Silk ropes and serendipity

I checked into a hotel over easter that offered silk rope acrobatic classes.  What a brilliant idea! Though sadly in my current state the most I could do was to wrap  a strand around me and hang upside down for a while, like a rather folorn silk worm dangling off a mulberry tree. But it’s really quite a peaceful pastime. Yoga is so last decade – this is the new mind and body stretch that we all need!  I recommend trying it for moments when you have a lot on your mind. All the blood goes to your head and clears the blockages. The ‘man in the moon’ pose is my next goal after I’ve sorted the minor inconvenience of 2 slipped discs.

Easter week in a deeply Catholic country is either one to hide from frantically or to participate in fervently, depending on your spiritual predilections. I chose the former, and set off for the sea to seek my own personal form of renewal, in the little coastal town of Santa Teresa – my one concession to the religious moment. Casting an eye down the rather un-saintly, dusty little high street you wouldn’t have imagined that this would be the place where the likes of Giselle and Mel Gibson had chosen to buy holiday homes, but  it sort of crept up on you. Quiet, understated tropical paradise in all its glory – but plenty of guts too. At one end, everything a surfer dude might want (pizza, tattoo parlours, Bob Marley) and at the other, everything a wannabe superstar might be seeking (infinity pools, fresh mozzarella, mango bellinis..).  Somewhat conflicted, I ended up somewhere in the middle and indulged in a bit of both.  And while on the subject of that gorgeously sensuous and succulent fruit, the mango, I had no idea that it worked so well together with jalepeños, tequila and ice..truly the most exciting organoleptic explosion I have experienced for some time!  🙂

my mango magic

In fact it was my mango marvel that led me to the nice man with a syringe. A man on who I was to become dependent, and for whom I was to undo my trousers for the next five days in order to get my daily fix.

He was the man from the Red Cross. Apparently even men from the Red Cross have nights off to drink mango margaritas.  Until then I had been wondering idly how I was going to inject myself with my latest drug over easter with all the pharmacies and doctors clinics closed, but here, in a mad mango moment, was my saviour reborn!  And he proved true to his word every day, with the exception of one, when he got distracted by his home football team losing on telly and left me up-ended in a damp bikini on his stretcher for far longer than was decent, while he roared his outrage at the screen, shaking his syringe-filled fist. The rage had not quite worn off by the time came for my jab..It was an angry one..and I have the bruise to prove it!

From mad Mango Man to Californian Queen.. my second serendipitous encounter in Santa Teresa was with Jenny, a tall, slim, bendy pilates teacher, who had fallen in love with a local boy and moved her life to this dusty little town on the Pacific. She introduced me to her Cadillac, a purring, sophisticated stainless steel device with straps, springs and furry handcuffs that stretches bits of you you didn’t know you had….It was a classy piece of kit that would not have looked out of place in either a torture chamber or an erotic sex den..

It was while I was entangled in the Cadillac that she casually mentioned that Santa Teresa was rife with a highly contagious disease called Staph (or Staphylococcus Aureus – from the Greek staphyle, meaning bunch of grapes, and kokkus, meaning berries). Personally, I’d say rather more like some rather sour-looking grapes and a couple of cinnamon sticks…

Pretty deadly grapes

Airborne, gangrenous in nature, you could have a mild skin infection one day and  your leg chopped off the next. If that didn’t work, you could be catapulted into toxic shock syndrome and die of a heart attack. ‘It’s everywhere right now.. particularly bad this summer.’ she said, casually.

Things to avoid if you don’t want to end up  gangrened, limbless or lifeless : dust (as we watched swirling eddies of dust spin past the window..), damp towels, and public places..Marvellous. Time to find Mel Gibson’s secret villa in the mountains, methinks. (I wonder if Mel knew he had bought a villa in a flesh-eating town?)

I learned later that the Catholic church widely propagated the belief that that those who had not been to confession lately were more susceptible to staph. Dirty souls =  diseased bodies..! Time to say three speedy hail Mary’s and head back to the relative sanity of relatively urban life!

I arrived back home grateful and disease-free, and tuned into BBC Radio 4 – my source of equilibrium when all the world around seems slightly mad.  Tuned in just in time to hear that Pliny the Elder (generally agreed to be the author of the world’s first encyclopaedia) believed that tying fox genitals to one’s head was an unbeatable cure for a headache…Well, madness is all relative I suppose. [I subsequently discovered that given that the slang word for ‘fox’ means ‘prostitute’ here, the sharing of this particular factoid unintentionally elicits more than your average snigger in Costa Rica..]

And finally – we’ve had a run of illustrious old geezers lately in this neck of the woods..which makes a nice change from Ricky Martin. First Elton John, next up Bob Dylan, and then Bill Clinton, speaking on, of all things, Sustainability and Happiness…! Please. I think I’d rather hear Elton John sing on the subject in his 8-inch sustainably sparkly wedge heels. Or Bill’n Bob with their combined age of 140 years doing a duet perhaps..knock, knock knocking on heaven’s door…

OK, time to escape to the Dominican Republic for more sunshine and leave the geezers to it. Next report from the first ancient capital of the Americas…where Colombus was alleged to have tasted his first banana.

Such a serious chap to be eating such frivolous fruit


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