Tender Foot

From up in the treehouse, the sound was unmistakable. Whatever was making this pack of dogs carry on the way they were, just didn’t sound right. I had heard it a few days back, but didn’t think too much of it. Then I heard it again on Saturday, off and on for about an hour. When I heard it a third time, I was glad PC was around to “four-leg” this pressing matter.

It didn’t sound like barks from physical abuse. It didn’t sound like dogs guarding anything. It didn’t sound like fighting dogs either. It sounded like dogs that were crying out for a better life. It sounded bad, and it began to chisel away at both our hearts. Something had to give!

It was Sunday late afternoon, and Sundays are an entirely different day all together. Sundays around here you can feel in the air. Sundays you can smell. Sundays are for family. Sundays are special.

Papa Chango had been drinking, so he knew from the onset that he(we) weren’t going to do anything that even remotely resembled confrontation. He asked if I’d come with him to have a look. Gulp! I got wide eyed and I wished I could say no, but I couldn’t. The sounds were consuming my thought, and PC had a certain venomous look in his eye as well. It was on!

PC had a can of beer in his hand. Both of us put on flip flops. Both of us had on colorful board shorts. No shirts. It was hot. We walked 60 ft down our dirt road. We turned left and walked 100 feet up another dirt road. We then turned right and walked onto a third dirt road, and then right again ont0 a fourth. Although we were really only 100 meters from the treehouse,(as the crow flies) we might as well have been in Timbuktu.

I stayed five feet behind PC as we approached two Mexican women and a few of their offspring. He asked real politely if they knew where those dog sounds were coming from. They said they hadn’t heard a thing, and they didn’t appear to be in any hurry to help either. There was some tension in the air. At least in my air. The dogs had now gone silent and we were deep in the Oaxacan thicket.

As we slowly proceeded past the ladies, the dog cries came again, and PC became more poised and possessed to get to the bottom of it. Not the very bottom. He said the very bottom would come at another time on another day. Right now though, he needed to see with his own eyes what exactly was making the noise, where it was being made, and why. Me? I was ready to head back to the tree after the second dirt road. This was a creepy ass mission from the start, and my feet were feeling tender.

The fourth road just kind of ended into a pile of river rock gravel. At this point, you could feel there were eyeballs on us coming from all angles. Giant vultures paroling overhead too. The heart-wrenching dog sounds continued, and we were honing in on the exact area. We then stumbled on a woman in her mid-60’s, perhaps older, using a machete down in a ravine area of sorts. PC said something polite. She smiled. She might have even blushed. Using her blade, she turned and pointed. I said Gracias and Adios about a hundred times.

The sounds were now only 10 feet away, yet that’s all they were, just sounds. Bad sounds. Cries for help. Real stuff. Still though, we couldn’t see exactly what was making them. Then came the moment. How can I forget? Like the beast he is, PC stood on the dangling, low lying ,barbed wire. He grabbed a nearby tree, and swung himself onto some rubble on the other side. He then ducked under some kind of giant tangled bush, and walked directly to the source. He was out of my sight.

He made direct eye contact with all three dogs that were short tied up, and whose living conditions were considerably less than ideal. Immediately I heard the canine pitch change. The change in pitch served me well. The dogs were now barking at PC. As he told me after we got back, his goal from the onset was to show that he wasn’t intimidated to go where no Gringo man had gone before. Noted.

No more than one minute later, he hopped back over the barbed wire. I noticed he was bleeding pretty good from his shin. Blood doesn’t affect Papa Chango like it does you and me. The three dogs continued to bark at us as we left the crime scene and headed back to the treehouse. After about 10 minutes, it went quiet for good. To be continued..

Working for the Weekend

It’s Friday night in the Mexican tropics, and I’ve had my share of cold beer. It’s a full moon and I feel like howling. Not as much as I feel like itching though. Must resist the temptation! The skin goes through an adjustment period during which every little bite and/or sting has a longer-lasting affect than it will once the adjustment period ends. It’s true.

