Arriving late afternoon to La Lancha, the sky had been an ominous grey threatening to downpour at any moment. Light trickles punctuated the evening, but by dinner the skies were clear. We went to bed listening to the light mist spray across our windows. My dreams were vivid and turbulent, matching the building energy in the air. Howler monkeys whined softly somewhere in the distance, while the wind picked up, extinguishing the low flicker of the candles outside. A gecko scurried across the roof, an insect buzzed somewhere above, the overhead fan clicked in a slow rhythm. In a half conscious daze I heard the rain pick up, turning from a light trickle to a full force downpour. As I began to slip back into unconsciousness, letting the sound of rain falling on our thatched roof lull me back to sleep, a thunder clap, louder than I’ve ever heard enveloped the entire night. All other sounds muted, it sounded as if something had crashed directly into our room. Startled and dazed I braced as if the roof might be collapsing. But nothing happened. Just the sound of rain once again. It felt surreal, and I wasn’t sure it had actually happened, but the next boom reassured me it had. The sky remained pitch black, if there was lightening, it never lit up the sky. It was just thunder, rain, and the thick feeling of humidity nearing 100%. And just as quickly as it came, it was over. Morning revealed blue skies, as if the calamity of the previous night hadn’t happened at all.
It may be Christmas eve, but nothing throughout the day would indicate as much. Morning was spent pool-side watching small birds laze across the sky while an infinitesimal breeze gave little respite from the tropical sun. On occasion, a cloud would pass, delivering a few seconds of mist, and then continue on its way. We had the pool to ourselves, mostly, save a Swiss couple who quietly read books and sipped tropical drinks. This lodge, unlike the prior appears to be kid-free, vastly preferable in my opinion. The rest of the early afternoon was spent in a sleepy blissful state where the most strenuous activity involved meandering up to the restaurant for lunch of garnachas and Cuban mojitos. And finally, I feel entirely relaxed. Though I do not, in general lead a stress filled life, I am rarely so relaxed that I feel my muscles turn fluid, melting into my seat as time inches forward. Almost, as if everything slowed and a bit sluggish is pushing through the viscous air. It is vacation epitomized, no worry dares to cross your mind, an easy joyful existence takes hold, and you will it to never end.
The afternoon was spent on a horse chasing the sunset through the fields surrounding the lake. Our guide had brought along his son, who rode on the back of his horse behind the saddle and boasted more skill than I’ll likely ever posses. He was really cute though, full of smiles and timid curiosity. This was the first time I’ve ever ridden a horse. Despite the fact that I’ve ridden a camel, I have never actually been on a horse. I was admittedly concerned I would have difficulties, but it ended up being very easy. I’d like to think I’m just a natural, but the credit is likely due to my well mannered equine companion. Aside from the scenery, the best part was easily when I got to run with her, though I’m sure I didn’t look as graceful as I felt. We wandered up through the back of local farm lands, greeted by herds of cows and the occasional burro. Making our way to the top of a ridge we wound our way through the forest, stopping at various Mayan ruins that have remained undisturbed. The top of the ridge opened up to a startlingly beautiful view. Out of the dense forest, there was a 360 degree view encompassing the lake and hills beyond. As we followed the ridge back down to the road we were accompanied by a richly colorful sunset over the lake, outlines of palm trees fringed on the horizon bit into the red sky as we rode home. I could hardly think of a better way to end Christmas eve.