Monday, July 30, 2012

Laguna Santa Maria del Oro #2 - The Expensive Bit

Those who read this blog may be aware I passed by this great natural volcanic lake with no bottom and stayed at a place called Koala Bungalows. A little bit of manicured lawn and gardens with bungalows and spaces to park your tent on the southside of the laguna that is. Whilst staying there I would sit on the wooden jetty and cast my eyes over the lake to the northside. The rich persons side. The side where the morning mist floats like muslin over the water and delicate mayflys and damselflys dip into the surface causing ripples on the still water and where the low clouds brush the hillside with dripping moisture. Only rich people can afford to stay at a place where nature can spread that sort of romantic spell over the location.

Here where we stayed on the southside or south of the railway tracks our solitude was nightly destroyed by a group of itinerant neo-hippy drummers and Peruvian flute players who had their country HQ in a shitty, squalid house behind the bungalows. Their constant percussive out of tune thumping noise and barking mangy dogs put paid to any chance of sleep unless you OD'ed on Laudanum. Screaming kids and families banging doors till the wee hours also did something to make us vow never to return to Koala Bungalows and we looked in envy to the Elysium north. The land of fairies and soft grass and Edelweiss and goats on a lonely hill.

Last weekend we booked in the Tau Boutique Resort on the northside and from the tranquility of our first morning's breakfast sipping our carrot and orange juice cocktail on the terrace we looked with disdain to the south and their people living in Roman Galley conditions.

More nice stuff after the jump

The Tau Boutique Resort is a group of wooden cabins set in a beautifully manicured garden of winding paths under trees that block out the light allowing only glimpses of sun to flare through the leaves. There is moist greenery everywhere and bird noises and LOUD evening insect noises and iguanas on roof tops and tranquility. Everything is different shades of green with no blousy colours and flowers to ruin the effect and the effect to me, at least, is a bit unsettling in a Hansel-and-Gretel-nursery-rhyme kind of way with the wooden cabins looking a bit like the house in the forest made of cake and candy housing a wicked witch.

The cabins are perfectly equipped in every way including the ever present TV set to SKY and its complimentary 3000 channels that our neighbours had so loud clicking through channels to find something decent to view that I had to bang on the wooden wall with a boot shaking the cabin to its foundations. Luckily I have found that in this country they generally comply and turn the fucking thing down. But if I was in London for instance they would soon be over to break your door down and beat the shit out of you for making a noise banging on their wall or ceiling. In London you have to phone the cops instead who come round eventually and they may beat the shit out of the perpetrators instead, one hopes anyway. Londoners are so intolerant and bad tempered with life in general. That's why we are so out of there.

Anyway after a morning constitution stroll in the humming gardens waiting for the rising sun to warm the air we jumped into the lake wrapped in life preservers and floated serenely through the misty waters observing at close quarters the fish popping up to the snatch damselflys as they dipped to drink or whatever it is they do on the surface and watching the clouds slowly disperse from the surrounding mountains.

Having your feet dangling below you in water that has no bottom can add a certain apprehension that lends a frisson to your sense of relaxation. Like; what the hell is down there in the water that doesn't stop till it reaches the centre of the earth, water that can at any time start to bubble with released gases then steam and heat which soon begins to boil and just as quickly an eruption which blows you and your life preserver and everyone relaxing poolside to kingdom come. What a spectacular way to go - boiled and flying through the air into the stratosphere.

As this is school holiday season the kids soon came out to play in the pool but as these are rich people's kids, the screaming was kept to a minimum and authority enforced. There must be a debate there: are rich kids less noisy than poor kids when left to themselves in a public swimming pool? But as I was raised in red brick institutions* from an early age that had bars on the small windows. Institutions where corporal punishment and the whipping of bare arses was de rigueur and the Victorian adage of 'kids should be seen and not heard' was a rule and enforced with more whipping, I totally agree with a tight regime of keeping kids quiet when they are playing in a public space. (*Yes the brick institution was a children's workhouse. When I was aged 4 years old I was roaming bare-footed the cobbled streets of East London and was accused of stealing an apple core from the human waste encrusted canal adjacent and as that was deemed as official property I was given a choice to be shipped to the colonial USA to be a highly paid Goldman Sachs assistant CEO or be thrown in a workhouse for life. I naturally chose the workhouse.)

View of the southside from the luxury of the northside

This is a place I could easily return to and probably will again when school holidays are over and for all the people of romantic inclination, one can book before hand and have a waiter place a table and two chairs lakeside surrounded by Roman torches where you can cuddle and smooch in full view of the rest of the unromantic guests having their dinners in the overlooking wooden restaurant. Guests whose romance in their lives has long since disappeared, drying up and shriveling in the desert of their now mundane relationships. Well that is the way, I am sure, they secretly see themselves when they look down on this fresh couple canoodling by the lake. But as you can notice it seems even romance cannot get in the way of checking out what is happening on your mobile communications gadget or immediately sending a picture of this occasion to Facebook so all your friends can say aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in immediate response.

Get me out of here before I begin a tirade on romance and Facebook and undisciplined brats.

All images ©2012 Matt Mawson

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