I’m all alone tonight in the treehouse for the first time since I‘ve arrived. PC is watching over a neighbor’s property, and loving up the animals that live within it. I will admit that it’s a little eerie up here in the tree without the big chief around. I shut the trap door entrance, which happens to be the only entrance. It’s times like this when it’s good to have a Calico kitty around, and thankfully I do.

Thursday will be remembered for three things: 1. Discovering the bread baker right around the corner from my tree. 2. Easily having my best bit of ball work to date. 3. Running into my Israeli friend Tal.

Discovering the bread baker has multiple meanings. There’s the obvious meaning. Who wouldn’t want an option to walk 100 steps barefoot over to the nice old lady at 10am, six days per week, knowing that she will hand you a warm, fresh loaf of pan in a paper bag, and only ask for 20 Pesos? Score! And then there’s the second meaning, which but a tiny percentage of the world’s population will ever understand, and I intend to keep it that way.(Shout out to the big Gardizzle at Irise Bakery. Represent)

The ball work thing is easy to explain. The work I’ve done to date is beginning to show. It definitely showed up Thursday evening. A combination of energy and strength sort of weaseled into my broken body, and I knew just what to do with it. I haven’t felt this right since before busting up both ankles this past summer. If I’m smart, and I am, I should be able to use this day as a building block for the next six weeks.

It’s no wonder I ran into Tal half way through this particular workout. He’s a hulk, in and of himself. He’s just a kid though. He was throwing a big stick into the ocean for his newly acquired black lab. I was dripping in sweat, so we didn’t talk long. I told him that he is exactly like my brother-in-law.(not in stature) He shot a video of me telling him my email. He followed that slick trick up by sending me an email. Nice work Tal.


So here it is, Friday evening in Puerto Escondido, late January 2010. I wore my Crocs all afternoon because drinking and being barefoot around here is a very bad idea~Especially at night. This morning I woke up knowing that this was going to be my final post pertaining to what exactly it is that I am doing down here. I determined that I had painted that picture accurately enough, and didn’t want to beat a napping horse. With February 2010 set to begin on Monday, I knew it was time to change subjects all together.

A new SW swell is appearing tomorrow, and I have told myself I am ready for it. I am using this entire weekend to free myself from the daily grind of this hectic blogging responsibility, and begin preparing for what is next. What is next?

If My Name Were Susan..

…My nickname would have to be Lazy Susan.

I woke up cold on Tuesday morning. I had to turn the fan off around 4am, and put on a long sleeve T. It’s been a bit chilly in the morning lately. Around 8a, I ran barefoot with surfboard to main beach. First time performing this exact act. From the tree it’s about a mile and a quarter. The surf was definitely up a bit. The water warmer than the air, which is the preferred combination if you ask me.

Still getting my bearings out there for sure. Made a number of waves. Cut back on the number of times I got hucked into oblivion. Lost my board to shore all morning long. Countless duck dives. Nothing notable worth writing home about. From the water, sitting on your surfboard, the landscape views of the 10,000 foot Sierra Madre peaks, coupled with the solid walls of spitting, almond shaped barrels, are definitely a stoke in and of themselves. Beware! Being too much of a lookie loo in these waters will quickly put you in harms way. There ain’t no safety channels in Puerto Escondido, and a lip to your being will guarantee you a visit to Dr. Pepe!

Surfed two hours, ran home, and didn’t do too much the rest of the day. I read, wrote, and relaxed. I watched Papa Chango(PC) and David(pronounced Dah-Beed) knock out some hueso panels for the treehouse. I didn’t lift a finger, and they wouldn’t want it any differently. When the 20 foot extension ladder came into play, I pretended that I was afraid of heights. In the end, I did pitch in and help Lola with the sweeping.

