A Personal Touch (Ch. 9)

I had five days to prepare for Irene.  If I did my part, I had confidence that she could do hers.  And if she did her part, then the remainder of my stay here in Puerto Escondido stood a decent chance to sail smoothly.  First thing First.  I scored her a room in an unfinished house near La Punta.  It was a modest sized room with built in wood cabinetry.  Huge bathroom.  Colored Concrete floors.  Colored Concrete Walls and Ceiling.  Mexican Colors.  Neons and the like.  There was still plastic on the mattress, which I thought was a good sign.  No toilet seat, but that’s standard so I learned.  Nice little half finished patio deck.  Sweeping vistas from the unfinished rooftop.  Basic little room in a quiet little area located in the Brisas Zicatela Colony.   

I paid the nice lady $80 for the month.  Probably overpaid, but I didn’t have the time to shop this thing around.  I left a small bowl of coins near her bed with a note that said, Use Me To Pay for all your Taxi Cabs and Collectivos.  Welcome to Puerto Escondido.  See you tomorrow on the beach at 10am Sharp.  I dated the note 12/31/12, even though it was still Friday, 12/28.  Scratchy insisted he draw up a ‘You are Here’ map, with all the notable landmarks.  All drawn to scale with a legend in the lower left corner.  I gotta admit, The guy finds a way to come in handy.   

That same day, I stopped by to see my friend David.  He cuts hair at his Uncle’s Peluqueria.  David is a nice young kid I have known for years.  He threw in the towel on his construction career, and recreated himself as a barber.  Smart play.  Cutting hair is a nobel profession here.  Oaxacans like their hair just right, and never appear in public with any sort of facial stubble either.  I credit David for teaching me how to properly use the slang words Chingon, and Guey.  He’s a great kid.  

I actually know three Davids here.  Two of them I can’t stand.  It would make for a better story if I couldn’t stand all three.  But I don’t.  Haircut David I like.  Although I don’t let him cut my hair.  No fucking way!  The Maestro cuts my air.  Actually his son Jesus does.(Pronounced Hay Zeus)  Unless of course I am going for the Combo Shave and a Haircut.  That is when I turn to The Maestro.  The Maestro’s name is Maestro.  I often see him on the street in the lower sections of The Lazaro District.  I usually just turn my palm up like the Pope might do, and yell “Maestro!”  He typically just gives me the half nod. 

Back to haircut David.  I needed a favor, and I knew he had transportation.  I offered David 500 pesos to drive his Nissan truck to Pochutla and shuttle Irene Burgstrom back to Puerto.  He gave me that look like he wanted more money.  I told him to suck an egg.  He accepted my offer.  I gave him the cash in advance.  I told him to be at the station at noon.  I also handed him a cardboard sign that read The Warden.  I suggested he hold that up.  I drew my own map for David showing him where her apartment room was located.  From there, I had arranged Logio to step in and commission her welcoming committee.

Hasta la Bye Bye (Ch. 8)

At 7:31am, the very next morning, I sat poll position again at the Breakfast Buffet.  At 8am I met Irene over at the Cafe/Internet Establishment.  This is also where the Van Station had a set up.  Irene was not only there when I got there, she had purchased my ticket.  And she got me a front seat.  Impressive.  I paid her back.  We had another sit down over another cup of coffee.  She was eating a carrot.  Irene promised me that she too would take the 9am van, but not until the coming Monday morning.  She asked to remain in San Jose Del Pacifico a few more days to embrace the full moon affect.  I granted her that notion.  I promised her that a personal driver would be at the Station in Pochutla at Noon to pick her up and drive her to Puerto.  I gave her my remaining 900 pesos and told her it was a signing bonus.  She was all smiles.  I was gone.


Christmas Day Eve (Ch. 7)

We met at the cafe.  She was ten minutes early.  I should know because I was spying on her from the covered basketball court.  We walked down the Hwy about 100 meters.  I spotted a little gift shop with the lights on and the door open.  We went in.  It was MushroomMania.  And a bunch of wool clothing.  Beanies, Scarves, Gloves etc.  We tripped around the little store for several minutes.  One would think somebody would either come in, or at least pop their head in from behind the curtains, and ask if we needed any help finding anything.  So there we were.  In this quaint little gift shop.  And nobody appeared.  So we left.  The End. 

We walked into a strange place that sort of had an Italian feel to it.  I noticed a tall, scruffy, well built white guy that looked like Mario Cipollini.  He was holding a cute baby that I assumed was his.  The place was clean and strangely under-lit.  ESPN Deportes was on the flatscreen hanging by cables from the ceiling.  In the corner was a makeshift gift shop.  Again, mushroom trinkets, wool clothing, I think you get it.  One entire wall had three rows of wooden shelves that housed 75 different flavors of Mezcal.  They were all corked in glass bottles.  Another wall had a full sized black and white mural of Ayrton Senna.  There was a beer fridge stocked with Indio.  There was a Mexican couple eating food at one of the square wood tables.    

