OR, GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS.
Alert: Another post from a year ago in Mexicos’ Punta Allen. Just shows the completely different and happy lifestyle I had over there in comparison to being in London. My moaning about the trivial was so insignificant in comparison to what I’m encountering here. I rectified the photo problem so I have now put the proper photos in. What a palaver!
Alert: Yesterday capped it all. Went to a restaurant for a humble salad and went to turn my phone on and nada. Blank screen kaput. I’d noticed a small chip in the top corner but surely that couldn’t be it? I’ve seen people with completely smashed screens happily continuing to use them. WTF?! More bad luck? Alkida and I eyed each other, she knew something was up. She looked away hurriedly as dogs do when something is amiss. I am proud to say I, although ready to scream and cry, planned rather than leaving here and going straight to bloody Cancun, and just to put my SIM into my Mexican phone which rather ruined my off-grid plans (tell you later) I asked two very unhelpful people (Utopia comes with its selfish bastards too) then went to my room calmly ready to use iPad and see if I could change me SIMS. In the darkness of the room, I saw a faint background pic on it. Crouching in a dark corner I could just about make out settings and then screen brightness. Boom! All good and I became cautiously optimistic that I could hopefully continue here. Previously I would have wept like a baby but this time I handled it with steely determination. I’m very proud of myself that I’m developing into an even tougher old bird. I still have the photos problem so in this post you will see rather random references til I pull the rein in on these constant phone issues. Bear with me x
I love Punta Allen don’t get me wrong. I’m coming out of a very bad space that only solo travellers know about. I made the huge gamble of booking down here for a month and the very next day of having arrived major works are being done on the villages the main generator. Five fucking days. It’s meant that in my hotel the owner is only prepared to put on his generator from four till midnight. Nothing till four. I am an old bird who loves to rise early and do my writing then, while fresh. I am not a night owl. This has meant all my devices have depleted their batteries by around ten. I’ve made a deal with the restaurant oh so aptly named “Be Fucking Nice” and they have put on their generator which means I can charge AND write AND update work all the time. This new arrangement along with my paying some credit by card so I have money behind the bar. This means I won’t have a cash problem and if their WiFi isn’t working for their card machine they just can take money from what I have put in the kitty. The relief is massive. The whole reason I came here, was to write and edit photos for my blogs and a book I want to put together. The occasional party is great but it’s not my raison d’etre for this retreat. This kind of problem is normal, it happens in Tulum too to a lesser degree and it’s very frustrating.
MOANY VIDEO FROM CARTAGENA IN 2019.
I also want to have enough battery to watch some of my YouTube archaeological documentaries to make notes. I also want to be able to watch some crap too. I really want to use this time to write down my thoughts while fresh, and try to put together the photos. I am so glad that I organised this today when I felt really low and was ready to abort my mission!
Although I was perfectly happy at my hotel it’s become a little user-unfriendly and the mood of everyone is gloomy and tense with the constant rain and the electric not working. My lovely Sonia was not about and I even looked at another place and asked about an apartment. They have solar panels and 24-hour electricity and WiFi which sounded fabulous in the dampened mood. The other place has a garden with grass too which looks nice and shady for when it’s boiling hot. Still pondering it. I was really pissed off by Roseliz’s hotel owner’s attitude. At five-thirty I made the walk back but couldn’t see the guy Israel (who I’d spoken about the apartment and had said the boss would be back at 5). I swerved it and using a bar’s WiFi checked on Booking.com, it was more expensive but could be worth it, as I had a growing antipathy to the once much loved Roseliz.
Back at the ranch, the electric was still not on and I was furious. Finally, David came down at six acting innocent, only to find his generator wasn’t working and he had to have an engineer in. If he had fucking gone to turn it on at four like he was supposed to then this could have been fixed more quickly. My mood got worse. and it was a Sunday when always stuff goes wrong on my trips. Remember the accident?
