July 3rd, 2011 8:27am - Bocas and Ear Piercing

Coke is as rampant in Central America as Spanish speakers are at the Miami, Florida airport. A few years ago, on my way home from Lima, Peru, the swine flu broke out. I had no money because my wallet had been stolen in Nazca, and after three days of whoring myself out to the airlines for housing and food, I found myself on a plane to Florida. Never mind that I needed to get home to California, I was going back to the states. I exited the plane ecstatic to be in my country. I walked into the airport with a smile as large as a vagina during childbirth. Three minutes later, I cried. Everybody at MIA spoke Spanish. Those that did speak English did so with a Spanish accent. I wasn't home, and God was fucking with me.
Drug dealers were everywhere in Bocas del Toro. I was still with the giant leprechaun on steroids, Seanog, Dat, and Ed. The dealer that sold to Seanog our first night then disappeared. Luckily, there was no shortage, and in his place seventeen others approached the Irish guy. I thought Seanog must just look like he wanted Coke, but one of the dealers told me that they could tell he was wired.
"But I've traveled with him for weeks now, and he generally has crazy eyes. It's not that he's on drugs, he's just Irish," I tried to explain. In response, I received raised eyebrows.
Our third night in Bocas, Seanog ran into his dealer from a few nights before.
"Oy, ya cunt bag, where the fuck have you been?"
Seanog displayed wonderfully elevated diction in his everyday speaking tendencies.
"I got in jail," the man replied, looking depressed.
As I later learned, this was a common occurrence. Cops picked up the dealers and threw them in jail, the dealers paid them off the next day, and then reappeared on the streets to sell more drugs, make more money, and continue unsuccessful attempts to avoid the police.
Needless to say, it was the epitome of a backpacker destination. Located on the Caribbean, Bocas del Toro comprised a group of islands with tropical jungle and water taxis to different beaches and islands. Activities included but were not limited to: snorkeling, diving, surfing, partying, and recreational drug usage.
We stayed at a kick-ass hostel and bar called Aqua Lounge. For the extravagant fee of one balboa (aka one US dollar), a water taxi drove us from the mainland of Bocas del Toro to the Isla Carenero. To get from the mainland to the island took probably thirty seconds, maybe one minute. You couldn't really say that Aqua Lounge was necessarily on the island, because it was built entirely over the ocean. We had checked out the website, which boasted "over three hundred movies," "Bocas' only legit movie theater," "custom made professional" beer pong tables, and a trampoline over the water. The website hadn't been updated in about twenty years, because the movie selection had plummeted to about one hundred, of which thirty were scratched or unreadable. The movie theater was one dilapidated couch and an old-school television that I had to squint to see ten feet away. Granted, I'm almost legally blind, but still. The beer pong tables and trampoline were nonexistent. Rumors said this was because drunkards had thrown the tables in the ocean, and the trampoline had collapsed when fifteen backpackers thought it was a good decision to see how many could fit. There were allegedly some injuries. That being said, Aqua Lounge, as Seanog eloquently put it, "rocked my balls." There were hammocks, swings that you could fall off of and end in the water, large holes in the wooden deck that equated swimming pools, and a restaurant that produced good food, and, to my delight, amazing smoothies. Most importantly, Ladies Night was at least twice a week, and we could party and then walk ten feet to our beds. Ladies Night equaled free drinks for a few hours. Free drinks, coupled with the alcohol we continuously bought from Bocas Town, always made for staggeringly good days and nights.
One of our first nights in Bocas, Seanog may have been a wee bit under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances, and decided he wanted his ear pierced. Immediately. A party was in full swing on Aqua Lounge's deck and bar. Instead of trying to find a sober person among the hundred heavily intoxicated, we inspected each other. Dat was deemed the most capable (he was getting his diving certification and thus was slightly more sober than the rest of us). We were on Aqua Lounge's deck, and I ran back to the dorm room to get Dat a needle from a hotel sewing kit.
"I found it in the bottom of my bag, in between my tennis shoes and tampons. You might want to sterilize it or something first," I said as Dat took the needle, shrugged, and shoved it in the top of Seanog's right ear. I finished the sentence as Dat removed his hand to look at the needle still in the ear.
Seanog had been carrying around an earring he found, and gave it to Dat to put in his newly pierced ear. Piercing his ear should have been simple. But the earring he had was four times the width of the needle hole, and was supposed to loop around the top of the ear. Trying to jam the earring in the hole was like watching a black giant trying to have sex with a midget. It just wasn't going to work.
Ten minutes later, Dat had pierced another hole in Seanog's ear, Seanog downed Vodka to drown the pain, and the earring still wouldn't fit. Seanog opened his eyes and sighed.
"Kara, get me a bloody earring, will ya?" he asked.
"Sure. But all of mine have either been lost or stolen in the last month. They're all scattered around Panama."
"Oh for fuck's sake!" Seanog screamed and got up.
He returned twelve seconds later.
"Look, I got this dangly one off some chick. I just showed her my penis."
A few minutes later, and Seanog had a four-inch-long earring hanging from the top of his ear.
"Jesus, man, I don't even wear earrings that heavy. There's all kinds of shit on it weighing it down," I said, after feeling the earring.
"It's alright," Seanog said and poured Vodka all over his ear to clean it.
"It is NOT alright," he yelled and pointed to his bloody ear an hour later. "The fuckin thing is tearing my ear off. I can't even fuckin drink enough, I still feel this cunt of an earring." His finger shook as he pointed. He had crazy eyes.
With a pair of tweezers, I removed all of the heavy, dangly bits and left just the ear wire. When I came onto the deck the next morning, Seanog was climbing up the ladder from the ocean.
"I just jumped in, figured the salt water would keep me ear clean. I got stung by a fucking jellyfish," he shouted.

No comments: