I had never been in the Surf Ranch before and only had a vague idea of where it was. We drove out of town in our quad, nicknamed the green monster both for its size and the terrible noise it makes. Eyes follow us as we drive by, Alex at the wheel (handlebars?), me behind. After taking the road that leads to the southern beaches, we followed the sign onto a dirt road. Bumpy dirt roads are what the monster is made for and I could feel Alex picking up the pace. We bumped along, Alex revelling in it, me just trying to stay on. After particularly hard bumps, Alex turned around to check that I was still hanging on. The rains had left giant puddles, providing a temptation that would be hard for him to resist. I could picture us plowing through the water, waves of muddy water inevitably soaking us both. He only hesitated a moment before carefully going around.
The party was already underway when we arrived, expats filling the pool deck and, in true expat fashion, the bar. All ages were represented, children of all ages playing in the pool, retirees, young couples, single people. The bartenders were running around with grim expressions on their faces, desperately trying to keep up with the voracious alcohol demands of the horde that had descended upon them. After waiting twenty minutes for my first drink, a margarita, I decided to take pity on the poor guys and drink beer for the rest of the day.
Don't drop the apple!
Boisterous conversation, punctuated with laughter, bubbled over everywhere. Snippets of conversations floated my way, no small amount of it about the newly elected President Trump. Despite this, spirits were high, and aided by the alcohol, continued to climb. People mingled and chatted. Old friends caught up, even if it had only been days since they had seen each other last. New acquaintances were made, the fabric of the community continually weaving together tighter.
After giving the adults a chance to get adequately lubricated, the games began. Classics like pass the apple (with your neck), get the cookie in your mouth (with your face), sucking skittles (with a straw) and treading a spaghetti noodle through a penne noodle using only your mouth (you know, that old game). Teams and rivalries were quickly made and the spectators cheered them on enthusiastically.
The Skittles Sucking Game
Eventually the games came to an end. There were winners and losers, not that anyone cared much. The prizes given out and the sun starting to set. People began to trickle away, off in search for supper. Saying goodbye to our friends, we got back onto the Green Monster and roared away. I was left with a feeling of contentment (or/and drunkenness?) that I belong to this community, people from all over who made a choice to be here and to build a new community far from home. We motored through the darkness, my stomach rumbling. I turned my thoughts away from the party and onto the burrito I was going to eat when I got home.