Las Peñitas: There’s nothing quite like being roused from the depths of a wonderfully relaxing massage by a sharp slap to the arse. I’ve not had many massages, so it’s difficult to know whether my stinging bottom is a normal part of Nica massage. I remember that it didn’t feature in the Thai massages I had, but who knows… I sink back into slumber.
The second slap is as unexpected and somewhat harder. I rise in protest. “Mosquito,” my masseur explains.
Yesterday afternoon, I decided to tackle my inertia by practicing some yoga. My unaccustomed muscles complained stiffly this morning, and when I reached for something, my left side suddenly and painfully seized up. After some time, I managed to coax my back into a standing position and decided that a massage was the answer.
Happily, our favourite place, Barco del Oro (named after a love song that was popular a couple of decades ago when the French owner, Sandrine, bought the place), offers massages. And aside from the surprise attacks on my arse, it’s a deeply restorative therapy that returns movement to my poor back.
We spend the evening with our French friends, eating oysters brought by advance arrangement from a local fishermen. The eighth of my dozen contains a hard lump that I assume is a lemon pip. On inspection, it’s far more exciting: a pearl! My first ever oyster pearl. It’s teeny tiny – far smaller than a pip, but far more precious to me.
We celebrate by going out to the local party, a fortnightly event attended, it seems, by every villager aged between 15 and 55. A small courtyard has been fitted out with disco lights, the number and strength of which would serve a stadium. We are blinded and bedazzled. Inside, much bumping and grinding is underway despite the best efforts of a dj who plays at least three tracks simultaneously, sings in a loud off-key voice over the top and extorts the crowd to “dance like you love it” frequently in a drunken yell.
We do our best to get into the spirit, but fail and leave, nursing our ears and eyes. Still, I have a pearl!