I walked down to the beach around 6pm for a jump in the ocean and a sunset. I stopped by Rubys Mini-Super Tiendita, and picked up three Roma tomatoes, two white potatoes, a medium sized pack of rice, a pack of bread crumbs, a pack of Mexican Oreos,(my first bit of dessert since my arrival) and an ice cold Victoria. That cost me $3. The “boys” were gathered around the front of Rubys drinking cold beer and biding their time after work before having to go home to their families. PC(more on that wild beast later) made a nice bit of dinner, including a huge salad without the use of lettuce. I did half the dishes, and soaked the other half. It was a lazy ass day!

Sombra a Sombra

Hump day had PC and I back on the tennis court at 7:30am without tennis balls and without anybody else showing up. Nice way to start the day. I had no choice but to put up the ‘Gone Surfin’ sign.

Loaded myself up with sunscreen, made myself barefoot, grabbed my board, and did that 1.25 mile jaunt to the beach break. The surf had picked up. The lesson today was just a reminder lesson from all my previous lessons out here at MexPipe: Stay clear of the lip. This place unloads! It’s a fight that you won’t ever win.

I entered the water just as Will was paddling out with his 8’6 gun. He wasn’t going to surf it though. It wasn’t nearly big enough for Will. He was going to have a paddle to the La Punta and back in preparation for Todos. The water was very warm. I surfed “far bar” with my friend Mark from Bodega Bay. He’s a big blonde fisherman that rides a big board. I was stung several times by what is known as Malagua. It’s the oceans version of the “No-See-Em”. A jelly fish of sorts I suppose, although I never saw em‘.

I would have loved a bigger board out there today, but not quite ready to break it out just yet. The bigger the board, the less manipulation you have with it. Duck diving around here is imperative if you know what is good for you. Needless, I stayed out of harms way, although I had a few “Mother Mary” moments. Learned a lot. Had fun. Didn’t get hurt. End of story.

Ran home in the hot sun. On the way, I briefly stopped and watched in awe as some dude in Puma sweats and a Rasta beanie was sitting in the sand, juggling a soccer ball. Yes…he was sitting. His control with the ball was off the charts. After about a minute without letting it hit the sand, I shook my head in disbelief, gave him the whistle and the pointed finger, and carried on. Got back to the tree around 10:30am and did some writing.

At 2pm, bouncing from shade to shade, I ran down to the ocean with a swim fin in my hand. I had to run past a couple of Federalis with machetes & machine guns, but I knew the drill~Don’t look them in the eye, and Don‘t say a word. I darted across the scalding sand. It was my first time busting out my swim fin. Without a fin, it’s not wise to go past where you can touch sand bottom. With some fins, you can pull into big closeout barrels so long as you know how to brace yourself for the massive implosion. I relied on all my summer days as a youth logged at Newport’s Wedge & Victoria Beach, Laguna.(Shout out to Dev..Unome)

On my way back, I had a chat with a talkative 18y/o worker boy and a shy 12y/o worker kid, both digging a ditch, and both barefoot. My severely broken Spanish is good enough to tell them that although they could make more money in the States, that the $100 Timberland boots, the $8 lunch at Panda Express, and every other little fucking thing they would need to own, would put them right back to square one. Es seguro que hay mas dinero hacer en los Estados, pero todos las pinche cosas es muy caro. En el fin de semana, tu cartera es el mismo. Entiendes? They understood perfectly. All the kids are still very curious about life in the States.

I hung around the tree(pun) until about six. Ran back to the beach and did 30 minutes of ball work, this time in the high sand. Brutal! Lots of dogs starting to make their evening rounds. Observed the squid fisherman throwing weighted nets into the shore break. Took in the sunset and headed home. Ate like a king and then watched Obama’s State of the Union Address on [PC’s Mac]–I was waiting to say that. Started a new book called The Memory of Running.

