Pearls and parties

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.

Kids in the sand

The second slap is as unexpected and somewhat harder. I rise in protest. “Mosquito,” my masseur explains.

The bay at Las Peñitas

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.

Fishermen on their way out

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.

With our French friends at Barco del Oro

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.

My pearl

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.

Cool car

We do our best to get into the spirit, but fail and leave, nursing our ears and eyes. Still, I have a pearl!

Precious grit

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