Call me old and I’ll smack you

Our local nightclub resembles the opening scene of a bad 1980s film.

It is impossibly hot and glows with lime green strobe lighting.

The toilets are filled with discarded cigarette butts and the cubicles shake and thump in time to the beat of the too-loud music.

The dance floor is sunken and tiled with huge black and white squares.

Occasionally the dancers will flop onto the low sofas dotted either side of them or stumble up a step to the single long bar at the back.

The DJ has his own elevated pulpit and regularly has the urge to ‘shout out’ for the single ladies and, heaven forbid, anyone from ‘Lon-don’.

Weirdly, the place also functions as a sports club. If you peer through the gloom you can glimpse the faded pennants and dusty trophies attached to the walls.

Welcome to La Isla.

I was on my way into this nightclub with Pippa and some volunteers from the highlands on Saturday, when a man in his fifties asked me to have sex with him.

For some reason this irritated me more than it usually would.

“No,” I said crossly.

I decided to give my reasons in my broken Spanish.

“That is not polite,” I continued.

“You are old. I am young.

“You are a bad man.”

I paid my 70p club entrance fee and forgot all about it.

But after two hours of dancing I thought I might die from heatstroke so forced my way outside to recover.

I was standing alone when Bad Man appeared. He looked even drunker.

I instinctively moved closer to a group of island lads, who seemed to be in their mid twenties, and tried not to look like a tall, blonde foreigner.

Bad Man didn’t fall for my disguise and started screaming at me.

He looked like he was going to lunge at me when one of the lads stepped forward.

“Don’t say anything,” he said to me, in excellent English.

“He’s really drunk. He said he’s going to punch you.”

My mouth fell open.

“What?” I said.

“I barely said anything to him.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” he replied.

“But he’s drunk and he’s an idiot.”

Fortunately, Bad Man was dispatched (I’m not sure he would have managed a punch anyway) and I managed to slip back into the club, grateful for two things.

Firstly, my ‘brother’ Milton was with us inside. Milton is a kind and gentle soul who doesn’t say much, but surely all Latinos have that fire inside them.

Secondly, a lot of my friends on this island are masters at Tae Kwondo (you may remember my own efforts here at mastering the roundhouse kick)

Funnily enough, I ended up dancing with one of them.

The worst thing about clubs here is that you cannot dance alone.

I usually dance with family members or with Pippa. Latino men can be very possessive so you have to choose your partners carefully.

But no-one was around and Pippa was dancing with one of our school PE teachers.

I was in danger of being abandoned to the sharks until one of the Tae Kwondo lads appeared and I gratefully accepted.

I later found out he was only 17.

Oddly, that’s probably a good thing.

The lads are in awe of the Tae Kwondo coach so always extremely respectful to us.

Similarly, maybe they are just too young to be as sleazy as their older counterparts.

The only part of me he touched for the next hour or so was my hands (funnily enough, not all of the men here realise that is all you need for salsa)

It meant I was safe until the DJ played his three token Western songs.

Only in Ecuador is dancing with a teenager the best option.

The club doesn’t close until 3am but after the reprieve of Bon Jovi and Oasis, around 2.45am, there was a fight on the dancefloor so they decided to call it a night.

I grabbed a lift home with Milton and woke up to find Pippa in bed with me.

Apparently she’d come in to gossip with me at around 4am, laid down and found herself too comfortable to crawl across the hall to her own room.

Not bad considering it’s a single bed.

We had a huge breakfast and went giant tortoise hunting before enjoying a picnic on a secluded beach on the other side of the island.

I didn’t think about the nightclub again until last night.

We were out in our favourite café, listening to a Galapagoan play guitar when one of the musician’s friends turned to me.

“I saw you in La Isla on Saturday,” he said.

“Of course you did,” I thought.

“There are only five permanent volunteers in this town.

“I’m practically a celebrity.”

“I asked you to dance,” he continued.

“But you said no.”

“Oh sorry,” I said automatically, not feeling particularly sorry.

“Then my little brother asked you to dance and you said yes.”

Oh.

“I know your brother from Tae Kwondo,” I shrugged.

“I know,” he replied.

“But it’s a problem for me, because he hasn’t let me forget it.”

He sighed.

“It’s lucky I love my little brother.”

I had to laugh then, because the situation was just so dire.

It would be nice if someone told me the exact moment I turned into Stiffler’s Mom.

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