Having spent our previous two nights on the roof of the local cemetry, Kez and I decided it was high-time we joined normal society. We therefore had every intention of going to our festival campsite a day early. This would also save us from having to get up at 5:30am as was now necessary given our rooftop camping spot (such campsites – though beautiful at night – are very exposed during the daytime). & so it was that we made our way down to our usual beach side location…
I guess we should have expected it to be an unusually good day. Leaving from our rooftop campsite at the unholy hour of 5:30am ensured we had the beach all to ourselves. Rather than take advantage of a private beach, both Kez and I fell into deep sleeps. When we awoke a fair while later, there was a trail of ants between us both, leading all the way to yet another food parcel (yes, our old Croatian friend had passed through yet again!).
But this wasn’t a day of food parcel deliveries alone. By early afternoon, we had a clutch of English women sunbathing/recovering in front of us. They were clearly women of means, for they had splashed out on renting sun loungers (I can’t remember the last time we treated ourselves to anything other than extra food!). & to our good fortune, they were also interested in finding out more about the waifs and strays that were sharing their part of the beach!
As it turned out, Suzanne (second from right in the picture) has not only been a Guatemalan cycle tour guide; she’s also completed an ironwoman. When I heard this, I was already thinking of her being potential tandem partner material! & amazingly, she is now looking to come and join me in India. (Hauling a tandem on my own through France often seemed like a fruitless endeavour…but having the opportunity to share the travel experience with absolute strangers makes it all worth while)
Now at this point, I’d have been more than happy with having just met a group of people that were interested in the ride. But as was quite clearly the case, these were no ordinary girls. Before the afternoon was out, Kez and I were on our way back to their apartment block – tandem in tow – looking forward to the prospect of an evening spent in good company, and two spare beds for the night.
At their apartment block, the landlady allowed us to use the washing machine (such a welcome treat!!) – where we then got chatting to an English guy working for Visa. In many ways, he was an older version of me. Like me, he has done away with as many possessions as possible (they only ever seem to add worry anyway, and they stop us being footloose!). But he has gone a few stages further than me. He made up what sounded like a rather ambitious wish-list of things to do before he gets to 40. Unlike most people that make up such lists, he is actually making them happen. At number 3 and 2 on his list were to write a book, and to climb to basecamp of Everest. He has done both of those.
& number one on his list – to visit space! Now of course, his astronaut opportunities are never going to materialise…but he is going to do the next best thing. He will be visiting a Russian airbase near Moscow, where a Mig 31 will take him to 65,000 feet – the very edge of space. Pretty incredible – and a reminder for me that pretty much anything is possible, just as long as the desire and self-belief are there.
One last bit of good fortune…
The rest of our welcome evening away from wild camping was spent having dinner and drinks with Suzy, Lucy, Nikki & Andrea – along with a DJ from the Electric Elephant music festival. Unfortunately, the photos from that evening didn’t save properly on my camera (for whatever reason) – but the memories will certainly persist. & how glad we were to have a bed for the night…not only for the comfort, but also because a crashing electrical storm came rolling through in the early hours; one so wild and foul that we’d probably have spent the night hiding in the campite toilets or such like.
So yes, in short – thank you girls. A most unexpected treat. I shall definitely look forward to catching up with you all back in the UK – and of course cycling with Suzy in India. & they’ve also promised me some inspiring/captivating books, which is truly music to my ears given that I am scraping the very bottom of my library barrel!
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