Irene and I split a 40oz Indio, and sat down at a table overlooking the highway.  I wasted no time at getting to the bottom of this trip.

“Who told you to find me here?, I inquired.

“You found me, remember?“ she answered.

“No, really.  Who gave you the lowdown?”

“A man named Tino.”

“Tino who?”

“How many Tinos do you know?”

“Just one.”


“Where are you from?”

“Bay Area”

“Which part?”

“Redwood City”

“What do you do there?”

“I live at home and am in school.  I’m going for my Masters at Stanford.”

“What are you studying?, I asked.

“Studying to be the next great Girl Friday,” she said.

We finished our 40, and decided to each try a shot of Mezcal.  I slid in a cup of Hot Chocolate for safe measure.  As we sipped our paint thinner, I decided to dig a little deeper.

“What did Tino tell you,?” I asked

“He told me that you need help.”

“Help with what?”

“You tell me.  That’s why you found me.”

“I’m confused.”

“It sounds like it,” she giggled.

Irene went off to use the outdoor toilet.  I sipped the hot chocolate, and began doing my own math.  Somebody must have told Tino that I needed help.  Who knew Tino I thought?  Too bizarre.  Maybe Tino witnessed the incident that took place on my balcony last month.  But even so, what led him to Irene?  Who led him to Irene?  There just had to be middle people between the two.  Tino is not online.  Tino doesn’t speak English.  In fact, Tino is so far removed from my pathetic reality that his involvement in any of this is downright preposterous.  The plot began to thicken just as Irene had returned from going potty.   

The Mezcal was kickin’ like Bruce Lee.  I decided not to ask the young girl any more questions.  She was just doing what she was somehow being told to do.  Perhaps this was(is) her dissertation, and I’m her case study.  But still.  WTF!  Here was a pretty young woman that semi-randomly appeared out of nowhere, and she apparently wants to be my personal assistant.  Like for her resume or something.  Weird Shit.  I just had to play this one out.

It was getting late. 10ish or thereabouts.  Irene was tired I could tell.  We had talked for a long time.  She kept telling me how funny I was, and that I should write a book about Nothing.  I told her about my run in with Jerry Seinfeld in NYC, and that I had always told myself that if I was ever walking in The City, that I would make sure I was carrying a business card with nothing on it, and to be sure to hand it to him if and when I saw him.  And after handing him the blank business card, I was just going to move right along and not wait around for a reaction.  Allow the funny man to digest my humor on his own terms.  I told her that I had my golden opp one sunny afternoon in 2007, but that the only business card I had on me had my name and phone number on it, and handing that to him…Well that seemed pretty cattle call.  

I sort of noticed she had stopped paying attention to my story about a quarter way through it.  She then told me a story about how when she was young, she and one of her girl friends used to do this thing, or play this game, that when one person was telling a story that the other person thought was totally stupid and not worth having to listen to, then that person would pretend that the ceiling would all of a sudden open up, and that a flat screen TV would magically begin dropping.  Obviously, a mystery TV appearing out of the ceiling during this stupid conversation would naturally(and purposely) divert your attention from having to listen any longer.  And if that weren’t enough, and to make absolute sure the stupid storyteller got the message, you would also say the words, “Neeeeeeer Dink” to signify the two sounds a TV supposedly makes when it is A. being hydraulically lowered from the ceiling,(Neeeeeeer) and B. when it finally comes to a Stop.(Dink)

I told her that I was going to get on the 9am Van back down the hill in the morning, and perhaps we could meet again in the morning for coffee.  We agreed on 8am.  We shook hands.  She walked up the hill.  I walked down it.  We both tuned around at the same time, and at the same time, said Merry Christmas.  “Jinx 12345………”

It had to have been getting close to 11pm.  I was starving.  I went back to the restaurant that was on the premises of my Hotel & Cabañas.  Again, the restaurant appeared to be closed.  In fact, I would have bet my life on it being closed.  But it wasn’t.  Son of a Beehive.  I sat down at a table setup for ten and ordered a Tlayuda con Tasajo.  Another Hot Cocoa too.  I sat there all alone.  Sort of a Xmas to remember I kept thinking.

Introducing Irene Burgstrom (Ch. 6)

I woke up to the ticking sounds a sprinkler makes.  Outside of that new sound, it was dead silent.  No cars.  No dogs.  No roosters.  No Nada.  I was a little bit cold.  A fire would have been nice.  Maybe even worth the 200 pesos I saved by opting to not go with the fireplace.  I opened the curtains.  The mountain top views were breathtaking.  Being in a cold environment was strange.  I took a long hot shower.  The funk of the tropics just flaked away.  My skin began to feel dry and tight right away.

