Today started out like any other day…
Does any story starting with that line ever finish with, “and then it ended just like any other day?” No. No, of course not.
Today started out like any other day. Oksana got up early for her four-hour, one-on-one Spanish lesson and left me sleeping in bed. I woke up an hour or so later and went about my normal routine. A few pushups, a few sit-ups, I grabbed a quick shower. I was out the door at 10am. After a week of classes, I had finally been invited to meet her instructor.
The streets in front of the language institute were crowded because today was a big day for all the local boys and girls. School after school paraded their children in front of the judging stands set along the parade route. The girls, no matter how young, were decked out in provocative mini-skirts and cleavage-bearing tops, while the boys were sharply dressed in 3-piece suits. Hundreds (if not thousands) of drums and xylophones played the same song, mostly in synch, as the boys and girls marched, mostly in step.
I didn’t so much meet Oksana’s instructor as say hello and then stand behind her for 40 minutes. It was impossible to talk over the marching music.
Afterwards, Oksana and I went back to the hostel to check our email before lunch. The women that run the rooftop cafe during breakfast were rendering sugarcane syrup on the stove and, like magic, dozens of bees had found their way into the glassed-in room. While uploading some photos to Facebook, one stung me on the Achilles tendon. It was a completely unwarranted attack; I was sitting perfectly still! I flicked the bee off and removed the stinger within five seconds. It throbbed for 10 minutes or so, but that was about it.
We decided to leave the beehive and go get some lunch. We walked the four blocks to Cafe Pan Rico and sat down in the empty cafe. I had a banana batido (basically a warm, banana-flavored milkshake) and a nice fruit bowl, covered in yogurt and granola. Oksana opted for just a blackberry batido. We stopped by the market on the way back and bought a couple of deep-fried banana and cheese empanadas, too.
I was feeling sleepy, so I convinced Oksana to take a nap with me. She agreed, so we stretched out in bed and tried to ignore all the street noises coming from beyond our window. The maid hadn’t cleaned our room yet, so we knew that we’d be woken up by a knock at the door before too long.
And, an hour or so later, that’s exactly what happened. There was a knock at the door and I jumped up to get it before she had a chance to barge in on us. Oksana stayed in bed, awake, but feigning sleep.
I answered the door; there were two cute maids looking up at me (I stand a full head taller than most women around here.)
“Would you like your room cleaned?” she asked. Or at least it was something very similar to that, just in Spanish.
“No, not today, I don’t think.” I reached around to the hooks on the wall and put my hand on two wet towels. “But maybe we can just change the…”
I guess that’s when I passed out.
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