Around 5:30 this morning, I awoke on the ground outside of a hotel I had found in the guide book to find signs of life all around me. Some of the other hotels were opening their doors, a man was watering plants outside another and a little food vendor was setting up for breakfast. I stood up, wiped most of the dirt off my already filthy body and decided I would try and find a room to get cleaned up a bit before heading down to the beach. The first one I found turned out to be quite nice and at five dollars, I wasn't going to complain much anyway. I dropped my stuff on the floor, went into the bathroom and beheld a broken man. In need of a shave and a shower, I looked like I had been without a bed for a couple of weeks rather than the two nights that I had spent on the road.
The number one priority was to brush my teeth. The shower could wait but it had been about thirty hours without toothbrushing. After the teeth came a bit more sleep. A couple of hours later and I was starting to feel like myself again. I arose from my bed to a sunny day and stood beneath the shower and felt the life returning to my body. Following the shower, I got rid of the five day growth that was covering every inch of my face and neck. I looked in the mirror and was beginning to recognize myself again.
Next came food. An enormous English breakfast, a cup of coffee with sweetened condensed milk and as always, a banana shake. I devoured my food and had just enough money left on me to pay the barber for the use of his services. Since the voltage on my clippers is different is Asia, I now am forced to pay the two dollars here for a haircut but I still hold true to my principals and cut it myself. They usually laugh when I take the clippers from their hands and begin cutting my hair on my own. Today was no different but seeing as how my hair was the longest it has probably been in years, it felt damn good to have a haircut!
After a quick trip back to my hotel, I recharged my depleted funds at the atm and then began searching the town for a new beach towel. During a big storm in Loas, my favorite Auburn towel that has been around the world with me was destroyed. The wind blew it down below and covered it in mud and all forms of animal feces that you can imagine. I had seen dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks all occupying the area it landed in for the past few days and since it was fraying pretty badly anyway, I decided it was a total loss and left it as a blanket for the animals in case another wild storm came up and they needed some protection.
It wasn't long before I had located a new towel and made my way to the beach where I secured an nice adjustable chair with a thick cushion, small wooden table and a massive thatch umbrella. I took a big sip of water, grabbed my book and began to enjoy the endless blue sky over the turquoise colored water. Around lunch time, I was getting hungry but I had no desire to leave my little piece of paradise. The chair I was in belonged to a restaurant that looked rather expensive so rather than leave, I was just planning on skipping lunch. At this point, a woman carrying a small grill and some seafood began waving a nice sized lobster in front of me. Seeing as how I had missed lunch the day before, for six dollars, I couldn't resist! The nice little lady put her spices and portable bucket that had been transformed into a grill to good use. Fifteen minutes later and I had the most wonderful grilled lobster that I have ever eaten.
After lunch I got back to my book for a while and after another hour or so, another woman approached selling pineapples. A little deserted sounded pretty good by then and after paying her a dollar to slice up an enormous pineapple, I had to work hard just to get it all down. Lobster and pineapple on an incredibly beautiful beach reading an incredible book is one hell of a great way to get over a miserable journey like the one I made to get here. All I am missing now is a beautiful woman to share the experience with. Any one out there feel like joining?
A side note: The book I read today was Paulo Cohelo's The Alchemist. I have to recommend this book to everyone I know, especially if the journey I am on is hard for you to imagine. I must warn you that it may have an impact on your life and cause you to chase some of the dreams that you have always held close to your heart.