I walked up an entirely different path of pink pavers, back over to the Administration Office where breakfast was being served from 7:30 until 11:30.  It was 7:31am on Christmas Morning.  There was nobody around.  The coffee was fresh and hot.  There was thickly sliced wheat bread and a toaster.  Jellies and Butter.   Fresh cut papaya.  Raisin Bran and Granola, both in clean plastic bins.  Box milk chilling in ice.  Feliz Navidad!

The Breakfast Buffet set me back 30 pesos.  I made them wish it was 300.  I took a couple of bananas for the road, and for good measure of course.  I desperately needed lip balm and skin lotion.  Lip balm and skin lotion are two items you only think you need in the tropics.  Two items you badly need at altitude.  I set out on a walk.

Once again, I had heard all about SJDP and knew that it was known for its Psychedelic Mushrooms.  Hongos as they are known.  I had also heard that the only time to get these Hongos is in the summer months of June, July, August, and September.  During those months, a human being can buy a small handful of Hongos for $5, sit under a pine tree, and for five hours guaranteed, that human can hold some court with Mother Nature.

Before arriving here, I sort of pictured little leprechauns jumping out of the Wibbley Wobbley Forrest offering up their Vegetation to people like me.  Knowing what I know about Mexico, and having heard all the stories about what goes down in SJDP, I just figured anything were possible.  For the Record:  Pretty small odds that I was going to partake in this phenomenon.  However, I do reserve the right to suppose there could have been a scenario that would have found me partaking.  Again, an offering from a leprechaun or The Mad Hatter would have been tough to say no to.  But in all seriousness, I was just more curious than anything else.  Information is Knowledge.  Knowledge is Power.  It seemed like pretty unique and powerful information, and I kind of owed it to myself to see what sort of human beings were behind such information.  Fair enough?

I started walking uphill.  The steep concrete streets were all scored.  Wooden Shacks never looked so good.  All of town seemed well groomed.  A far cry from the beach living that is Puerto Escondido.  The change was extra welcome.  It was sunny and began to warm up quickly.  I was in shoes and shorts.  Short sleeve shirt and socks.  I wore my famous black hoodie.

One of the most fascinating sights that kept me nice and tripped up was what was drying on the clothes lines.  There weren’t any sheets, or tanks, or bathing suits that are so subliminally a part of tropical life.  Instead there were blankets, wool jumpsuits, jeans, socks, and the like.  Even saw some beautiful wool rugs drying on the line.  I didn’t see too many people.  I kept remembering it was Christmas.  I kept forgetting it was Christmas too.  I forget which.

I stopped for a breather at a gigantic covered basketball court.  The court was painted green with perfectly manicured lines.  Three rows of cement grandstands all the way around.  Two middle aged women jogged around the court in their sweat suits.  That seemed odd.  If you knew where I was, you’d but have to agree.  I was curious if they knew anything about these so-called Hongos?  Imagine that.  Even after receiving the disappointing vibe from the young indian barista, and the vague information from the groundskeeper at my hotel, I still wondered if two middle aged women jogging around a painted basketball court at 11 in the morning, knew anything about Magic Mushrooms.  Neither of them looked like Dorothy or Alice.  It didn’t feel like Oz or Wonderland.  They were just two middle aged women jogging around a painted, covered, full sized basketball court at 9000 feet.  With nobody around.  I’d a paid full retail for a basketball to magically appear.

I followed a painted sign towards a hunch.  There were a couple forks along the way.  I rubbed my chin both times, and steered left in both cases.  I was getting close to something special.  I heard music.  It sounded like Tom Petty.  I looked inside one shack and saw four or so young, Euro looking backpackers huddling around a big blue pot being stirred by an Indian lady.  She had braids.  She wore vintage Indian garments.  Again, I felt tripped out.  I felt  a bit out of place too.  My ears were popping, and I kept forgetting where I was.  I knew I wasn’t at the beach.  I knew I was in the Sierras, but it felt a long way from the Sierra Nevadas.  I felt way far away.  All of a sudden, I began to feel as though anything were possible.  It would not have surprised me if I was dreaming and just didn’t know it.  Nothing seemed ordinary.  It was Noon on Xmas.

I spotted a white dude with short hair making tea on his wooden balcony.  He most definitely was on some kind of drug.  You can ask nobody.  I approached him cautiously.  Turns out he was a real cool cat.  Texan.  Mellow.  Extra Mellow actually.  I figured he was drinking mushroom tea, but I figured wrong.  He told me Hongos are sparse this time of year, but that some clever fellows are able to keep them preserved in honey.  He asked me if I wanted him to ask Don Memo on their availability.  Sure why not?  I glanced over at another cabaña.  There was a red and white stocking hanging on the door knob.  It was stuffed with all sorts of gifts.  The gold glitter on the white part of the stocking spelled Aron.  That is Mexican for Aaron, and somebody knew it.

