My feet are in the sand as I stare out to the horizon in the early morning. There is an oil rig in the distance just where my eyes might gaze into nothingness. I see the flames above the water. Fire in the sky.
On the land to my right is a lighthouse on a hill. It’s striped like a pedestrian crossing and it stands out in the colours of brown of the land, and the faded whitewashed blues and shades of the ocean and the sand.
This is ‘La Playa.’
This is the beach.
Smoke carries a faint smell. Animals wander with a strange sense of purpose. Horses trot along dusty lanes and dogs jog past with grins and a odd lack of guilt I associate with liberated pets. When they stop to stare at the landscape they pretend I don’t exist. An occasional person jogs along the shore or stands in the water like I do. Like anywhere La Playa is the place to be in the morning. It carries no morning rush but that of the waves.
If La Playa was sentient it would have witnessed much of my experience here. It has played a part in everything in Zorritos just by sight and sound.
I stand there with my feet in the water which tries to grip me, pull the sand away, and take me with it. I am free. Then I get back to doing my push-ups.
When I return to the villa I have a breakthrough with the Spanish language and it comes from my host, Flavio. As I practice my language with two dogs on the lawn, he tries to explain in Spanish what I’m doing wrong. “No,” he said. “Espanol, Inglish, different.” He pointed at his throat. “Inglish.” Then he pointed at his mouth and grimaced as he said “gracias”.
“Espanol, boca (mouth).”
And when I finally understood what he said, the r came out a bit better when I forced the words through my lips quickly rather than by making the noises in my throat.
I share the villa with three others. Amy, Barbara, and Guy. They joined me and Flavio brought our fried eggs one by one. “I read your blog this morning,” Amy said in her strong Canadian accent (on that note undoubtedly two Canadians and a Kiwi think my Aussie drawl is heavy). “It was good.”
I do not like egg but I forced myself to eat some. As I was halfway through I had enough. “Do you want it?” I asked Guy, and Barbra said, “no, you’re nearly there, eat it”.
“But I’m up to the..ergh…yellow part.”
“That’s the best bit!”
And they gave me El Diablo sauce and I put some on the rest of the egg and I forced it down, while the waves crashed in the distances. Dogs barked. The spicy sauce helped as I focused on the burn on my tongue rather than on taste.
It was the first full cooked egg I’ve eaten in my life. I told the others.
“Are you going to put this in your blog?” they teased. “You should!”
So I did.