Not Much

The Mondays here ain’t so Manic. The roosters begin their morning around 5am, maybe 5:30 on Mondays. I began mine around 6:30 with a couple of cups of black coffee in an old glass jam jar. Utensils are minimal in the tree. It wasn’t going to be a surf day because it just wasn’t. Skipped breakfast. Instead, I grabbed the rock and headed barefoot down to the beach. I didn’t brush or floss, but plan to.

Here’s some proximity for all ya‘lls. From the spot where my dirt trail meets the beach sand, it’s about ½ of a mile to La Punta,(to my left) and just under 1 mile to the main Zicatela surf break.(to my right) About ½ mile past the surf break begins The Marinero, and beyond that, there are numerous aqua colored hideaway beaches that‘ll take your breath away. Con mi balon, my Ipod full of freshly added music, my Kaenon SR1 polarized sunglasses,(What up Biscuit?) all in their proper place, I headed right, towards the main surf beach break. http://www.puertoescondidoinfo.com/aerialmap.html

One thing I learned from last years trip is that a Gringo working the soccer ball will create instant intrigue, and receive considerably more admiration and respect than the surfing Gringo. Most of the people on the beach, if they’re not carrying their board to go surfing, are typically getting in their daily exercise. Old people, young people, Europeans, Mexicans, Yoga enthusiasts, Lifeguard crew, etc.. Dogs everywhere. Everybody is just doing their thing. My thing happens to be dribbling in and out of coconuts, doing 20 meter high-knee wind sprints, taking shots at random pieces of driftwood, playing keep away from the dogs, and spotting the occasional ‘give and go’ with the Mexican walking my way. We all know it’s their National pastime. What more do you need to know?

I got to main beach and saw my friend Lonnie Caruthers, and asked him if I could leave my three valuables with him under his giant umbrella while I jumped into the ocean. I put in my earplugs and had a 10 minute frolic fairly close to shore. It was 9:30am. It was glassy. It was waist to head high. Surfers were getting barreled left and right. Lonnie shoots photos just about every morning down on main beach. He’s a real pro. You can see his work at http://rpmsurfer.com. He keeps his photos stored in one of them Flickr thingies which you‘ll see on his homepage. It’s worth a look since you won’t be getting many actual surfing photos coming out of my camera.

I ran back with ball, dodging the shore break, avoiding the horseshit, and the occasional dead Blowfish, all the while maintaining my style and prowess with the rock. It’s a dripping wet passion. Got back to the tree around 10:30 and took my 10 second shower. I ate some cereal and prepared to do some writing. My internet was down. Work needed to be done, and I was up a tree without a connection. Pinche Armando!!

Hopped a Collectivo and headed to Deluxe Café. On the way, I ran into Will Dillon(pictured) whom I had met last year. I believe he is from North Carolina. He’s lived in Puerto Escondido for maybe eight years. He is in his early 30’s. He married a local, and has his third kid on the way. Will doesn’t make a lot of money. He isn’t that well known, or famous outside of Puerto. Been known to free dive up to 75 feet and spear huge fish. Doesn’t say too much. Will Dillon charges HUGE Puerto. I witnessed it first hand last March when nobody else would go out. The surfing world witnessed it when He, Greg Long, Jamie Sterling, Tim West et al. were going XXL in early July 2009. Lonnie told me that Will got invited to the Todos Santos Big-Wave Contest that I believe has its scheduled contest window in February 2010. That’s huge for Will. I gave him his due props. He’s pretty psyched about it.

I did my do while watching Federer easily handle Hewitt in the Aussie Open. I walked home around 2pm, which wasn’t by choice. I forgot to bring money, which meant I couldn’t even afford the 4 Peso(30 cents) Collectivo. It was hot. I was barefoot. This little Gringo jumped from shade to shade to shade to shade to shade….all the way home.

