Town or something!" at them, and they drove off. Many of the passengers laughed at me as I jogged alongside the bus (not all of the buses actually stop, they just slow down enough to briskly load and unload passengers) with my bag on my back, shouting and waving a piece of paper in my hand. Panama City is so humid that after eleven bus drivers spurned me, I looked like I had just emerged from an Olympic-sized pool of man sweat. I flagged down a taxi driver, who proceeded to drive in circles through the one-way streets of the city looking for the hostel. We circled the same four-block radius in Casco Viejo for forty minutes before I got out, asked directions, and walked.
I marveled at Panama City's skyline, wine bars, upscale cafes, and the ability that resides through all major cities: certain areas smell like the excrement that would result from two thousand eggs shoved up an elephant's ass.
Luna's Castle was housed in an awesome dilapidated colonial mansion. It had everything that I deem important in my traveling life: balconies, hammocks, free internet and water, and $1 beer. 
Within two hours of arriving at the hostel, I had met some Americans, Canadians, Brits, and two Irish lads. I introduced them all to the beauty of the card game Fuck the Dealer. A half hour in, we had twenty people playing around a long table in the central area of Luna's Castle. We invented new rules to the game, the receptionist required we sling booze around our heads every time there was a social, and a twelve-year-old boy traveling with his family looked on in fascination at our progressive levels of intoxication. 
A cool chick from Oregon who was working on a boat from Panama City to Columbia was in town for the night and motivated us to go out downtown. On the ride there, she gave the cabbie drug money and he promised that he'd return. 
"Really?" Ireland said. "You just gave money to a cab driver. A cabbie in Central America. At least have some sense and give him half now and half later." 
The cabbie did return with the drugs, and we relocated to a club. Our group of caucasians was a bit out of place. I was as comfortable as I imagine I would be watching a stripper bathe her child in a vat of sperm. I just didn't know what to do with myself. I can't really dance. All of the locals upstaged me with their swinging hips and their rampant sexiness. If there was a disorder that involved semi-mentally capable adults dancing with autistic capabilities, I would have it. I bumbled along until someone took mercy on me and led me outside. 
The next day, we saw the Panama Canal. For anyone who hasn't seen it, don't get too excited. Remember, I was reading The Path Between the Seas and becoming thoroughly educated on the thirty-four years it took to build the canal and all of the intricacies surrounding the construction. I spewed off facts like an encyclopedia. Granted, I was only three pages into the book, so I had gained these facts from looking up the canal on my phone. I proudly announced little golden nuggets of information like, "some guy swam through the canal in 1928 and had to pay thirty-six cents," and "the canal is forty-eight miles long!" 
While I was largely ignored, I was impressed with my own regurgitated knowledge. I do know that when you get to the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, you walk out in excited anticipation of seeing the canal. You look upon a waterway with a ship in it, and go, huh. I didn't know the answers to the few questions the guys asked me. 
To this day, I have no idea how many kilometers are in forty-eight miles, and for the love of God, I do not know what locks are. 