I’m telling you all this as it just goes to show how dependent we are on these things. I love writing by hand in my journal and all that but alone here when things go wrong it’s a challenge. There are few tourists and the guides are milling around pissed off too. To be honest this romantic idyll only really works when it suits you. If I’d have brought books it would have been better and indeed I have been killing time listening to my ninety-hour epic “Gods of Ragnarok” on Audible. I also have my local library app too for books but all this almost feels like cheating, and still uses battery. Electricity and technology go hand in hand and so with what I wanted to achieve I was stumped. I think we are all spoilt now and only prepare for more modern environments with all the bells and whistles. I see now, am also one of the sinners.
THOUGHTS OF LEAVING THE HOTEL AND AIRING GRIEVANCES.
I told Sonia about maybe moving and what had happened the previous day, this morning, and she was very upset. She also had disappeared from a very bad vibe at the hotel yesterday. I love her to pieces but was told after the event because I was paying a low price that cleaning the room wasn’t included. I felt super affronted this had not been said at the get-go by him. Sonia was sent to do his dirty work. The cleaning of the room takes literally five minutes and I don’t mind doing it myself ffs. It gets dirty immediately anyway due to the sand blowing in. It was the way it was approached that was so unprofessional. When chatting with Sonia I also complained that I said clearly I want to work in the morning and he turns it on at four. I feel that a sensible person would say ok I’ll put it on for two hours in the morning so all his clients could have a little AC and be able to charge their shit too. Also, the customer is always right stupid man.
All the clients are bemused by all these things and there should be signs up. I’ve heard people complaining and they are only here for a couple of days think about my month away. The main electric generator should be back on Wednesday but who knows?! The main part is that when we had shit weather for three days and a shed load of Saragossa loaded up on the beach to pong and make the sea soupy and foul. It would have been a decent thing to be more accommodating about this problem and just put the generator on. Yesterday when writing at ‘Be Fucking Nice’ they put theirs on for me on and were fucking nice. This is the problem with trying to achieve things in a remote place and I’m only feeling better now as the weather is back to glorious again (apparently we were lashed with the tail end of a hurricane)
I’ve always joked with my mate Sam that I could do survival like on those programmes where people punish themselves in extreme conditions. She and I said we would make all these things and build lovely shelters and when we realised how harsh it is in reality we backed off this concept. So it alarms me that here when it’s a lovely place with basic shit you need for a simple and lovely life, I’ve kicked off so badly. I have got silly. This my friends is solo travelling. A few days with the weather shit and restrictions on the electric have made me terribly down in the dumps. I have become snarky and paranoid, thinking now the hotel manager is a shit and possibly saying things about me behind my back. I know this is foolish but it’s just how you get.
I had a humdinger of a hangover yesterday after two guys turned up and although it was raining we went into the sea with swimming dog and beers. Much mirth after me thinking I would weather this three-day storm alone. I will now copy from my journal.
From the journal: DOG DAY AFTERNOON. THE ‘TAIL’ OF THE DROWNING DOG.
A lot of my life now revolves around the dogs. No getting away from it I’m an old mad dog lady. If there were cats here I’d be a mad cat and dog lady. Speaking of which it started raining cats and dogs yesterday and boy we had a storm, a real bobby dazzler.
Alkida the swimming dog stitched me up like a kipper the day before yesterday. She came swimming with me in very rough waves and went to her favourite buoy that’s on a rope. It’s old and full of seaweed and a healthy amount of a slimy goop. She grabbed the rope and at first, I thought she was OK. The huge waves kept submerging her totally and I thought she was in trouble. I went to her to check the rope wasn’t caught in her teeth and boom another wave so I lifted her around her big fat belly and pulled the rope away, foolishly thinking she would be grateful, but no she swam back directly to it. I still wasn’t happy. Was she swimming back to it for safety? In her foggy doggy brain was it her lifeboat? So I grabbed her firmly to take her back and with her big fucking talons she made a gash on my uninjured hand. As I watched her finally get to shore (tail wagging as she swam) she turned to me and grinned. This very intelligent old girl had been joking with me. Although relieved I chided her. Much finger-wagging ensued and still, she grinned and wagged her tail. She had loved it and I clearly was a fool and she had outwitted me. I went to the room my hand bleeding and welts on my legs, now fearful the cut would get infected. I put on hand sanitiser (the only time I’ve ever used it) and some of the stinky eau de cologne that I had bought last time I was here and sort of scrubbed it into my wound for good measure. I came out and there she was I’m pretty sure sniggering at me.