At 2:30pm, I accidentally took a monster 3.5 hour nap, which normally would have meant trouble. I pulled it off though. Sent some emails from Papa Changos Mac.(His Mac is connected, My Dell isn’t. Hmmmm) I finished reading my first book. Lit a mosquito coil in my room and let it do its work. Pondered about how little I actually did today. Stretched a bit. Drank water. Bout it. Ate a bowl of Bran cereal for dinner if you need to know. It was 11pm which made it way past my bedtime.

Where the Name has no Streets

[had to piggy-back that aforementioned U2 reference]

For the past five months, my Sunday mornings have been littered with adjusting my fantasy lineups, drinking strong coffee, walking around my beach house in a parka, and playing the same piano songs over and over. A little different here. After a Special K/Frosted Flakes mix, I put some more extra hard wax on my composite 6’6, and got a ride with Papa Chango(PC) down to the beach break. Driving very, very slowly, as to not stir up dusty soot on anything, anybody, or any thin canine, I tapped my fingers to Desperado on the top of his Element. It was about the 50th time he’s played that classic since I’ve been here.

Still pretty small out there by Puerto’s standards, yet, a friendly invitation to enter the waters that normally have surfers coming up with injury excuses as to why they CAN‘T paddle out. If you’re an expert surfer, you can log as much tube time as the morning is long…even at waist high. If you’re a young, expert surfer, you are considerably more willing to trump the 80% closeout ratio that MexPipe offers up. I am neither. I am always looking for a faint shoulder or a modified peak, yet it’s the walls that appear unmakeable which ultimately become the piping tube rides. It’s a guts and glory sort of proposition. As I approached the water, I witnessed a clean “in & out”, made to look easy by some Mexican with long hair. The wind was blowing hard offshore, and I actually felt chilly. The chill usually goes away pretty quickly. It was 8:30am.

One hour surf story, short, I took off on approx. 10 waves, made about five, got pitched 3x, and pulled into a couple of small closeouts. Lost my board to the shore about half those times, yet it’s only a 50yd swim in to get it. I’m trying to get used to riding without a leash and managing my board and my wave because when it gets bigger, and you decide to “pull in“, the last place you want your surfboard,(if you need to bail) is anywhere near the vicinity of your body. It’s poor-mans insurance.

By 10am I was back at my tree(more on it later) and feeling exhausted. I took a three hour nap. I had been sleeping well at night, yet last night I had this extra bizarro dream that I was in a bus wreck with Shaquille Oneal and many other NBA superstars. There were some hotties on the bus too if I recall. The bus went off the cliff and everybody died except me and Shaq. When life vs. death came to a head between the Diesel and I, let’s just say the Big Aristotle had his way with me. I digress. Oh..and the Mosquitos had my room number last night as well. Big Time!

I woke up totally disoriented as to the day and the time. It was 1:30pm on Sunday in the tropics, which meant it was 2:30pm on Sunday on the East Coast, which meant the Colts and Jets were kicking off the AFC Championship game in 30 minutes. I knew just the place the only place to watch it on HD tambien. I put down some black beans out of the can, drank some water, and jumped a Collectivo(more on them later) to Dan’s Deluxe Café, that sits just above the Zicatela Beach break.

I watched with much less enthusiasm than I normally do. Probably because there was no money on the game. Since it wasn’t the Cannucks, I couldn’t tell who the predominantly Canadian audience was rooting for. I finally concluded that they were just happy to see good plays being made by either team. At halftime I ran barefoot down to the beach. Very few humans on the beach. Nobody in the ocean. I walked back to Dan’s for the start of the second half. Garcon sure did put on a show for his native Haiti. I was tempted to watch the second game between the Saints and the Vikings, but thought better of, and for myself.

It was 5pm. I walked home along the beach. It was about that time when the human and canine population on the beach is at its peak. Got back to my tree and took a 10 second shower. Took some corn out of the can & some jalapenos out of the can, and added them to the black beans that were still in their own larger can, and polished that combo down. PC was fast asleep. I stretched for five seconds, and read about ten words before falling asleep. I slept with the light on as my way of tricking the mosquitos. It didn’t work.

