Sunday, December 1, 2002
"So We Were Driving Through the Jungle, and We Found
This Karaoke Bar
We loaded up the car and were once again
off to see how far we could drive towards the coast before
finding a place for the night. It seemed like Curt was always
having his turn at the wheel when it came time to find a posada.
We pushed our luck ("again"), and ended up in the
no man's land trying to find a spot. We did find one, but
it was downright sketchy. Four enormous fortress walls surrounded
a large parking lot. To get in, you had to pass through a
gate raised by the hotel "receptionist". There were
some apartments in here too, and they all had garages below.
The hotel room was clean enough, but the whole arrangement
seemed creepy. We had to pay in advance, and none of us felt
safe leaving the "complex" to find something to
eat. So we put Curt behind the wheel again, and kept going.
We were speeding along, probably faster
than we should- but you could tell Curt's patience was running
low. Matter of fact, I'm sure all of ours was. We had taken
a different route back, and found we were climbing back up
into the rainforest. As we careened along, we all scanned
the signs for a posada, but as hopeful as I may have seemed-
I didn't think we had a snowball's chance. The landscape was
getting more jungle like and it felt like we were leaving
civilization- not nearing it. Just as I was thinking these
dire thoughts, I saw a wall painted with the word "posada."
It was a really nice looking house with a gated drive. It
had a Mediterranean look, with little seats on the porch out
front. We quickly pulled over and tried to find it in Pam's
posada book. Before we got very far- the owner came striding
out, waving us in to his driveway! He was smiling broadly.
In my broken Spanish I was trying to understand how much it
was, and if they had room for us. He was brimming with vitality,
arms waving, big smile, and rattling off a mile a minute.
I barely understood a word- but I got as much as the rate
and he shuffled us into some rooms, so I assumed we could
stay. His wife didn't look so happy to see us. When I tried
to inquire if we could find someplace to eat, I understood
somehow they had chicken for us as she was asking how many
we wanted. I thought she meant breasts, but Curt wised me
up- she meant the whole chicken! Was she going out back to
kill one or something? We dropped our bags off, and then the
four of us excused ourselves to buy a few beers at an odd
little cinderblock building next door that seemed to be a
We walked carefully down the dark road hoping
not to get hit. As we approached, bright light beamed out
from the openings in the walls that were sort of windows without
the glass. From the inside, some very peculiar music poured
out- really loudly. We walked in, and it was like the needle
skipped off the record. A woman was singing on a karaoke machine
to the owner of our posada while he sat there in a chair.
He stood up with a smile and shouted greeting when he saw
us and the Karaoke Lady turned and welcomed us too! They guided
us to a seat and seemed to laugh that we had showed up. Beers
were on the table before we knew it. I took my time assessing
the lay of the land since we couldn't talk above the screaming
karaoke. This was really wild. How I wished I had my camera,
though I don't know how I could have tactfully taken a photo.
Never in my life will I ever forget that night.
A second woman appeared from behind a doorway,
and clapped her hands to see we were here. She looked a bit
like the toothless woman in Los Nevados, and had just as much
enthusiasm. I thought she might just hug us for a minute.
She brought us our dinner then. While we ate and watched the
karaoke show that now seemed to be just for us, more people
started to appear. They would peak from behind the door, look
around hesitatingly before entering and stood around looking
slightly uncomfortable. It didn't take long before there were
perhaps a dozen locals there now, and they started to dance
to the karaoke singer. She was cute as a button and seemed
to favor Selena's music- asking if we knew it? The dancers
seemed to have favorite partners, and one couple was by far
the star. One particular girl of I'd say about twenty seemed
to be trying to burn me down with her stare. I thought I must
be paranoid, but Pam said she saw it too- the girl looked
like she was going to jump right over out table and scratch
my eyes out. So I avoided her stares as best I could and smiled
while I watched the other couples dance.
Another gentleman took the microphone from
Karaoke Lady and began a twenty minute speech in Spanish that
none of us understood much of. But again, it seemed to be
directed at us since he was staring at us the whole time he
talked and ignored anyone else there. Curt seemed to catch
a lot of stuff about friends from far away, new friends? Something
like that. I was concentrating more on acting like I didn't
notice the girl wanting to kick my butt.
I was totally enchanted by the whole
thing! Everyone else seemed absolutely beat, but I really
was getting a kick out it. I just couldn't believe that we
had been driving through a Venezuelan jungle with no sign
of life to find the posada with its beaming owner, and then
end up here in this little bar to watch karaoke and have a
speech (apparently) directed just at us. I would have never
in a million years thought this would be something that would
happen to me.