Written by Emily
Our last day in Gandoca began in the usual fashion, but today with the addition of a delightful tropical storm to augment the times. Rach and I sighed, checked the time on Abby´s alarm clock, and finding it was a sweet five to nine (today´s hatchery work being scheduled for nine) leapt (or rather fell and disentangled ourselves) out of our ´beds´and mosquito nets, whacked on rain jackets and ran across the station to the kitchen. Breakfast was stuffed down in an intense panic, until we peered outside to see that a. the rain had stopped, and also made way for blazing sunshine to blast it´s way through the clouds and b. all the locals and volunteers just hanging out basking in it´s rays and not looking at all like they were on the cusp of any kind of physical labour at all.
A few minutes later, and we found ourselves with Jairo, Abby and Rachel, setting off down the path for a shift unlike any other. Today, there would be no seiving, raking, clearing beaches or playing football. Today our job was ´putting up posters´. We had, between the five of us, four posters to stick on the village noticeboard and the side of the shop, with a rusty, 1950s stapler to aid the process. After the first two were attached at an incredibly jaunty angle, we proceeded to royally screw up the stapling of the other two, with mangled staples sticking out at every angle. Laughing at our incompetence, Jairo remedied this situation by taking out a hearty blade from his shorts, and began to chisle away at the mess. Upon this I commented ´er, that´s a very casual thing to just have about your person Jairo...´but of course he did not understand my concerned statement, and carried merrily on.
Once our shoddy attempts had been rectified by Jairo and his blade, we arrived back at the station to find it a hive of activity. Most people had set about raking. Just raking around. Others were cutting things with the highly hazardous station chainsaw. Just as the four of us were about to sit down for a well-earned rest after the poster labour, Jairo made a hearty gesture for Rachel (not Hunter) and I to follow him upstairs to the upper-station floor. He then explained to us, in Spanish of course, that we needed to rip up a highly dangerous floorboard and replace it as it was a health hazard. I think the real health hazard in this situation occurred as he handed us both a hammer and left us to our own devices.
With much screaming, hacking, disparing and help from Rach and Abby shoving the board from underneath the station, Rachel and I finally, with intense effort and falling backwards as we did so, ripped up the offending board. By this time, we had drawn quite an audience, including Joao, Elias and Toe-shoes, who were all seated on the upper-floor watching our DIY prowess and heartily laughing and backseat-building. Jairo then threw up a tape-measure from below, and asked us to measure the gap. The dialogue for this ridiculous moment went like this-
Rachel-´Ok Emily, move it to the end of the gap.´
Me-´Oh, are we measuring the gap not the plank we ripped up?´
Rachel-´Oh, er i´m not sure actually...´
Elias-´Oh my God.´
Rachel-´Jairo, es el...gap?´
Jairo-´¿Que? ¡Mida el boquete!´
Toe-shoes-´Look, you´re doing it wrong, you need the tape at the very end!´
Me-´Toe-shoes, do you wanna step up??´
Toe-shoes-´No, no way, Jairo said it was specifically a job for the girls!´
Me-´Well shut the hell up and keep you Toe-shoes opinions to yourself!´
Rachel-´¡Jairo, es 246cm!´
(A hearty roar from the chainsaw is heard)
Toe-shoes-´Check it again to make sure!´
Me-´You are treading on thin, thin ice in those Toe-shoes of yours mate.´
(We measure it again anyway)
Rachel-´Oh, it´s 248cm. ¡Er, Jairo, dos mas!´
Me-¡Si, dos mas, es 248!´
Rachel-´Oh, no wait, it´s two less not more that we need, ¡Jairo, dos menos!´
Jairo (holding roaring chainsaw aloft)-¿Que?
Somehow, miraculously, we got the board all nice and nailed in place. A job that would have taken Jairo about ten seconds to do himself, had taken me, Rach, Rachel, Abby, Archie and of course Toe-shoes a good 40 minutes. But it was done.
Due to our imminent leaving of the project, Rach, Elias and I decided that after our last rice ´n beans lunch ever, we would make the short trip over to the pay phone and organise some accomodation for the following night in San Jose. Using Rachel´s phone card to pick up the tab, we dialed the number of our fave passport-losing hostel, Casa Yoses. After a few minutes of discussion with the receptionist at the other end, Rach hung up the phone, and explained to me that there was no room there, but the receptionist was ringing another nearby hostel to book us in there, and would call us back with the details. We settled ourself down for a small wait.
About 15 minutes later, sitting in the scorching heat next to the phone which was conspicuous by it´s silence, we were mighty pissed off. Rach decided to take matters into her own (ridiculously) fair hands, and called Casa Yoses back herself. The foillowing dialogue was recounted to me by her afterwards-
Rach-´Hi yeah, er you said you´d call Hostel Bekuo and then call us back..´
Receptionist-´I did call them, you have a room.´
Rach-´That´s great, but you said you´d call us back...´
Receptionsit-´I did call them´
Rach-´No, but you were supposed to call them and then us to tell us what they said!´
Receptionist-Í did call them´
After a bit more of the same ludicrous conversation, Rach just went ´fine, ok whatever, thank you´and slammed the phone back onto the holder. We both then looked at each other and screamed ´FOR f***´S SAKE!!!!´ It was a moment of intense, communal annoyance.
The rest of that afternoon passed in a much less stressfull haze, with me and Elias hanging out in our well-worn hammock, with little Dennilson (Sheila the cook´s son) for company, swinging around the hammock, clambering immensely dangerously up into the wooden beams of the station, showing us various bits of wood/insects/small animals he had found on the jungle floor and chatting away to us in Spanish. It was quite the tranquil scene, until we actually decided to listen to what he was chattering about, and learnt that he was in fact informing us of detailed plans he had made to creep into my room at night and cut my head off. Let´s just say i was left praying for an over-running patrol that night.
My last ever patrol crew consisted of Joao, Sue, Abby and Elias, and were all present and correct for a good old bit of early Sector A at half seven that night. Due to a distinct lack of torch on Sue and Elias´part, and the fact that mine ceased to function halfway through the patrol, the night consisted mainly of each of us falling down holes or tripping over beach crap alternately. As the four hours were drawing to a close, and the five of us were hanging out on a mouldering log, Abby asked if she could wait for us to do the last walk as she had a hearty stomach ache. Joao agreed to this, and then asked if any of us wanted to stay with her. Tired and bruised from many a tree-root/log/turtle/sand hole that had ensnared me that night, I volunteered, but then asked in a concerned manner, ´you won´t be annoyed if i don´t go with you though will you?´Joao looked at me in a derogatory manner, and replied ´well, no, it´s fine, it´s just if i find a turtle who am I gonna call? Ghostbusters?´
Rach and I crawled into bed that night dreaming dreams of sandless extremities and clean clothes. San Jose was in for quite the bad-smelling shock when we rocked back.