I think I left off with me reluctantly climbing nearby Volcán San Pedro while Laynni stuck to her guns (i.e. not feeling like it), considering herself plenty justified by her hour of yoga each morning and our daily swims. Although, as it turns out, there is nothing quite like peer pressure to convince us to do things we probably wouldn’t have done of our own volition (see: partaking in drunken group taint piercings , or fishing) which is why just days later we were at it again, Laynni included, for a three hour hike along the lake to the village of Santa Cruz. This was actually a hike we had done a couple times the last time we were here, to no ill effect, although it does have a bit of a dicey reputation for tourists getting robbed by industrious young douche bags with machetes. Supposedly rare occurrences, however, plus we were significantly emboldened by the fact we were rolling in a clumsily cumbersome, yet imposing, group of eight. Nice hike (see: all the pretty photos). Stopped along the way for a drink (some even incongruously loaded up on homemade bread and exotic cheeses halfway through the hike), marveled at the way entire chunks of villages were now half under water (at worst) or now connected by precarious networks of rickety boards in lieu of previously scenic lakefront trails (at best). In the end, though, nary a dog incident to be had and capped it all off with a nice hearty lunch.

Solo andando

A scant few days later I was off again (an unstoppable force of momentum and sweat, I am), our smaller group of five (Laynni-less) ambitiously attacking La Nariz del Indio (The Indian Nose), a reputedly scenic viewpoint looming high over the northwest corner of the lake. It only took about half as long to climb as the volcano but was much steeper, slipperier and almost entirely exposed to the baking, energy-sapping sun. On the bright side, there was a tiny wooden bench at the top as well as a quivering heap of dead branches which passed as a lookout tower and cost us about sixty cents each to enjoy. Great views, rustic surroundings and a shifty fellow in a dirty hat on hand to watch you urinate.

Other than these sporadic physical ventures our days are mostly spent in deep deliberation on the great philosophical quandaries of our time such as:

–         Physiology – if we go run stairs should we make twice as much popcorn?

·         Psychology – do ants eat the poison because they have an innate desire for that which they can’t have, or because they’re really goddamned stupid?

·         Math – how many pages do I have to read each day in order to finish it before our virtual public library magically snatches it back from my e-reader (a feat that never ceases to inspire thoughts of a futuristic Big Brother society where all literature is as closely monitored as a Boy’s Club volunteer and soap carving is finally a respected hobby)?

·         Geology –when we find floating rocks that remove palm calluses should we be concerned about them falling into the wrong hands?

·         Biology – how long until the bowl of leftover sausage in the fridge develops a distinct personality and also starts lobbying for first shot at hot water in the shower?

·         Philosophy – does hogging the sheets make me evolutionarily superior or a big time asshole?

As I write this we seem to be on the verge of our first rainfall since Tropical Depression 12E ended (with a flourish, not a whimper, like a struggling magician hopped up on E and caffeine) way back in mid October. Then again, much like The Who and the horny guy who hadn’t yet come to a full understanding of Adam’s apples, we’ve certainly been fooled before, looking on as heavy ominous clouds, rumbling thunder and vicious lightning wreaked havoc around various areas of the lake without ever quite making it over to our neck of the woods.  Which we generally take as a sign to shrug and settle back onto the couch.

Carbonation break

Also, medically speaking, I’ve made a minor breakthrough with regard to a strange problem I seemed to develop sometime between Thai curry in Varkala and mushroom soup rendered nearly solid with large quantities of crackers this summer, that being a troublesome inability to completely swallow my food. After completing my meal it often feels as though much it remains half way down my esophagus inexplicably fighting fate like a boy named Laurie trying out for the hockey team. After months of mild concern, some highly unenlightening discussions with my overbooked and computer illiterate physician and countless attempts to swallow large quantities of water really hard, I have come to the comforting conclusion that I have simply been forgetting to finish eating. Several weeks of close monitoring has taught me that after placing the final bite of food in my mouth I have been prematurely deeming the whole tedious job of eating complete, at which point I stop chewing, swallowing or in any other way facilitating the digestive process, instead wandering off to attend to more pressing matters such as dishes, getting a handle on the crumb situation before the ants do, or just staring out the window blankly with the dubious expectation of some unanticipated, yet mysteriously enthralling, event. Food to mouth, chew, chew and….swallow. It’s not so hard, really.

New version of a lakeside trail
Other than that…the countdown is on, less than two weeks left here at Pasaj-Cap. In other news, I finally started taking Spanish classes this week to brush up on my awkwardly random vocabulary and basically retarded speech patterns (I’ve already earned a Conjugating Irregular Verbs badge and Occasionally Rolling R’s velvet cape), and we bought a real nice zucchini today. Real nice.

Unfortunately, we are now finished watching Californication so, not only is my usage of the word “dong” starting to decrease, but this will be the last installment of:

Weekly “Californication” Quote That Made Me Sit Up and Say “Oh no you di’int”

“I got your back, rapist.”

Soon to be replaced by:

Weekly “Sons of Anarchy” Video Clip That Made Me Sit Up and Say “Why don’t they at least try to hide when people are shooting at them?”

Stay on the edge of your seat, San Diego.