I ask while standing waiting for the boat “How long till I get here”? –pointing at the address I´ve been emailed-.
“Tres horas.” 3 hours
I´d been expecting twenty minutes or something, but hey I can handle remote. This will be different anyway. This much we can be sure of.
The boat –something like a barge- winds its way through narrow still waters and past a vast array of stunning and startling little houses including one completely encased in glass which I´d later learn belonged to a previous President but now is used as a museum. We also pass a half-submerged, old cruise boat. Encouraging!
After three hours I jump on to a small dock where I´m met by Nacho. I climb aboard his small boat and he rows for another thirty minutes until we reach his place. Now this is remote!
Instantly I´m eaten alive by mosquitoes like never before. I thought I´d be used to it after Bonito, but Hell no this is unlike anything anywhere in terms of these carnivorous little fuckers. My whole body burns!
Waking the next morning I find my tent, which is on a raised wooden platform, completely surrounded by water. This small island floods apparently and quite a lot it turns out. Interesting.
There´s a large wooden house between where my tent is and where Nachos small house is and this is where we prepare food, work sometimes and hangout when it´s too cold. It´s a truly amazing place so tranquil and away from everything. I love it here, I love being out of reach from the rest of the world where I´m left to get on with jobs such as varnishing the floors of the main house, widening the forest path and gathering wood for the fire we have to build to keep those mosquitoes down but also so we can have a nice wee barbeque at night while star gazing and knocking back the wine.
I could get used to this part of the world. If I thought the tropical desert island Aruba was remote then this place is something else with being approximately one thousand meters in length and a population of just two. I discover mate (South American tea) and become part of the furniture.
. . .
A group of Argie´s would descend on the first weekend to help with the insulation of a mud hut. It´s a nice wee project and a pretty cool bunch of people. A chance to learn some Spanish perhaps or just a chance to do something stupid?
That night I make my way back to the little tent and discover quite abruptly that I really need a big poo. My dilemma being that it´s late, dark and the girls are all sleeping in the room I´d have to pass through to take my big smelly dump.
In the woods and pointing my torch down while in position to make sure I don’t shit on the back of my shorts I proceed with my endeavours only to hear the unmistakable sound of a girl’s voice. “Andy”? Surely not. I decide to dismiss the unmistakable sound as being just my imagination and continue with what I´m doing. I later look back and think ´Fuck, that was definitely a girls voice. Really, really close and she must have saw me having a shit and even pointing/highlighting at it with my torch! Well done Andy!
During my daily mission to prepare some porridge the next morning I find the gas canister empty. Being a master of fire by now I begin to gather some wet wood. Surrounded by water and armed with only a few shit matches I start to lose faith.
Help arrives in the form of someone I´m sure saw me last night at my most vulnerable and she arrives with a bountiful supply of paper to help start this fire. Toilet paper..Used toilet paper.
She´d found the toilet bucket from upstairs and I´m unsure as to whether she knows what this is or not, but she´s digging her hands right in there and placing it under my breakfast!
I refuse to touch that shit -literal-, but I´m breathing it in while crouching down to blow on the flames and get this porridge made. I think the others who soon came to help made the connection from the empty toilet bucket and the paper burning on the fire because about a platoon worth of porridge is now between two!