Don Memo appeared out of thin air.  He wore a pressed, red, long sleeve shirt, blue jeans w/ a silver mushroom buckle, and cowboy boots.  He had a shovel in his left hand.  Like most Mexicans, he had a real thin mustache, and smelled like Chanel #4.  Kind of like The Maestro. He said he could get me some Hongos in Honey by 6pm, but recommended I not take them until the next morning.  And on an empty stomach.  He quoted me 250 pesos.  I graciously declined his offer, and he vanished into thin air.

I took another glance down at the wooden cabaña with the Christmas Stocking that appeared to have my Mexican name on it.  My new friend from Texas showed me his Opium that he was making, or curing, or fostering, or harboring, or building.  I wasn’t sure what the fuck he was doing with it.  He offered some up.  I politely declined that too.  I asked him if he knew who was staying in that cabaña.  I pointed to the one with the Aron stocking.  “Oh her?  She’s new to camp.  That’s Irene, but we all call her The Warden”, he said.

I was like….The Warden?

The sun was shining.  The air was magnificent.  The sky was true blue.  The only thing I could hear was the song Martha My Dear waining from The Warden’s Cabaña.  I took off my Hoodie and wrapped it around my waist.  I re-remembered that I was still wearing my brown Sgt. Peppers Tee Shirt.  It felt wonderful to be here.  Certainly a thrill.   I took a seat in the pine needles and just admired the natural beauty.  It didn’t feel anything like being in Mexico, despite feeling as though I was dead in Her heart.  Scratchy was right.  Getting out of Dodge was just the perfect cure for all things nutty going down in Puerto.  The high mountains provided a ton of relief.  I laid my head back and took a little siesta.

What had seemed like a two hour nap was really just two minutes.  Full on Reverse Rumpelstiltskin.  The sun was still shining because it was only two minutes later.  I stood up and stretched.  I could still hear The White Album coming out from the bottom cabaña.  I was having a real moment in life.  I could either stay or I could go.  If I stayed, it would have been because I followed my gut down to the cabaña with the Aron Stocking and The Beatles Music.  If I went, it would have been because I’m a pathetic loser with writer’s block and ghetto duck feet.

Like Costanza on his way out to sea to remove the golf ball that Kramer hit into the blow hole of the whale, I walked down the dirt path to The Mystery Cabaña.  When I got close, I smelled Nag Champa.  Bueno.  I took a closer look at The Stocking.  Like I had thought, it was full, and the presents were neatly wrapped as well.  Here went nothin’.  I knocked on the heavy duty wooden door.

A young lady came to the door.  She was barefoot.  She wore dark blue GoddessWear™ Bottoms, a tight little top of some sort, and a white, knitted beanie.  I put out my hand and said, “Hola, me llamo Aron, and I do believe that is my stocking.

HolaAron.  I hope you are the right Aaron.  You are the fifth Erin to come by here today claiming The Stocking.  I am getting a little tired of having to re-wrap the presents.

She watched as I began opening the gifts one by one.  I first pulled out a giant, plastic, candy cane shaped tube, stuffed with Mini Reese’s Cups.  Bueno.  Then there was the full sized, copper wire scalp scratcher.  That’s weird.  Then there was the Miracle Bubbles and the Loofa Pad.  OK.  Towards the bottom I found a HackySack and some Hybrid Swim Goggles.  Getting closer.  And finally, hiding out in the toe section of The Stocking, I found a book of matches from Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero California.  I turned to The Warden and said, “Either I’ve been sent here to meet you, or you’ve been sent here to meet me, but either way, I do believe that you are my Girl.

She put her hand out and said, “I’m Irene Burgstrom.”  We shook hands.  I was like, Did your grandparents own a Children’s Clothing Store in Tustin California in the late 70’s, early 80’s?   “Different Bergstrom,” she said.  I told her that The Goddesswear made her ass look Extra scrumptious, but that Goddesswear can just about make any woman’s ass look Fairly scrumptious.  She didn’t understand what I meant to mean.  It was just my way of sabotaging another relationship with the truth.  It never works.  I’m such an idiot!

I began feeling tired.  I took a seat on her balcony and closed my eyes.  When I re-opened my eyes, in what seemed like a two minute dog nap, turned out to be two whole hours.  Trippy!  It was now 4pm on Christmas Day Afternoon.  It was getting cold.  I put on my black Hoodie and asked Irene if she wanted to meet for dinner at dark.  She said Yes.  We agreed to meet at the Cafe/Internet Spot at 7pm, and take it from there.  During my nap, she had gathered all my opened presents and neatly tucked them all back away in The Stocking.  I couldn’t wait to get back to my room and devour the Reese’s.

