• Joanna

Missing! Floaties & Margaritas

Last night I got to see one of my old favourite people... Hjalmar.


He's in his late 40's now and has a family, but he's still my old friend, Hjalmar.

He was the cousin of the family, and stayed at our house as well, going to university the year I was there.  God- a LOT of people fit in to that tiny house!

Me and Mari in one room, Duval and Hjalmar in another, Mami & Papi in their room and the maid (or occasionally maid & her daughter... or two maids) in the small room off the kitchen.

Looking back at my old memory books from my year in Guayaquil, I found excerpts like;


"Woke up late today, kinda bored... fought with Hjalmar, played Super Mario Brothers and ignored him the entire time."


"Decided that I hate Hjalmar and I probably won't speak to him for the rest of my time here."


"Hjalmar is the most annoying person I've ever met." 


There were quite a few entries like this.  More about my younger brother, Duvalito... but still lots about Hjalmar too! 


As much as we fought(and believe me, it was all stupid,) but still, to this day, I consider Hjalmar the best friend I had in Ecuador.  He was one of those guys that would drive me anywhere I needed to go, pick me up later, deal with me drunk(no small task for any of you that have been in a similar position), change the channel if I was bored watching his show, listen to MY music and all my dumb stories, play Super Mario Brothers with me all afternoon, explain the soap operas to me when I was confused... and basically just be a friend.  This was important to me, being so young, so far away from home and sometimes a little bit lonely.  

Most importantly, he was never afraid to call me out on my shit.  That can be a good thing and a bad thing... but reminiscing now, I'll go with'good thing.'


It was also Hjalmar that promised me Ceviche con Camaron(or the Galapagos... however you wish to look at it)- and did NOT deliver.  I have chosen to forgive him though, as he recently had some issues in his neck and back- and had to have day surgery while I was here.  I thought that I wouldn't get the opportunity to visit with him, but we did... albeit brief.


We laughed a lot and mostly he just brought up embarrassing things that I did and said when I was 18.  He remembered that I wouldn't ever let him call ME an 'asshole' (even when I was probably being one) because obviously that word was solely set aside for the purpose of insulting / describing 'men'... not ladies, such as myself... and he also brought up the fact that for almost an entire year, all I ate was spaghetti and butter.  I'd forgotten about that doozie...

I've been're-promised'the Ceviche Camaron... when I return in another 26 years.  I told him that maybe I'd just take the money and buy it myself.


I went to the pool today.  Yep... there is a pool here and I can't believe that I didn't pay more attention to it earlier.  It's awesome.  I can honestly say that there only things really missing are the cabanas, the complimentary towels, the margarita bar and the floatation devices that hold your margaritas while you laze around.


When I first arrived, I just lied down on the plastic chair and read / listened to music for about an hour.  Then I decided it was time for a dip and maybe I'd sit on the steps and read my book...

By the way, I'm reading Furiously Happy.  It's brilliant.  Highly recommended.


But No... the'lifeguard'... and I use that word loosely, because besides myself, he was the only one there.  Just some guy, studying what appeared to be an Algebra textbook and listening to music.  He stopped me before I could even get close to the pool and made me go back to the house and get Mari to have her vouch for me,


For saftey?  Sign me in?

I don't know.

Mari did come back with me and later explained to me that many people try to scam the system by sneaking in only to use the pool.

I'm baffled.


So... basically I'm a pasty white, chubby Gringa, with limited vocabulary, who has somehow masterminded the art of breaking in to a gated and patrolledcommunity facility for the sole purpose of sitting half in and half out of a public pool, while I read a book on the amusement & complexities of mental illness.


It seems to go hand in hand.


Anyway... I'm burnt to a crisp now.  It's awful... and when I say'awful,'I mean that it's not only awful to look at, but awful to live with.

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