You’ve hightailed it to one of the world’s oases where pensioners—the retired soldiers, sailors, cops and robbers have chosen to hang out for its cheap beer and cheaper women. And let’s be honest—if only for a moment—you’re thinking pretty much the same yourself— lots of beer, more women. You spent 10 days in Costa Rica 13 years ago—with the wife and the three kids, and the whole time all you could think was: “Jesus, if I could only get rid of the wife and kids—this place is fucking paradise!” It’s taken you 13 years but here you are—you didn’t have to kill the old lady—the divorce cost you an arm and a leg—and the house–and you can’t even remember your kids’ names anyway. But who cares? It’s a fresh start and you’re free to invent a brand new life—a new identity even. now you’re a man of mystery—as much a mystery to yourself as to others because you’re obsessing about just what this new identity might be—you’re a work in progress, and so far—well, you haven’t gotten very far—the choices are almost limitless. Before you arrived on these tropical shores—Nicaragua, let’s say—it didn’t occur to you that you could call yourself Turk, and carry an intricately carved walking stick, or… maybe you’ve taken to wearing a baseball cap that’s embroidered with the legend: MORE BEER!–’cause now you’re a hard-drinking, hard living kind of guy who doesn’t take no crap from nobody-especially these little brown-skinned, brown-eyed wogs–even if in your previous life you were a career assistant manager at an H. & R. block office in Duluth Minnesota. But for the time-being you just have to fly a bit under the radar until you can sort out your new-identity issues, and for the time-being when you meet a fellow-traveller named Walt in one of the joints frequented by the local expats, and Walt asks you where you’re from, you answer: “Oh, here and there–been kind of a wanderer all my life–you know.” Yeah, Walt knows.
But more about Walt at a fuure date, this is as much his story as it is yours.
So you’re in Nicaragua—Granada, maybe. It takes you about 18 minutes after your arrival to find the expat hangout–The Hangout–where at 9 the following morning you’re belly to the bar having a wake-up cuppa joe chased down with a bottle of Tona cerveza—or sirr-vezza, as you call it. The good life—try doing this back in Duluth. You’ve got a small laundry list of things to do to get settled in to your new existence–buy a hammock is right up near the top of the list—you imagine long days spent idly dozing in the shade of a mango tree, a bucket of icy beers close at hand, which of course means that you have to find the tree, and the tree has to be connected to a house that you have to find, and you know two words in Spanish and half of them is sirr-vezza, so maybe you should be thinking about learning a bit of the lingo, and that goes onto the list as well. But for the time-being you can just relax– and before you know it you’re not seeing too clearly and you’re not sure if it’s the fading light of sunset or the 25 sirr-vezzas you managed to consume.