Wild Ride (Ch. 5)

Not in a million years was I about to get out of the van at Scratchy’s Spot.  Blame it on light rain, mountain fog, and white knuckles.  When I finally got out of the van, I was spinning like a top.  Mr. Toad had nothing on this 180 minute ride.  My driver sped up when he should have slowed down, and slowed down when he needed to speed up.  I wondered if it had anything to do with guard rails being used when there wasn’t a need for them, and not used when the drop off was 1000 feet and sheer.  I wondered if it had anything to do with him changing the radio stations 500x while eating Lay’s Potato Chips as he drove.  I’m curious if it had anything to do with the weird white couple from Canada dressed in their ALL WHITE Sahara Desert ensemble, that sat in the front, but got out of the van halfway up the mountain, motioned to me as if to say that it was nice not getting to know me, never to be seen or heard from again.

It was 4:30pm, mountain time.  I dreideled my way over to a young Indian stirring coffee.  All I said was PorFa.  Black coffee in the State of Oaxaca usually is sweetened with a bit of sugar, and this cup was no different.  I wrapped both hands around the warm clay mug and just sat there and sipped my bean.  It was Xmas Eve Afternoon.  I looked around for anything extraordinary.  Most everything appeared extraordinary.  So I looked around for something normal.  I walked across the narrow highway into a Cafe/Internet type of establishment.  I ordered a gigantic Vegetarian sandwich without Mayo for $1.  Everything around was Mushroom Motif.  Mushroom Murals.  Posters of Mushrooms.  Mushroom Trinkets and Widgets consumed all the shelves.  Mushroom MousePads, you name it.  I asked the 15 year old Indian Barista in Spanish if she knew where I could score some Mushrooms.  She looked at me like I was a real jackass.  Correct.  Good answer lady!  I scurried off. 

I began walking the narrow highway towards some Cabañas that I had scoped out on the internet.  It was a 400 meter walk.  I walked into the Admin Office at La Puesta Del Sol.  It was a big room with almost no decoration.  It had a ski lodge feel to it, but without anything that makes a ski lodge feel like a ski lodge.  There was a see-thru fridge against the wall with Beer, Water, and Coca Cola inside.  There was a small wood bowl on the receptionist counter.  Inside the bowl were three condoms, two disposable razors, and one tampon.  Or was that three tampons, one razor, and two condoms?  I began thinking of the odds.  

The young lady behind the counter let me do all the talking.  She picked up her walkie talkie and asked Hose B to come up to the office to show me the different room options.  He arrived on a Honda QuadRunner.  He showed me three different rooms.  He told me that unless I was a SissySteak, a fireplace wasn’t necessary.  I asked him about The Magic Hongos.  He either told me his friend Julio could get them for me, or that the best time to get them is Julio.  I obviously wondered if a schoolyard was involved. 

At dark, I followed some pink pavers to a giant restaurant/gift shop on the premises of La Puesta Del Sol.  Nobody was in there but me.  It felt closed, but it was open.  They served me up a wonderful omelette with black beans and rice.  Fresh Salsa and Hand Made Tortillas.  I drank a monster cup of hot cocoa.  By 8pm my day was done.

San Jose Del Pacifico (Ch. 4)

The next morning I stuffed my limited units of warm clothes into a small Rip Curl backpack, grabbed 2000 pesos, and walked across Hwy 200.  I stood in the parking lot of La Vaca Loca.  It’s not really a parking lot, so much as an area where taxi drivers drop off and pick up men between 8pm and 5am.  Women don’t go to La Vaca Loca unless they work there.  But these women get dropped off and picked up by their moms.   

Within 10 minutes, I had hopped on the Extra Economy Bus headed south to Pochutla.  Or so it appeared.  The bus was pretty packed.   I spotted an empty seat near the very back.  Or so it appeared.  God I hate the back.  I never should have got on, but I was already committed, and all eyes were on me as usual.  So I walked down the aisle to that back seat only to realize that a tiny old indian lady was already in my empty seat sleeping.  I just stood there collecting germs and getting fidgety.  

Apparently, Thankfully, and Miraculously, one of the treadless rear tires must have had a detectable leak.  I certainly didn’t notice it, and I didn’t actually here the driver say anything.  Instead, the rear door just swung open onto my not so funny bone, and I just jumped out without wondering whether that was protocol.   That’s when I heard the hissing sound.  That’s also when I found myself in a Circle Jerk with fifty or so Indians standing in La Vaca Loca parking lot.  I’ve seen this movie.  I knew the outcome to this punchline, and this dog don’t hunt.  

The sun was blazing hot.  I crossed back over the highway and hailed a collectivo heading the opposite direction.  As it was pulling away, I looked back over to the crowd of people waiting in front of La Vaca Loca.  The Snow Cone Guy had already appeared.  Or maybe it was the Ice Cream Guy.  Whichever Guy it was, he was probably related to the Bus Driver Guy.  It’s funny shit.  I rode the collectivo about a mile up the Hwy and jumped off at the entrance to The Adoquin.  My timing was startling.  Just like I knew it might be.  It was 11:05am on Christmas Morning, and I was now on an Economy Luxury Bus headed towards Huatulco, knowing from experience that I would be able to get off in Pochutla, or anywhere else for that matter.   For only the second time in my career here in PE, experience was paying off for White Guy.

