Poncho and Pierre.

Wyatt bought a poncho. If you were an 18 year old Colorado boy traveling across South America, i guess you’d do the same. It looks hilarious though, when all of us are down to our minimums, dude bobbing his head to the tunes playing in his beats by dre, huge poncho sweeping the floor, walking around the bar like a P.I.M.P… leaves us all silent for a few seconds.

‘Wyatt, how did you find us?’, Eliana, trying to fill out her forms and all those multiple choice questions that marketing types usually fill out.

‘Just walked in from the beach.’

That’s not among the multiple choices so Eliana frowns.

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When i got to Mancora last week, i had no roomies at the hostel. In fact, the entire hostel had only 3 people living in it. Gabrielle, Lisa, and me. Pierre joined us 2 days later, the same day Wyatt moved in. Gabrielle and Lisa, the couple, shared a dorm. Gabry was the bar manager, and Lisa worked the bar too.

Soon Pierre and I took over bar duties as well. So we were the only 4 people at the bar, making drinks for ourselves. Eliana’s the manager of the hostel, and the staff includes Rosa the chef, Rosa the cleaning lady, Fiorella the cute day receptionist, Isaak the night receptionist, and Percy the bouncer/security. Every alternate woman in South America is a Maria, btw.

Three days later, Gabry splits for Ecuador, and Lisa leaves in another week. So, Pierre and I get promoted to bar managers.

A decade ago if you’d told me i’d be bar manager at a beach hostel resort in Mancora, Peru, i might have given you the benefit of doubt. But if you’d told me i’d be at work before 9 am every day, i’d have called you a lunatic. It’s true though. I do the morning shift cos i can’t seem to sleep beyond 8 am anymore. This is a far cry from the last decade that i was working… waking up any time between 10 and 11 am, sometimes 2 pm. I have actually managed to shock myself this time.

Up by 8, dive into the pool, grab an awesome breakfast of omelettes and fresh juice that Rosa seems to pour a lot of love into when she’s cooking for me, and I’m ready for the day. My shift starts at 10 and ends by 3. But i hang around at the bar until 1 am cos this is actually the best place in Mancora to hang out, The Point Hostel. We get visitors every day coming in for our happy hours, food, books, pool, pool table, volleyball, ping pong, beer pong, poker, champions league screenings, weekend football… People from all around the world, most of whom don’t know where Bombay is. But when you tell them, they have a look of shock on their face like ‘HOW DID YOU GET HERE’.

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Pierre’s a 22 year old French boy. He reminds me a lot of Bhatia. Of course you guessed French when i mentioned his name earlier, i hope. Filled to the brim with sarcasm, wry humour, rude towards most people, smokes pot all day, pissed off if you disturb his ‘Dr Who’ sessions, seems like his folks baptised him with a vat of LSD…and generally just French. He keeps weighing the kittens under the bar every day and updating me. I’ve told him a hundred times not to touch the kittens but he won’t listen.

Holy shit Bhatman, Bhatia should’ve been born French.

Lisa’s here another 2 days, and then it’s just him and me managing this bar for the next month. Basically, we manage each other. As i type this out, he’s actually sitting at the bar filling out a joint.

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When the whole conversation (‘meeting’) of taking over as bar managers was going down between Eliana, Pierre and me, i thought why not… free room, free food, 40% off at the bar for the rare occasion i feel like drinking. Yup, i’m a changed man.

Eliana read us a sort of contract. One that mentioned how to behave with guests, how not to be drunk at the bar, not to do drugs at the bar, not to give free drinks for sexual favours, not to have sex at the bar, etc. Pierre was most concerned about the being nice to guests bit.

‘I can’t be nice all the time i’m working, eez jest a warning. If they come and talk to me when i count drinks or making accounts, i weel not be nice. And exactly what drugs are not allowed? Are you paying me’

‘Of course, bar managers get paid.’

‘Oh, ok, i can be nice then. You should have said at the begeening that you  pay me.’ Then he whispers in my ear, ‘You ok with that?’.

‘Yeah’.

‘What’s that?’, Eliana.

‘Nothing, eez jest a meeting within a meeting. Ya, we’ll do it.’

Next week, this resort will be full till the new year. Fingers crossed.

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About johnny b

dj, writer, traveler, moonwalker, headbanger, mind expander, yoga instructor. View all posts by johnny b

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