June 15th, 2011 8:15am - Crazy Bitch vs Psycho Bitch

  • When a relationship ends, a crazy bitch will develop an eating disorder. A psycho bitch will fake a pregnancy.
  • When a guy breaks up with a chick and text messages her a few weeks later saying he's horny, a crazy bitch will text back, your loss. A psycho bitch will sob hysterically for two hours and demand her friend leave the guy she's hooking up with to come over and comfort her.
  • When a guy a girl's interested in visits and has to work while there, a crazy bitch will be mad. A psycho bitch will ignore the dude for hours each day. She'll pretend he doesn't exist and give him the silent treatment. She'll drop him off at her house and leave him there without a word.
  • When a male breaks up with a crazy bitch, she'll post photos of her molesting other men on Facebook. A psycho bitch will set up a fake profile to be her "boyfriend." She will change her status as in a relationship with the phony profile. She will create a boyfriend to make the ex jealous. She may photoshop pictures.
  • When a guy doesn't meet up at a bar he says he might go to, a crazy bitch will be upset. A psycho bitch will cry. In public.
  • When a boyfriend cheats on a crazy bitch, she'll break up with him. A psycho bitch will dye her hair and buy a gun.
  • After a week of dating, a crazy bitch will tell a man that she loves him. A psycho bitch will tell the dude after two days that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. She will then break up with the guy.
  • When a crazy bitch is mad, she will call her boyfriend forty-three times in a row. When a psycho bitch is upset, she will threaten the boyfriend that she will hire an assassin to brutally murder him. She will use that exact phrase.
  • When a crazy bitch gets cheated on, she will put the guy's truck for sale on Craigslist. A psycho bitch will key his car. She may slash his tires.
  • When a guy tries anal sex, a crazy bitch will walk out. A psycho bitch will try to stab the dude with a kitchen knife. She'll justify it by saying that she had two abortions when she was sixteen.

June 5th, 2011 7:50pm - Communicate Instead of Pulling a Crazy Bitch Move... or Not

I loved my college boyfriend, who we'll call Aidan.
Some things you should know: 
  • On our first date we went to an Asian place that served singular dishes large enough to eat dinner and have leftovers for six other meals. I finished my entire meal and the rest of his. He had the good sense to tell me that he was impressed, but the look on his face told me he was disturbed.
  • We did really cool things together, like going to a public execution and accidentally burning holes in the living room carpet by knocking over the hookah.
  • He did awesome things with his wardrobe and appearance, like shaving his head into a mohawk, or wearing a gas station attendant uniform he picked up at Goodwill, and penny loafers with actual pennies in them.
  • He was handy at things, like helping me duct tape cardboard over my car window when it got smashed in, and getting my bike stolen out of his friend's garage.
Every year at USF, the seniors threw a pub crawl. Our senior year, Aidan and I were talking to a girl that we both knew. She said she hadn't known that we knew each other, and he replied that we had dated on and off since sophomore year. This was entirely true. At the time, we weren't even officially together. However, I was stumbling drunk and wanted him to say that we had been together since sophomore year. That would have been a lie, but that's what I had wanted to hear. Because that makes sense. When she walked away, I asked him why he said that.
"What?" he asked.
"Why'd you say that we dated on and off?"
"Because it's true?"
I grunted like an overweight big rig driver and pushed my way back to the bar. And then I did the sensible thing and ordered a triple shot of whiskey. I loathe whiskey. Smelling it makes me gag. I would rather inhale the aroma of my dog's fart. She ate possums on a regular basis. The bartender put the shot on the bar and I snatched at it as if there were sanity in the glass. I downed half the shot and immediately threw up all over the bar. The bartender looked at the vomit leaking over the countertop and pooling around his workstation. He glared at me. I recognized regurgitated sushi. I shrugged, wiped the puke off my mouth, and staggered out into the wet air of San Francisco. 
Aidan followed me. He rationally, calmly, asked why I was upset. Instead of explaining my unreasonable thought process like a normal person, I told him that I didn't want to be with him anymore. He stopped walking and said that it really hurt him to hear that. I repeat: we weren't technically together. However, I was insanely in love with him and wanted to be with him. Thus, I proceeded to inform him for the remaining eighteen blocks home that I didn't want to be with him. Shockingly, when we got to the front of my apartment, he took his hat off and threw it on the ground. He took his sweatshirt off and threw that on the ground. I fantasized that he was going to strip naked and yell, What do you want from me? as the rain started to fall. But he didn't, and there was no rain. He said that he didn't think he was going to come up. I maturely replied that I didn't want him to come up, and he walked off. 
Of course I wanted him to come up. I wanted him to come up and ravage me. Which, weirdly enough, he did the following night. We videotaped for the first time. Communication might just possibly be the important thing here. But more importantly: women are crazy. And men are nuts.