Gracias Armando

Albeit a mere shoulder high, I’d have to call my initial day of surfing at the Zicatela beach break a successful one. This place is muy peligroso! At 3 foot, it’s pitching hard and breaking boards up and down the beach. I surfed for about 45 minutes and made four waves, and exited the water unscathed. I saw some familiar faces in the water which made the maiden voyage a cheerful one. It was 9am on Saturday morning. The enormous Mexican National flag was in the process of changing from limp to onshore. Regardless of how the rest of my day went, I had my surf in the books, and life was good.

After a quick breakfast, I hopped a Collectivo and decided I was going to give Armando and Co. a surprise visit. I had my laptop with me. As a courtesy, I wore a shirt. I wished I had remembered to bring flip-flops, but I am finding it to be a nuisance anyway. When I stub my toe the first time(and it’ll happen) I am certain that I will have wished I was wearing my Crocs, or the like.

Armando strolled in around 11am and was surprised to see me. He told me to right click on Properties, Left click on Security, Right click on Diagnose, Left click on WEP, and then enter my 10 digit pass phrase. I left clicked the hell out of there thinking that my chances of connecting in the treehouse were 10% at best. I flagged down a Collectivo, and 10 minutes later I was back at my tree.

My treehouse comes equipped with an outdoor shower that produces about 20 gallons of water per minute. Most low-flow shower heads will give out about 3 gallons at best. Do the math. First you have to plug in a mini-generator/pump of sorts, and then the fun begins. You almost have to brace yourself before getting underneath it. If you take a 30 second shower, you’d be wasting 15 seconds of precious water. It’s freakin’ awesome.

It was now noon on Saturday. I was warned by Papa Chango that one of the neighbors was throwing a birthday party, or communion party, or wedding party, or some kind of fiesta that warranted sufficient amplification for a U2 concert at a sold out Shea Stadium. It’s how the Mexicans roll. Suffice to say, taking a siesta today wasn’t in the cards. In the states, this kind of noise would have the cops at your door to break it up before it even starts. Thankfully, it wasn’t the kind of party that ends when the roosters begin their morning sing-a-long.

(I bought some time, read 50 pages, stretched, did some writing, and more or less just observed my surroundings from the shady confines of my treehouse. There is always something boggling to observe in Mexico.)

At 5:30 I ran barefoot(more on being barefoot later) with my $4 soccer ball down to the beach, and did some work. It’s about a 6 minute careful jog to the sand. With shoes it would take about half that time. It starts with thorny soot, followed by rocky hard pack, then some grooved, broken up concrete, which finally leads into sand. The 2 mile strand of beach around this time of day is pretty crowded with runners, lovers, walkers, photographers, horseback riders, soccer games, unattended dogs, and the like. It’s just less hot at that point of the day, plus a sunset is a given. A thirty minute jog will still have you drenched from head to toe.

Protocol put me back in the ocean for 5 minutes to cool off. I could sense the waves getting bigger and a bit more angry. Walked home w/ ball in hand, took a 10 second cold shower, and waited for my rice and chicken dinner to be served. Once again, it was 8pm and I was done…

Sixty Days in Puerto Escondido

For the small handful of you anticipating my daily blog, it’s about to begin. For the random others I decided to include on this list, pretend to humor me. I was hoping to begin my writing the day I arrived, yet it wasn’t meant to be. It’s not a motivation thing, rather a convenience thing. You see, I am deep in the Mexican tropics, and am living in a treehouse for the 60 days I am here in Puerto Escondido. The minor major details in setting up a wireless connection here in this tree, are still being configured. What follows is the initial five-day “general” recap so far as I remember it. Once the Daily begins, it will be written the very night of the very day, and published immediately. I am hoping the details are written well enough and creative enough to warrant even the slightest bit of anticipation towards my next post. Stay tuned…

