June 29, 2012 by farbolino
Almost three years ago I had just begun my 5 month trip through Central America which started in Panama. I found myself staying on a small Caribbean island named Bocas del Toro for a little over two weeks. The main draw to this place for me was there was really nothing to do at all except lay around in the sun all day and read a book, then party at night.
My favorite bar there was Aqua Lounge which required a $1 boat ride to reach since it was on a neighboring island. Why was it my favorite? 1.) A trampoline in the ocean. 2.) A cut out in the deck so people could jump in the salty water below. 3.) Ladies drink for free before 11 on Wednesday nights, which happen to be the best night to go there.
Halloween was just around the corner, but I didn’t have my usual suit with a Superman t-shirt underneath to transform into the super lame costume of Clark Kent. I always liked dressing a suit, so why not do it on Halloween too? So now I had to find a real costume though; which wasn’t really a possibility on this small island. For the first time in my life I went through the trouble of actually making a costume. Where the Wild Things Are was all the rage in 2009, so I decided to be Max, despite the fact that the little boy who plays Max in the movie is way cuter then I am.
Considering I made the costume myself, (OK OK! I had the cleaning ladies at the hostel sew it for me…) I think I did pretty damn good. I bought a large grey sheet and cut the whole thing from that. The hat was made from paper in case you couldn’t guess.
I made friends with some Canadians (Mark and Chris) at the hostel who decided to come with me to this epic party at Aqua Lounge. Everything was going swimmingly until Mark decided to dive head first into a shallow pool in the back of the bar. Did I say it was shallow? Yeah…maybe 2 feet deep. He was hammered, and thought it was significantly deeper. He emerged from the water bleeding profusely from his skull, yet seemed to be in no pain, or even realize he had blood oozing down his face.
Luckily someone was sober enough to realize this could be an emergency and thought maybe Mark should go to a hospital. It certainly wasn’t my idea, as I just stood there in shock. It wasn’t Marks idea either, because I remember him arguing that he should be allowed to stay at the party. Chris started to freak out a little bit, so I told them I would go too. So all three of us shove into a little 5 hp boat and jet off to the main island as fast as possible, where there was NOT an ambulance waiting for us. At least we didn’t have to pay the $1 each to get back to the main island…
After some time we finally heard the ambulance coming, but Mark was so drunk that he thought it was a cop or something and that he was going to get in trouble, so he started to run away! Chris and I had to catch him and calm him down. We got him in the ambulance and I think this is when we all realized the humor of the situation. Mark was nearly naked because he jumped in with just his underwear on, and I was dressed as Max and still had my beer from the party with me, which no one in the ambulance seemed to mind. So we passed the beer around and laughed that we were being rushed to a 3rd world hospital while sharing a beer and wearing halloween costumes. The driver probably thought we were insane for laughing while our friend was still gushing blood.
We arrive to the hospital where no one spoke English. At the time, my spanish was miserable, and Mark’s and Chris’ non existent. We struggled to communicate with the doctor, but in fact he didn’t want Chris or I around at all. He had a security guard escort us into another room while he attempted to stitch up Mark without anesthesia since he had been drinking too much. In this other room there were pills, needles, surgical equipment and god knows what else, and no one to supervise us. Lucky for them we were mature enough not to touch anything 😉
Soon after Mark emerges with his stitched up head under some bandages and with dried blood still on his face and neck. It looked like a much better costume than the life guard outfit he’d been wearing earlier in the night. It might also to be of importance to note that Mark wasn’t charged a dime for the Ambulance or the hospital visit.
We walked back to the hostel where we dropped Mark off to rest, and Chris and I tried to find another party to go to. Unfortunately the rest of the night wasn’t as memorable as the first half, and only involved us trying to jump a fence to a party we weren’t invited to and us being caught and ceremonially kicked out.
I’ll never forget what it feels like to drink a beer in an Ambulance with the sirens blaring as we raced to the hospital.