Margaritas and Sunsets

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At 5pm sharp, margaritas are served on a hilltop overlooking the sea. For guests this is a good opportunity to take time-lapse pictures of the setting sun and admire the toucans that normally hang out in a tree above the little bar. For me, it’s a chance to speak English. I’m now thinking in Spanish and, as it’s well rusty, my inner dialogue is so utterly banal, I’m boring myself stupid. The guests tend to be interested (in nature I mean, not me!), appreciative, well-travelled, and mainly, but not exclusively English-speakers. They are generally dressed in good quality safari gear. On the whole they are, naturally, perfectly happy with their own company, and I don’t like to interrupt – except to say ‘actually, that’s a parrot’ or ‘I wouldn’t go down there if I were you’.

In Walden, Thoreau writes: “Men frequently say to me, ‘I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks’ . . . I am tempted to reply to such, ‘This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? Is our planet not in the Milky Way?’. . .” etc.

I suppose I could try that.

My friend used to be up here to meet and greet the guests. Inevitably he was asked every night,  ‘What’s it like living in paradise?’, to which he, who’s seen his fair bit of this, that and the other, would reply ‘Wonderful’.

I generally sip a guanabana margarita, take in the scene, and chat to the bar staff. Alonso shows me his puma video, recorded on his phone. He bumped into the puma on the track to the farm a couple of afternoons ago. It’s pretty good, remarkably steady considering the puma was eyeing him from a nearby thicket, and I particularly like the bit where the puma strolls off into dense forest and Alonso follows. At least, for  a bit.

I stroll back down the track to the beach, listening for cracking twigs, and along the beach in the last light. I sit on the steps with a beer – with ice, from a cooler full of it, that’s been left at the house – and listen to the waves. For all the noise – waves, frogs, nightjars, inside the house seems very quiet, so I fire up the iPod and read about murder in the USA. Song of the day: Peter Frampton, Baby I love Your Way. ‘No-one to relate to ‘cept the sea’.

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