Race Weekend, Part 1: Sometimes I Get Madonna Songs Stuck In My Head

There was this Madonna song called "La Isla Bonita" that used to be on the radio when I was little. It was about shirtless guys and alcohol, so we listened to it a lot at my house. It's kind of a cool song if you like synthesizers and sweet nothings whispered in Spanish. I like both of those things, and also Whiskas. But most of all I like it when those three things happen at the same time.

Last weekend, I went with some good friends to run a race on Isla Ometepe, an island on Lake Nicaragua. The race was pretty fun, but so was the boat you have to take to get to the island. The whole way out there I had that Madonna song stuck in my head. There are worse things to have stuck in your head, like arrows.

The boat was called "Karen Maria" and it mostly floated. I have long felt that Karen Maria is a solid name for both a boat and a lady that makes above average taco meat.

This is the Karen Maria. That blue cylinder on the roof was filled with shark chum that you can throw into the water if the boat comes under attack by bull sharks. The chum distracts them. It is a little known fact that bull sharks abound in Lake Nicaragua. Bull sharks only do two things: eat your children and swim around thinking about eating your children. I read that in 3-2-1 Contact when I was little.

Most people on the Karen Maria were tired, like this guy. Here he is thinking, "I can't get wifi out here on Lake Nicaragua because the bull sharks are eating it all, so I might as well try to sleep."

These two youngsters, however, loved each other so much that they couldn't sleep. While everyone around snoozed or scowled glumly at the creaking blue timbers of the Karen Maria, these two laughed gaily, clearly thinking of synthesizers, sweet nothings whispered in Spanish, and Whiskas.

Passengers on the Karen Maria rode in style, but they couldn't go poo. This is the boat's only bathroom, and it's only for going pee. If you have to go poo, you have to go in the water and hope that you're not your children, or else the bull sharks will eat you.

Later, after we docked on Ometepe, our sweet young couple didn't want to leave the Karen Maria, because why would you want to leave unless you needed to poo? They did not need to poo. I glanced over at them and thought of that Madonna song -- not the one about poo -- but the one about pretty islands and sun blindness: beautiful faces, no cares in this world, where a girl loves a boy and a boy loves a girl. The Karen Maria rocked gently and the bull sharks swam gracefully beneath us, A Spanish lullaby. The kind with Whiskas. Yum.