So with this in mind, I will do my best to paint for you the picture of my experience here.
Along this stretch of coast line is a string of small beach towns, most a few kilometers apart, all of which are very similar and yet very unique in their own respective ways. And I happen to find the most appeal in the town I've been staying in. It comes dangerously close to my idea of perfect, as though it were cast from the mold formed in my mind before I left Alaska when I pictured a future ideal happy place.
The temperature hovers around 25 and 28 degrees Celsius depending on the time of day or night. Whales are a more common sight than clouds. Since I arrived I've traded in my double kneed Carhartts for a pair of cut off jean shorts, my boots have yet to leave my backpack, and a shirt is more trouble to put on than it's really worth. All those winters in Alaska that I hungered for sun shine and warmth have become a distant memory. I'm making up for lost time. And it's wonderful.
It's a very international place, filled with 20 something transients from all over the world (including 3 other Alaskans so far). I can sit in a coffee shop and hear a half dozen different languages at any time, unfortunately this has been a set back in my spanish, as nearly everyone here reverts to english unless speaking with a local. But it's fun to interact with such a wide variety of accents and cultures, and the women...my god at the women...it's as if there's a mystical funnel channeling the most beautiful females from every country on the planet to this one location for the sole purpose of doing nothing but having a good time. With such a transient population, there is a constant stream of new faces, people show up and people leave. Some I make friends with, and when they go away I make new ones. Some we agree to meet again down the Road somewhere, others we don't even bother remembering each others names and if we end up in the same bar again one day will likely have a beer together again.
There's a hostel on the beach, with a covered cafe used by many of us as a hang out of sorts. It has wifi that works when it wants to, and the staff doesn't seem to mind loiterers enough to run us off. Two or three times a week they clear some of the tables and chairs off to the sides, bring out a projector, and show public movies. Most are in english with spanish subtitles, so with my limited access to pop culture of any kind, I've gotten to see some recent American films I've never even heard of. They cost nothing to attend.
Every few days the commercial fisherman here go long lining for sharks, and running their skiffs high up onto the beach, they stack the corpses like cord wood to be gutted and hack the fins and faces off; all to the mixed horror and fascination of foreign onlookers with no prior exposure to such butchery. You don't have to look very hard to find disgusted vegetarians remarking on the evil and morally bankrupt fisherman. But it's all in ignorance. All they see is blood and death and carnage. They lack the perspective to see them as hard working men feeding their people by harvesting the sea. It's just hard for me to not jump in and sling dead sharks with them.
I'm putting together some ideas to try and keep myself fed while in Latin America. An American friend of mine has been teaching me to read tarot cards, and with a little more work, I could easily busk in the bigger tourist towns. I'm also looking into investing in some amber to carry south where it's more expensive. All I know is I need to get something going. Nobody likes a broke gringo.
I hope I've done an at least half decent job of depicting my recent surroundings. I could go on and on of course, but I have to stop at some point and go hunt down a beer. Writing is thirsty work I tell ya.