I arrived in Puerto Escondido on Monday, January 18th, at 3pm sharp. I flew from SFO to Guadalajara to Mexico City to Puerto. I was picked up at the airport by my friend Papa Chango and we headed off in his trusty Honda Passport. By 3:30pm local time, I was at my treehouse, which sits 15 feet off the ground, wrapped around a 50 y/o Perota tree. I immediately shed all my clothes, put on my board shorts, and ran barefoot down to the ocean for a quick swim. The water? Warm. By dark I was sipping Mezcal and eating dead chicken. After dinner I popped a 600mg IBU, finished off my king sized Mike n’ Ikes, and my long day was done…

Tuesday was going to be a business day. In lieu of some rent, I purchased a 610 Peso(~$50) commercial fan for my room, and a $200 Wi-Fi device that was going to be installed(fingers crossed) way up in the tree somewhere. We met with Armando who set up an install appointment for Wednesday. By noon I was back in my tree. The rest of my day was filled with random barefoot runs down to the ocean. The reason for going barefoot as often as possible serves many purposes, and none of them revolve around getting hurt. At 4pm I purchased a cheap futbol, and by 5pm I was back on the beach doing my first bit of ball work. Had some rice and some Dorado for dinner. Swept a few leaves off the patio(lots of leaves living in a tree you know) and by 8pm I was horizontal…

Filling in for Papa Chango, at 6:30am on Wednesday, I walked one mile(w/shoes) to Casa Dan’s so that I could be driven to the only tennis court in town. We played three sets of doubles from 8am til 10am. If I had the choice between sweat bands or shoes, I‘d have chosen the sweat bands. Needless, the losers bought Gatorade which meant I didn‘t pay a Peso.(wink wink) I was dropped back off at main beach(Zicatela), ate a Surfer Slam breakfast, and ran back to the treehouse via the beach. We waited all day for Armando to show to install Wi-Fi, but he never showed. It was a classic case of manana. At 5:30 I ran barefoot down to the ocean and did some more ball work. Two days into my trip, and I still hadn’t surfed. I had been in the ocean countless times, but haven’t broken my cherry at The Mexican Pipeline. It’s been small anyway…

I forget what happened Thursday other than being barefoot all day, drinking lots of water, and waiting around for Armando and his brother Edwin to show up at the treehouse for installation. They finally showed and made it happen. I ran down to the water for a standard swim and sunset. As I was walking back, I stumbled on the 25 y/o Spaulding twins from Coloma, CA, and they invited me to their vegetarian hostal for a few beers and a black bean burger. I asked if they new of Jackie Greene. They didn’t. I sniffed my way back to the treehouse in the pitch black and called it a day. On the way home, countless dogs came charging at me barking, thankfully not biting.(more on dogs later) So, three full days in Puerto, and still no blood. Several bug bites, but no blood. Knock on wood…

Friday morning was another tennis morning. I don’t anticipate playing too much tennis. I’m just sort of filling in for one of the regulars while he is in Oaxaca seeing a doctor. Once again, my Gatorade was bought for me. Wolfed down another Surfer Slam at Dan’s Café Deluxe(40 pesos) and then took a Collectivo(4 pesos) back to the treehouse. Collectivos do just that; They collect people along highway 200 and take them to wherever it is they are going. Came home only to find Internet not working on my computer. After all that! Instead of laboring on that bummer, I took a two hour siesta and then caught another Collectivo back into the main part of town and got myself a full buzz haircut and a clean shave. I was now a new man. With groceries in hand, I took a taxi back to my tree. Ran barefoot down to the water for some ball work and another sunset. Got back to my tree for a special Chipotle Pasta dinner. Watched George Carlin on HBO and called it a night. It was now 8pm on Friday night, January 22nd, and I still hadn’t ‘gone surfin’. The forecast is calling for some swell on Saturday. I can smell it coming…