As the rain continued I, still peeved, refused her advances, she still was unrepentant this scallywag of the highest order. Now I tell you this because I had the pleasure of seeing her do it to two new visitors (with whom I got very drunk last night)
They arrived in this constant rain that we’ve had for the last couple of days and we immediately started chatting and drinking, I had been knocking back booze all day after having been dealt the devastating blow that the power station would have works done on it for the next five days so the hotel was only putting on their generator from three till midnight. Kinda the final insult as I like to work in the morning and I can keep stuff charged up for when the WiFi has a stronger signal. Rain and this news had put a bit of a damper on my spirits as had the Russian couple leaving. So the arrival of these guys one of whom is a biologist and the other here to educate the village kids about crocodiles! This very great fun couple, for indeed I thought they were a couple,( just best mates as it turned out) got into the spirit immediately and we all went and drank beer in the sea, in the rain. Alkida the swimming dog came too. Well, what can I say? She made the same drama the as the day before and the bloke fell for it although I explained to him she had done it before. Clinging to the buoy waves washing over her head he was clearly very alarmed saying she must be tired and she was drowning. Well, he wouldn’t listen to me so I stood back and enjoyed the circus. This dog has a great sense of humour. If anyone remembers ‘Deputy Dawg’ she is that in a nutshell. He was basically conned and beaten up as he tried to lift her up out of the water.
Later as we three drunkenly yakked between Spanish and English, a projector magically appeared and it was then I remembered their karaoke threat. On the folded shuttered kitchen screen, they projected old Mexican films with singers warbling their Mexican hearts out me and my mates sang along. Passionate love songs, mariachi’s et al, all the way to a final “I did it my way” (which I told them not to sing if they went to the Philippines as you can get shot for daring to badly karaoke that ballad.)
Staggering to bed I knew that I would not be joining them for their crocodile talk with the village kids.
Now, this morning the heavens again emptied and I drank three cups of English Breakfast tea and lazily made a bowl of instant mash and butter, after shying from the idea of cooking eggs and having a half-decent breakfast, and ate and drank in bed in my sand-covered room with two dogs on the floor and basically, I was wrecked and completely beach bum. I will at some point go swim but I’m very lazy, tired and hungover so bugger it. The sun is out though….
This night of revelry had cost me much. They had brought me great happiness but a dreadful hangover, and they slouched moodily off to the crocodile lesson in the pissing rain knowing that only three village kids were turning up and it was, in the hard cold light of day, well, a washout. Life here is like that. Ephemeral to the end. Passing ships and all that stuff. When you are coming for just two days and you are full of enthusiasm well when you peak too early it’s vile. I felt for them but I really just wanted my bed. I used up my laptop battery on Photoshop and as there was nothing more to do had a siesta. I awoke groggily and started charging my shit but the writing wouldn’t come to me and it was only then lacking inspiration I looked at my journal and was dismayed. Three pages of increasingly incoherent rambling were to be seen and I realised while batting off amorous advances from the straight guy I had gone to my room and written. It would seem an alien had written these spidery words. Oh dear.
THAT’S ALL FOLKS!
Sun glorious sun today and the last two nights I have seen a magnificent fluorescent show at the water’s edge as the little prawns caught in the Sargasso seaweed light up across the waves agitated by the tumbling sea. Like white lightning across the sea in the nearly full moon, they put on such a show that I forgot my bitter and twisted moaning and remembered it’s great to be remote just a little difficult to do this kind of work. Maybe more of a painting trip or building a hut or something.