The thrill of being Tone Loc was short lived.  Once in Pochutla, I became the same old Green-Assed, Tender Foot that I usually am.  It was 12:30pm, and it was now good & hot.  And town felt dirty.  Dirtier than Puerto.  And the smell of exhaust was certain.  A gas mask would have been nice.   I was sure not to touch anything, because I can be a germ freak when I want.  And I wanted to be one now.  And so I was.      

I knew Pochutla was a tropical hub town.  A town with a feverish rip tide.  Of coming and going.  Of this and that.  Of Yes and No.  Of Ebb and Flow.  Of Mice and Men.  I began to sense the sound that confusion makes.  And there I was.  And honestly, it’s no place to be.  Speaking of no place to be, have I mentioned The Pochutla Jail?  Can’t forget about the Pochutla Jail.  The biggest prison around.  I hear there is a bar in this jail.  I heard through the made-up grapevine that if an inmate has the money, he or she can stay piss drunk all day.    

Regrettably, I had decided to wear my tennis shoes with socks to save room in the backpack for my other clothes.  Again, I had to bring a lot of clothes because San JoseDel Pacifico is at altitude.  9000 feet Mas o Menos.  And it’s winter time.  Although you wouldn’t know it if you were standing in my non-breathable shoes.  So I had my non breathable nylon shoes on, and I’m really starting to Schvitz.  I didn’t want to change back into my flip flops for fear of germs.  I bought an ice cold 32oz Cucumber & Lime Water in a Styrofoam Cup, and slipped myself into some shade on the east side of a three story building.  Two very well played moves on my part.  

Some guy began yelling something at me.  He was looking right at me but motioning for some backpackers.  Or maybe he was looking right at the backpackers and motioning for me.  It sounded like he was shouting Vas A Nadar.  I walked across the street because that is what the water lady told me to do.  Unfortunately for me, this is kind of where Yelling Guy was located.  And he was just yelling random shit.  I wasn’t quite sure who he was affiliated with.  Again, most of it sounded like Vas A Nadar.  Since I was going high into the mountains, I felt that I didn’t have to pay attention to Yelling Guy.  I bought a 75 peso seat on a 14 passenger van that was headed to Oaxaca at 1:15pm.  I sat patiently waiting for my van.  Thank God I was only going to have to endure half of the six hour ordeal.  The winding road from Pochutla to San Jose DP is only 80 kilometers, but I had heard it’s a real son of a bitch.


Get Me Out Of Here (Ch. 3)

I reckon The Great Lord from Above must have seen my Bizzaro display of humanity on my patio, and cranked up the Struggle Meter on me.  Small Stuff that I found myself forced into sweating.  After the fact bummers like stubbed toes and bad Chicken Mole.  Uncanny beat downs by sun, moon, and water.  Everyday Disappointments and Go Figures like short tied dogs and abandoned litters.  Bones to Pick.  Axes to Grind.  That kind of thing.  The list went on….  

My new watch broke, so I’m not 100% sure, but I believe today is December 21, 2012.  The end of the world arrived today, and I’m the only one that was left alive.  Actually, me and the tens of thousands of Visiting Mexicans that invade Puerto Escondido like is customary this time of year.  So on top of all the World Wide Snow Birds that lug their old bodies, their tight wallets, and their poor beach clothing choices to The Oaxacan Coast, Puerto Escondido also sees a gigantic pulse of their own.  Mainly Chilangos,(de D.F.) but they come from all over this vast country.  Guadalajara, Cuernevaca, Puebla, Acapulco, Monterey.  For the great most part, these are the Mexicans with some money.  Lighter Skinned Mexicans.  LS Mexicans that come to the land of the Dark Skinned Mexican, and bring with them entitlement issues.  The ignorance is bliss thing.  It’s sad to see.  I hate it actually.  Richy Rich Mexicans that come here with their obnoxious families, party it up real good, eat, drink, and treat the local Mexicans like lower class citizens.    

Stories still surface here where a local lifeguard makes a water rescue because a Macho Chilango Kook gets in over his head, and next thing you know, he’s drowning.  Anyway, lifeguard makes rescue.  Drowning victim doesn’t even say Thank You.  It’s this type of attitude and behavior that invades this proud area but only a couple of times per year.  Mexicans with Iphone 3’s, designer jeans, and clean toenails.  They also descend on Puerto Escondido during Semana Santa(Easter).  By January 6th, Puerto gets back to normal.  

