The Old Hag

Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, April 9, 2012

I've woken up to be dragged out of bed and bundled onto a bus to Banos by Paddy.  He's not standing on ceremony and wants to put serious distance between himself and this crack den.  I'm all over the shop as I say my goodbyes to the new hostel buddies, ooze into a taxi and scrape myself onto a bus.  The fear is well and truly setting in as well pull away to sanctuary.

Paddy and I bonded in Salento over sharing a similar experience with night terrors.  Usually after a big night out or a weekend bender, a phenomenon called "The Old Hag" would come and visit.  After being subjected to a few of these episodes, I did some research and found out that this has been going on for centuries.  People used to believe an old woman was sitting on your chest and taking your soul as you slept.  That's exactly what it feels like.  You're trying to wake, you know you're sleeping, but something is stopping you open your eyes.  It's truly terrifying and strangely interesting at the same time.  When you finally snap out of it, you always wake as if you've been underwater, emitting a loud gasp for air.  "BHHHHAAAAAAAH!"  "GGGGAAAAAAAGGHHH!"  "NNNGGGGGGNNNAAAAHHHHHHHH!"  Etcetera, etcetera.  It is this that the two of us find endlessly hilarious.

Now I'm stuck on a bus watching an appalling film dubbed into Spanish with the terror setting in.  Always after I've been on the sauce does it take hold.  Akin to Nightmare on Elm Street, I'm terrified of falling asleep in case I'll meet my doom.  I shift uncomfortably in the seat while the bus spurs on through unremarkable towns.  It's nightfall by the time we make it into what we think is Banos, hail a cab, and trawl the streets looking for a nice hostel. After finding suitable digs, cursing I'm on a top bunk again, and eating a blue cheese steak, there is little more to do than crash out, ready to start the road to recovery tomorrow.  That's if I make it through another battle with the hag.
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