I missed my bus last night.
They've only had electricity here for about a year and such as it was in my cabaña, it wasn't going to recharge my camera battery. Emiliano kindly agreed to plug it in in his kitchen and then vanished for the rest of the day, locking the door behind him.
By the time he reappeared at 9:20pm I had already mentally committed myself to a night in a hammock and doused myself in appropriate quantities of DEET. I still had a chance to make it to the OCC bus station in Pochutla, he insisted. So I set off down the hill in the a pitch blackness relieved only by the candles flickering in the boneyard. I did manage to find a taxi driver, but he was lolling on top of his g/f and when he stood up he twice stumbled to his left. Steadying himself, he asked for three times the going rate for the drive and then, looking wistfully at the woman still swinging gently in the hammock, he resolutely embarked on a bid to convince me that such a mad dash to the bus station would end in almost certain failure. By this time I only had sufficient pesos for one successful break-out.
And so I stumbled back up the hill and claimed a spot in the 'Tortuga' cabaña underneath my penthouse of the night before. The combination of powerful standing fan and mosquito net is one I am yet to master.
Shortly after dawn I spotted Emiliano loitering outside. When I opened the door he called me over to a little bench overlooking the bay and offered me a drag on his porrito, as one might offer such a thing to a condemned man. From the look he adopted before opening his mouth I imagined he might be about to inform me that the Islamaniacs had finally done it and that all my friends and family back in London were now floating on the breeze as so many specs of radioactive dust. But no, it is in fact this country that is 'so fokkedopp', he informed me. In short there was a paro nacional, a general strike. All buses were halted and roadblocks erected from here to Tapachula. Orale!
Two extra nights in paradise I thought. Tant pis?
Enter clouds stage left...
Still, if I had made that bus last night I'd be stuck in Tuxtla right now, a circumstance that barely bears thinking about.
By the end of breakfast Emiliano had informed me that his abuelo was a Colonel in the Guatemalan army, that his father was a radical and that he himself had grown up in a refugee camp in Chiapas. He also told me that he knew I was working for MI5!
Today's mission has been to find an ATM within 60 pesos of Mazunte so I can pay Emiliano for his Mayan bitter hot choc and Huevos a la Mexicana...and for another night in Tortuga. This was accomplished a little way up the coast in Puerto Angel, an otherwise missable destination where they also have payphones so I could call V and try to persuade her not to issue me with my P45 just yet.
Mazunte is certainly the key beauty spot on the coast. Not a lot seems to happen here in the evenings. Every day a girl comes up to me on the beach and hands me a little leaflet promoting some sort of activity in a bar. She's so beautiful - penninsular Spanish or from the Cono Sur - that each time I feel a pang of embarrassment for her that she had has to interact like this with random people such as myself. And 'Live Music' here tends to mean some dreadlocked dickhead from Michegan banging on a West African drum.
But there is one amazing, and gratis, bit of nightlife here the like of which I have never come across in all my years in Central America: star-gazing. Across this peerless night sky, so bright as to almost leave a perpendicular anti-shadow across the glimmering sands, stretches the Milky Way, like some giant celestial roll-bar.