So I was battling that whole upsetting dynamic.  Main Beach and La Punta areas were packed with vacationers.  More than I had ever seen.  As usual, The(out of the area) Skydive Company was killing it.  Again, more than I had ever seen.  All day long, with the last jump being as the sun sets, human beings are just flying out of the air and landing on Main Beach.  My guess is about 300 jumpers each and every day.  I guess These Parachuters or Whatever They Are Called, have pretty good control of their 10,000 foot jump.  Every year though, somebody ends up in a palm tree, several misjudge things and endure ocean landings, and of course dozens of spectacular collisions with innocent beach goers.  Here’s the sickening part.  In the end, it’s up to the people on the beach to get out of their way during landing.  Only in Puerto.  Don’t ask questions.  Puerto Escondido may be one of the only places on earth where this type of risky operation is allowable.  I’m sure many officials along the way have their hand out, but at $200 per jump, everybody wins.  And you want to know something?  I think it’s gay!!  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  

My good bud Scratchy suggested I get out of dodge to break myself free of all things Puerto.  That a change of scenery might set me free.  A change of temperature too.  He recommended I head to the mountains to a spot called San Jose Del Pacifico.  I had heard of it.  He drew me a map.  He’s a talented artist and likes to draw maps for people.  Once I saw him draw a map in such color and detail, that the sweet Polish lady he was drawing it for, knowing she had a plane to catch, excused herself to use the restroom, and never came back.  I let him know in advance that I only had until 10am tomorrow.  Scratchy was sure to tell me NOT to go all the way to San Jose Del Pacifico, but to a dirt turnoff along The Hwy situated 10 kilometers prior to San Jose.  He said there might be a sign, and there might not. 

The map was fool proof.  I was told to hand it over to the bus driver on the second leg of my voyage.  Scratchy told me I’d be blowing it hard if I went all the way to San Jose DP.  “Do you want to be someones guest or someones tourist?,” he said.  The map showed that the walk from the Hwy to the actual Cabañas in San Mateo was still about five Klicks, but The Scratch Man all but insured that I’d be able to hitch that ride in the back of someones truck.  He said when I got to Prospero’s Cabañas, mention the name Scratchy.  In case I got tongue tied when it really mattered, he wrote down Scratchy on the back of the map.  In all CAPS.  I folded up the map and stuck it in my pocket dictionary.  Good Grief Guy!!

Deuteronomy (Ch. 2)

So I was cracking.  Again.  Example.  December 8, 2012.  The Day we remember the shooting death of John Lennon.  Here’s what happened:

I crossed Hwy 200, soft walked my way over some rebar-laden debris, walked 75 meters up the dirt road, made a right turn under the half finished archway to my half finished hotel, and there they were.  They had found me.  Again.  Two women, whom I immediately assumed witnessed their boy Jesus(pronounced Geez iss) do something extraordinary, were standing in front of my metal gate, waiting patiently for whatever it is they wait patiently for.  They were way overdressed as usual. 

“Hi there.  It looks like you are getting back from surfing.  How were the waves?

“Fucking Sick.”

“Well my name is Mary, and this is my assistant Mary, and we’re…”

“Yeah I know who you are!”

“Oh.  OK.  Well we were in the area and thought that you might be inter…”

“Great timing laides.  I’ve been hitting a bit of a rough patch and am sort of in the market for a crutch.  Watch your step, the tiles can get slick as snot.”

So we walked upstairs.  I showed the bible bimbos their white plastic Corona seats around a red plastic Coca Cola table, and offered them up a couple Cold Tecate Lights. They both declined.  I excused myself for a moment telling them i needed to shower off.  With a slight head wink, I motioned for the younger one to join me.  She declined, but I could tell that she allowed the thought to cross her mind. 

I spent a good twenty minutes in the outdoor bathroom area because I needed some time to devise my scheme.  I came out of the bathroom wrapped in only a towel.  I apologized for the delay nonetheless.    

I gave them the notion that I was now ready to witness what they had been witnessing, or have witnessed, or are currently witnessing, but at the last moment, asked politely if they wouldn’t mind if I cooked myself some Old Fashioned Quaker Oatmeal.  I told them I was bonking.  I soaked the oats for five minutes before turning the stove on to low heat.  I slowly brought it to a boil.  I added a banana(during the cooking process), raisins(after the cooking process), and a couple squirts of half and half.  At the same time, I boiled up water for some instant coffee.  When that was all ready, I walked outside on the tiled patio area overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  My towel was still wrapped around my waist.  Prior to walking outside for our sit down, I put on my extra dark Bono style polarized sunglasses, as well as a low lying cowboy hat.  I was now good and ready to chip away at these two whistle blowers.

The young hot one, with her cunning Australian accent began with some small talk about heaven and hell.  I just sat there eating and nodding.  At one point I think I blurted out something like, “That’s not entirely true!”  I could tell the older Mary felt as though they were losing this battle.  She kept frantically thumbing through her cartoon literature.     

