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.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I love that the bartender was German.