We roll in and out of Cuernos just in time, equally lucky at day end as at day break, for we manage to snag one of the last tent platforms overlooking lake and mountain … and, more importantly, we manage a game of cat and mouse with Mr. Payment, dodging out of having to cough up CP$8,000 for the night thanks to my oh-so-timely “need” to visit the loo.
Not that we do this intentionally, er, at least, not wholly, for I attempt to pay at shower time, even going so far as removing my shoes, please, to enter the building and poney up the Chilenos, but I am denied, and thus so, I follow the signs for a shower and do just that, hot water a jacuzzi of muscle massage.
All of this, totally illegal, I find, for the looks my fellow ladies give me are due to the fact that I clearly trespass into refugio territory, me nothing more than a camper and therefore, technically, not privy to the shower room I accidentally stumble into.
But, not really, because once back to the world of outdoor cooking and cleaning, I find my campmates queuing for the one-room shower, more of a mud fest than a clean fest, and compared to them, I shine like a megawatt grill.
No matter, for my skin might be clean but my clothes are most definitely not, the stench of four days of moisture and exertion sure to impregnate my squeaky clean soap smell, goddamnit, especially once coupled with the smoky aroma of communal cooking.
Oh well, at least the beachside hysterics continue, for now that we know their names, Nick and Sam and Emma and Kat are truly a riot, their cauldron of rice no match for a thimble of salt and pot of peanut sauce, dinner for tonight and all eternity.
We watch with amusement, for our five-minute mushroom risotto is actually quite tasty and definitely not enough this evening, so when I go to make a follow up pot of quinoa and dried cherry tomatoes, I almost puke in my mouth because, ick, never in my wildest dreams would I think these dehydrated tomatoes anything other than puckered veggies, but, oh no, they are candied, definitely meant to be enjoyed as sweets, not sustenance, and disgusting, for even I frown at this truly horrid concoction.
And, then, the cherry on top pops at 2 AM, me roused from our tent by nature’s call and by the nightclub ambiance emanating from the kitchen space, Cuernos staff clearly enjoying a bottle or five of fire water, screaming and throwing dice as if they most definitely are not in the company of people planning to be up-and-at-em at dawn, and just then, I know we are golden, for no way in hell is one of these partying fools going to wake up in time to collect much of anything other than a few more hours of shut-eye.