Parties and Pinatas

Hard to believe, it’s our last night in Miraflor.

A last ice-cold cup-shower, standing naked and shivering in the little cement room looking up at jungle trees and turquoise sky, as the dirt of the day washes from my body.

I have never felt more tired in my life. But follow Martina to Marlon’s parents home, across the street. They are incredibly well-off, by Miraflor standards, she tells me.

Martina has brought them a blue plastic water filter, and after kisses and greetings, sets up the terracotta filter and spigot.

Marlon’s mom takes me for a tour of her garden, piles of roses, and the freshly planted amaryllises that line the path to the outhouse.  She gives me the tour, speaking no English, and somehow my exhausted brain pumps out bits of Spanish in response with a series of tired smiles.

When we return Martina is resting in the hammock. She sits up, smiling, “There you are. I’m really impressed, one minute you’re snapping photos, the next minute in the garden I find you laughing and conversing in Spanish–I never have to worry about you. It’s so nice.”

She waves off my excuses that my Spanish is pathetic, “But you try, you’re learning. It’s means more than you think. To them, and to me.”

I appreciate the compliment more than she knows. It’s been so wonderful having Martina as a tour guide, knowing full well she has her hands full with her “day-job” that the last thing I would want to be is a burden.

As the sun sets we feast on a dinner of Myra’s amazing fried chicken with our frijoles and tortillas.

After dinner, fresh lemonade is spiced up with a little rum, the pinata in the shape of a red car, is pulled out and filled with candy, and hung from the living room. Everyone has a turn, blindfolded, spun around and then swinging. When it finally bursts, candy rains from the ceiling and adults and kids dive on the floor in one sweating, laughing mess.

Then the music is cranked up. We all get up and dance, sharing dance moves and goofing off, until we collapse on the living room bench. One happy, smiling heap.

I climb under the mosquito net, guarding my rock-hard bed, one last time. The pig settling down for the night grunts like a frog, being stepped on and sends Martina and I into fits of tired giggles. And, eventually, sleep.