Otherwise known as.. cockroaches. This story has a few of these crunchy critters in it, and I probably won't be able to help cringing as I retell it. But first, a little back story on how we met the cockroaches.
After a few relaxing and blissful days in the quiet and tiny surf town of El Zonte, we decided to venture west to one of the most remote peninsulas and beaches in the country, Barra Santiago. It was a beautiful drive along the windy highway that hugged the hilly coast, which had frequent overlooks to the Pacific. And then we reached the peninsula. It was slow going across approximately 15 km of dirt, rocky roads to get to the very end of the peninsula and our destination. The road led us past many abandoned structures, shops and homes, frequent 'Se Vende' or 'For Sale' signs. Oh yeah, and we got lots of stares. It was clear there aren't too many gringos driving their shiny rental car across the peninsula very often. But seeing all of these properties in a state of abandonment left an uneasy feeling over both Dusty and I.
After a tedious 15kms, we reached the end of the road, and saw... nothing. No signs, no buildings that indicated we had made it to any establishment. Only upon further wandering along the beach did we find our hostel tucked away, with an inconspicuous tile sign out front. Our first impression? The place was dead... There were a couple of nice hammocks, lawn chairs, and a little patio for eating, but it felt oddly still and neglected. The place was clean and well kept, but I couldn't shake that uneasy feeling. It's saving grace was the beautiful expanse of beach 30 feet from our room. Next door was a top-notch Eco resort, where people pay top dollar to stay in custom crafted, brightly colored, eco-friendly villas. And that place? There was no one. Not even a light on.
So we spent some time on the beach, and settled into our room which was ok, nothing special. It did have AC though (first of the trip), which was a treat. And then came dinner time, which luckily was cooked up by the caretaker of our hostel, otherwise I am positive we would have starved being so far from anything resembling a restaurant, or civilization really.
After a couple hours of eating, playing cards and listening to music in the still night, we decided to head to bed at around 9pm. Pretty early compared to my routine back in Jackson, but down here it has become very normal. It's incredibly rewarding to go to bed early, and wake up with the sun.
A few hours into our slumber, I was awoken by Dusty saying, "Ow.. Something just bit my ear, Christie, turn the light on." Trying to pull myself out from under the blanket of confusion and grogginess I felt after being abruptly woken up, I struggled to find the light switch for about 15 seconds. After flicking it on, we stared at each other with a look of squinty, getting adjusted to the bring light confusion, and then at the bed and around the room to try to find the source of this 'bite.' And there it was, a cockroach laying right near Dusty's pillow. We jumped out of bed, and sat down on the smaller bed next to the one we we were sleeping in. And that's when we saw them.. Cockroaches crawling everywhere. 3 or 4 on the walls, 2 or 3 on our collapsed covers, and 3 or four scurrying around the floor. With the light on, they all started to find a place to hide, and quick.
Pretty disgusting, right? I bet your cringing just as much as I am at this point.
And then it continued to get worse. We began to cautiously move around the room to collect our stuff, and try to get it out of the room. Thats when I noticed one on the lip of my bag and it clicked... "Oh crap, they're in my stuff." At this point, I was in a constant state of shuddering, twitching, and also just staring in disbelief. I was trying my best to not freak out through this whole experience, but one thing I was not prepared to do was open my bag and search for cockroaches. The thought of it sent shivers down my body.
Luckily Dusty came to the rescue, and went on to shake every item out that was in my bag and his. Low and behold, my bag had about 4 cockroaches, and dusty's, 3.
After this long process of trying to get our stuff free of bugs, we arrived at a state of, "Well, what do we do now? Where do we sleep?" It was about 11:30 at night at this point, but the place was dead and pitch black. We wandered around with our head lamp for a little bit, calling the caretakers name with no response. There weren't even any neighbors around to reach out to. So we sat and waited, and debated. Should we just get in the car and drive? Should we sleep in the hammocks until sunrise and leave then? Should we sleep in the car? Or should we just suck it up and sleep in our room with the lights on? No option seemed like a good one, and luckily for us that is when the security guard walked up and noticed our problem.
Long story short, after much talking (to the caretaker, the security guard, and owner by phone), we found ourselves sleeping in a separate building not usually offered to guests. The cockroaches had originated in the palm roof of the main building, so the only option was to move to a separate one. It was around 2 in the morning by the time we got into that room, and yes, I insisted we sleep with the lights on to keep the bugs away. I spent the first few hours just staring at the walls for signs of bugs before drifting off. We surprisingly both got a few hours of sleep, and left first thing in the morning. We didn't stay for a tour of the mangroves, or for a tour of the turtle nests, we got out as soon as we could.
What did I learn? Always put your things back in your bag and CLOSE IT before going to bed, especially during the first night at a new place. You never know what critters could be around. And as for Barra Santiago? I wouldn't recommend it, unless you're looking to avoid civilization.
Currently Reading / Five Little Pigs / Agatha Christie