The third morning I woke up in Gigante I allowed myself to sleep in a little bit. As someone who needs a lot of alone time, I wanted to enjoy my last night alone for the next week. Jamie was leaving that morning so I would be moving into the bed he previously occupied up at Casa Victoria, the house A.D and Eve built. It was lovingly dubbed as such due to the extraordinary amount of Victoria beer consumed by the owners during its construction. The workers would show up in the morning and point to the tables full of beer and laugh, dubbing it Casa Victoria.
After I got dropped off and settled in at the new casa A.D, Eve and I headed into town for some breakfast and a yoga class by the beach at El Camino Hostel. El Camino is a great place to stay on a budget if you want to visit Playa Gigante- it’s a hostel with a bar/restaurant on the beach.
The food is geared more towards gringos, but that’s ok. They also have regular yoga classes that are complimentary to the public. It’s a winning combination for sure, and in such a small town its sure to be a hub for breakfast smoothies and email checking folks after a yoga class.
The speed of life here is slower than what I’m used to in the State’s. I was able to complete a whole hour long vinyasa flow yoga class before my smoothie arrived. However, the Green Goddess smoothie was worth the wait. Everything was super fresh and came from nearby. The combination of yoga and fresh food was a welcome way to spend a morning. I felt like the yoga had woken up part of my body that had been pickled by alcohol and apathy while the sun shine was working wonders for my soul.
I spent much of the afternoon luxuriating in simple pleasures. Mainly I curled up in a hammock on the porch reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. (I actually highly recommend reading books set in cold places while in a hotter climate. It helps to balance the mind and body while giving you the perception of actually being cooler- without having to resort to the use of AC. )
In the late afternoon, Eve asked if I would like to ride bicycles down to the beach. As I got on the bike and began to pedal down the driveway, the front tire fell off the bike. I was riding on the rim down a rocky dirt road with very poor breaking ability, but I eventually glided to s safe stop. Laughing I ran the bike up the hill to A.D the resident mechanic ” I think this one needs your help!” The bike was quickly fixed by A.D’s expert hands, and I was off towards the surfing beach on the other side of Gigante cove. The road to the beach is marked by deep ruts from the intense run-off from the rainy season. As a motorcyclist, I’m used to having to avoid road hazards. This usually applies to more developed roads- in this case, the road sort of dropped away into deep crevasses. The best option was to glide along as quickly as possible, trying not to think about anything bad happening. ” just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling” I sang to myself in my head.
Eve and I both arrived safely on the beach and leaned our bikes against a palm tree. We walked on the beach, getting to know each other while letting the waves lap at our feet, smiles splashing over our faces.
That evening it was their friend Abe’s last night in Nicaragua before heading back to Alaska so we were all headed over to his place for a pizza party. His house is round, which is notable in its own right- but the view was breathtaking. Its the kind of place that should be featured in some magazine like Afar. Abe had generously made cauliflower crust pizzas in personal pan form with a buffet of toppings for everyone to choose from. He pre-made his crusts and passed them out to guests as they arrived. It was the perfect combination of delicious and thoughtful as so many of the expats have various diet preferences.
I instantly felt welcomed for the it was the kind of laid back, yet intimate gathering where you know everyone invited is a friend. Everyone seems to get along effortlessly. Stories about adventures traveling come flowing as freely as the booze. Later that evening while chatting to an American ex-pat over drinks, the topic of scorpion rum came up. I’d never heard of it before, but I have seen snakes in various liquor bottles in while traveling in Asia. It was suggested that the poison from the scorpion is supposed to numb your throat as you drink it the liquor. Interesting information.
We got dropped off back at Casa Victoria after the pizza party wound down. As we were walking into the house as we spotted a scorpion. Our friend who gave us a ride home reached down and trapped it in a small jar and poured some Fleur de Caña on it. Excited about the catch we sat on the porch for a while to talk about the evening and unwind. The beginnings of homemade scorpion rum began to excite the devils in us. It was about half an hour later when I remembered a story I had heard on the podcast This American Life.
Some American G.Is in Afghanistan were talking about how they found a scorpion and sort of made a pet out of it. They even named it Fred or something like that. Everyone in the platoon eventually became attached to this scorpion. Their commander found out that Fred was one of the deadliest kinds of scorpion in the world. He sadly ordered his men to kill Fred because he couldn’t risk someone’s life or safety because of a pet. Everyone was sad about it but they set out to kill Fred anyway. They put him in a can of gasoline for two weeks.
“That scorpion is still alive guys,” I said to my friends on the porch that night. “He might look dead to you, but that thing is still alive.” My friends all stared at me like I was nuts. “Nu-uh”, my scorpion rum making friend said. He got up to inspect his scorpion jar. Skepticism played across his face as he raised the jar to eye level. The tail of the scorpion was slowly flexing – even though it had been in the rum for at least 30 minutes.
“Holy Shit!” he almost dropped the jar. “Told you” I replied confidently, a smile playing across my face.
Scorpion Rum Recipe
Find a of scorpion. Ours was black and it looked cool. I am an animal lover- but making use of the little guy seems like a better alternative to killing them for no reason. That being said this recipe isn’t for everyone. Pour some rum over it and let it keep until you’re brave enough to give it a try. You might want to wait a few months, though just in case those lil guys are still alive.