A late season thunderstorm slowly began to make its way onto the patio.  I finished my oatmeal, and raised my left ass cheek off the plastic chair just enough to release some gas worth noting.  Pretty solid bit of noise.  I looked for a reaction.  They pretended not to hear it.  Amateurs.  Next move.  I reached under the table and put my hand on the upper part of the young Mary’s thigh and pulled out a marijuana cigarette that I’ve had stashed behind my right ear since July 2011.  I offered young Mary the first toke.  She looked at the older Mary, looked at me, and then looked back at Mother Mary.  She was torn.  I kept my hand firmly on the inner portion of her young thigh.  Young Mary was about to make a decision that was going to profoundly change her future.  And maybe mine.  

In her sweet little Aussie voice, she politely declined all my sick offers, removed my hand from her thigh, and moved her plastic Corona Chair closer to Old Mary, signifying her decision to remain with The Lord.  Old Mary had this Proud Mary grin Churning.  I gave her my most wicked snare.  She made The Devil sign with her pointer fingers on each side of her head.  I was like, “That’s all you got Boo?”  

And then it just happened.  I don’t know what came over me.  It certainly wasn’t in any one of my game plans.  All I know is that I stood up, heard my inner lion roar, removed my towel, slapped my Johannesberg down on the red Coca Cola table, and said, “Say hello to my little friend!”  

Both Mary’s had a massive little lamb whose fleece was as white as The Ghost of Oaxaca.  Old Mary grabbed Young Mary by the bicep and they both scurried away.  I’m not 100% sure, but I think one of them must have slipped on the wet tiles in the staircase area.  When all that dust settled, I knew I was getting close to my own bottom, and in need of some serious counseling.  Despite that realization, I slept like a baby that night.  Baby Jesus that is.


Heeeeeeere’s Johnny! (Ch. 1)

Emotions are NOT facts.  Abraham Lincoln said that.  Just kidding.  I’m not sure who coined it.  It might come from my book of Tao.  Just kidding.  It actually does come from The Book of Tao, just not My book of Tao.  I don’t have a Book of Tao.  My book is Cannery Row.  I’ve been on page 18 for coming up on three months.  The story takes place in Monterey, CA.  It takes place back in the day.  It’s about a Row of Canneries.  And some drunks.  Loose women too.  It’s fiction imitating fact.  My kind of story. 

My emotions had been set to overdrive much earlier on than I had anticipated this time around.  Unrealistically, I was banking on a gradual beeline towards emotional tolerance to life here in the Mexican Tropics.  That I would slowly find myself at least half grasping the ways in which ‘life gets done’ around here.  But here we are, November 14, 2012, and although I can envision an A+ book report on this very subject, I’m a bit short on words.  I’ve been too busy laying on my cheap mattress, throwing a Penn 2 against concrete walls with my right hand, and catching it with my left.  And vice-versa.  There’s a metal ceiling fan to negotiate.  The daily earthquake.  Maybe a few breakables, but maybe not.  When I first started utilizing my concrete hideout as an athletic arena to keep my hand eye sharp, I hadn’t considered that it someday would also serve as a platform to aid massive writers block.  A little trick I learned from my man Jack Torrance.

I suppose there is an ‘underbelly’, or an ‘undertow’ to this tropical paradise that slowly creates an unconscious shift that begins to play tricks with the mind at large;  A reality check, doing business as a Poor-Man’s Circus.  All one has to do to participate in this mayhem is observe its Sights, Sounds, its Smells, and of course all the bloody Stories that seem to tag along.  It’s sensory overload in full affect.  It’s affect without cause, if that’s even possible.  If that’s not possible, then there you have it.  

As overtly enchanted as Puerto Escondido is, and as unconstitutionally wonderful the people of this region appear to be, it’s time for me to come forward with the current state of my emotions.  I will begin with a generalization or two:  Puerto Escondido is not Laguna Niguel disguised as Nuevo Vallarta.  I’m pretty far SE of those western ways.  I’m out-manned and under-gunned.  An anomaly.  My way or the highway puts me on the highway facing oncoming traffic.  Their way can appear confusing.  Full smoke and mirrors.  Land of the Double-Take.

So Yeah..It would be easy enough to write 1000 words about The Midget with the Machete and his Red Nike Hat who always smiles bright and gives me The Small Hand Shaka.  I could write a book describing how I’m affected by the In Your Face, Front & Center, Free to Be, Up Close & Personal Canine Hierarchy establishing and reestablishing, and re-establishing itself in and around everywhere you look or turn.  Perhaps I should shed some light on The 24/7 Mega-Loudspeaker Guy, with his prerecorded jabberwocky, that drives his motorized three-wheeler up and down the highway with the spoiled muffler.  Speaking of Highways, I will forever be a changed man when I came across the stiffened dog covered in white lye under the baby palm in the highway divider.  And don’t let me forget about my happenstance with The Harmless Drunk Guy that tried like mad to sell me a rare green iguana for a pint of Mezcal.  Actually, it would have been a sweet steal for me had this beauty been alive.  I kept saying, “It’s fucking dead Amigo!”