Published: May 30th 2012May 30th 2012
This will be a short one.
I am bartending in Mancora again. It is completely amazing. Basically, we all work 3 or 4 five hour shifts a week, and for that we get free accomadation, free breakfast, free lunch, and 40% off our drinks and any other food.
Working does not feel like working. Most of us are behind the bar when we're not working, just helping out for fun. The days I don't work I feel quite lost, honestly. I mean, where else do you have a job you're encouraged to drink? Or a place where you can meet, chat with, and befriend every single person? I meet new people every night who are from different countries, but more so, different walks of life - but we all have this commonality! You can call it traveling but it's truly so much more. It's just some sort of spark we all have.
Pirate night, 3 nights ago, was pretty epic. It basically turned into psychedelic pirate night - so pirates with amazing paint all over. Following last blog's topless story, I found myself the only topless girl just 2 nights after the first time. Prior to this trip I'd only been topless in public once, which was at a nude beach in Vancouver.
Last night wasn't a crazy night (oh lord, the non-crazy nights here mean in bed by 3am with only five or six 630mL beers...), but I had my first power hour. For anyone who doesn't know, power hour is a shot of beer every minute for an hour. Oh boy, it was pretty epic. Almost the whole hostel got involved in this insanity, which wound up being 4 LARGE beers a person within an hour. We went through 60 or so beers. (Side note: On pirate night we did super happy hour - for about $8 you got unlimited vodka or rum for an hour. With 14 participants, we polished off 11 whole bottles.) In the end, I wound up spending the night hanging with a couple of new friends here. We hung out on the beach until it started getting light out, and that's when we saw Cyril. Cyril is the resident vampire. If you see him during the day, you know he has not slept. Brittany and I were laughing quite a bit observing him the other day as he drunkenly - still awake around 1pm from the night before - made himself drinks and was incapable of using words. Being awake to see him come home meant we were up really epicly late.
Tonight, Jerome (he's an older German guy who has been living in one of the beachfront bungalows for months; he's an absolutely hilarious man) invited me, Tash, Tyler and Cyril (so pretty much all the non-new bar staff) out for dinner at the steakhouse. Holy crap. 5 appetizers, 3 bottles of wine, a couple other drinks, and a meal each later (or 500 soles - around $200, all of which Jerome paid) I returned to work at the hostel; is my job/life not fantastically amazing?
I did need to leave here. Leaving here reinforced that I didn't need to leave here. Sure, I'm getting drunk every night. Is that the path to enlightenment, to finding what I'm looking for? Absolutely not. But, it is also not the wrong path. The path that feels right, in my opinion, is the one to follow. It's not the partying that's teaching me by any means, but the people, and the connections with these people (whether it be people working here long term who I get to see daily, or the new people I meet every day) teach me a ton.
Lesson 1 of my trip came yesterday. Really, this is the first major realisation I've had here, and since I'm blogging this time, you're all here to learn with me. So lesson 1 was not to judge a book my its cover. I know, I know; it's an old, cliche saying. A few years back I met a girl. I got very bad vibes from her and knew we couldn't be friends. We became best friends actually, and before long I realised she was not a good person; my first impression was totally right. When a similar instance occured 2 years later, I was certain. Since those experiences I've truly believed that my first impressions are correct, and if I don't like someone at first that I should absolutely not interact with them.
I am much better at getting along with guys than girls. Almost every guy I meet I'm friends with within minutes. Girls I'm a bit more skeptic about. There were 2 girls here, who have sadly just left, who I really didn't think I'd become friends with. It wasn't that I had a bad first impression, but that I simply didn't think I could ever be close friends with these girls.
Boy was I wrong.
The two of them leaving (from different countries, to different destinations) broke my heart. I know I will see them both again, but it will be a long time. The point is that my initial impression was completely off base. These two girls shattered what I had previously thought. They reminded me what I once knew and had long ago forgotten.
So there it is. I came to South America not for a vacation, and not to see new things even. I came here to learn. It took over a month, but the first lesson has been taught, and it will not be forgotten.
And it came through partying. Who would have ever thought? I guess my gut knew... it did bring me back here, didn't it?
PS Well, I thought it would be short... I guess once I started typing I realised I had so very many things to say.