Local Legend

Today is Monday, August 29, 2011.   Opening day of The US Open.

I woke up to an email from Edwin saying that my racquets were ready.  Both my tennis racquets were in the shop getting restrung.  I brought a second racquet down with me this trip because I had broken a string on my original racquet.  The strings on the second racquet lasted a couple of sets before breaking themselves.

To save 5p, I walked over to Edwin’s shop.  His shop really isn’t a shop in so much his house.  I was glad to finally meet the guy because I have been admiring his surf photography for years.  If you ever see a surfing shot of Puerto Escondido in any of the mags, or Surfline etc., 9 times out of 10 times, Edwin Morales took the shot.

He travels the globe.  He is beloved in Puerto Escondido.  As far as The Mexican Pipeline goes, he has seen it all through the lens.  He also happens to be The Guy in town that strings tennis racquets.  I opted for nylon.  He wanted 300p for both racquets.  “We should play sometime, I have access to a private court,” he said.



Disco Lemonade

When I got to the shoreline, I realized I didn’t have my ear plugs.  I left my surfboard with one of the beach photographers and ran back up the hill.  I quickly snagged my plugs, grabbed a banana, and made my way back out of the hotel.  It was 8:30am.  The sky was cloudy and overcast.  A hard rain had fallen all night.  I closed the heavy iron gate to the entrance, turned around, looked directly across the street, and there she was.  In platform double suede, yeah there she was.

Me: Didn’t I see you yesterday while I was?.?.?..
Her: You were playing Ping Pong
Me: Yes I was.  What’s your name?
Her: Victoria
Me: Where are you from Vicky?
Her: Greece
Me: How long are you here for?
Her: Tonight is my last night.
Me: Should we make it a special last night?
Her: Sure.  Where are you from?
Me: I live here.
Her: What are you doing here?
Me: I’m a new artist
Her: What were you doing before you became a new artist?
Me: I wore The #10 for the Rebels
Her: I don’t understand
Me: It’s complicated.  I will explain later.
Her: OK.  So where are you staying?
Me: (I point up the hill) I’m in charge of Agua Azul.
Her: Wow!  Like the manager In Charge?
Me: That’s right.
Her: I don’t believe I caught your name
Me: I’m Charles. 
Her: Hope to see you later Chachi
Me: Yo tambien.  

Mille Bornes

I know this dude, he goes by Jones
He’s almost five feet tall
He doesn’t like his vegetables
You can ask his dad’s friend Paul
I gave him an early birthday gift
For ages eight and up
He had to wait a couple months
For Shanklee he’s a pup
But now that special day is here
As darkness turns to light
The little boy flies down the hall
And plays all day and night
He helps his baby sister learn
He’ll even let her win
The Chocolate Man knows how to roll
We love our Skinny Min


I sent the delightful British couple to the roof to ask the Oregon clowns if they were planning to leave their room ASAP.  I was done dealing with them.  They seemed cool at first glance.  It’s more the spot in the heart that Californians have for the Ore Gawn folk.  I wouldn’t even know why.  For me it was more refreshing to hear Oregon than Brazil, Australia, or Israel etc. “Oh Nice. I’m Aaron and I’m from Santa Cruz.  Bummer about your ear.  Give me a second and I will join you guys up top.”

I began having early doubts about jackass.  It took him but five minutes to start playing the divorce card.  The divorce had been final eight months ago.  His wife left him.  “My wife and I went to a counselor and the only thing she could say against me was that I was too nice a guy.”  I lowered my sunglasses, nodded a lot, and wondered how small his penis really was.  At first, he wasn’t too pathetic.  But he just went on & on & on.  We started to talk about hotel rates.  I smelled a rat.

Victims look for enablers, so naturally he turned to me.  He wanted me to enable him to get exactly what he had no idea whether he wanted or not.

So the original guy I met downstairs was not really in the picture.  Both his ears were fucked up.  Couldn’t really hear. Couldn’t surf.  He was looking at surgery back in the US.  He was bummin.  And he got real sick too.  Puerto is not a good place to not be at one’s best.  I’ve yet to go there.  So he was down and out.  Big Jim brought him a papaya once.  I did my best to pass along what it is I pass along.  It’s a shtick(le) of Love, Athletics, and Dry Sense.  They didn’t know how to buy into it.

But the leader of this victim duo was looking for something that wasn’t there out of me.  He didn’t trust me.  He wasn’t respecting me.  So what did I do to with Baldy from Oregon??  Not a damn thing.  I performed a double reverse takeaway and it worked to a T.  I lined up the Brits to apply the needed force.  When Homie asked me if they could leave several of their boards at the hotel while they travelled south, I said, “You’re welcome to ask the Big Man should you dare”.  Adios & Poof..

Help Miranda

She caught my eye and I have the reasons. Lots of reasons. We sat rooftop and watched the sun go down each night while I ran the hotel. She asked if I had ever seen the the “green flash”. I said I had even though maybe I hadn’t. Next thing you know the sun flashes green for seconds. Plural. It sent me somewhere else. Miranda didn’t even see it. I was blown backwards by it.

Her name was Miranda and she was from The Yukon. Maybe originally from BC, but once I heard Yukon Territories, I just ran with that. So she’s talking Yukon and 40 below and her NHL father and Gerry Lopez and Tom Waits and her extensive travels through India. We talked about earthquakes, canines, music, and surf culture. I was careful with my words. More than likely, she was too.

She was thin, blonde, and smart. She wore a trucker hat or a skate hat depending on how you look at her. She liked her wife beater with and without a bra, her Dickie pants rolled up to the lower knee, and she went back and forth between $5 flip flops and Tan Converse Low Tops without socks. She wore Highway Patrol Sunglasses or thereabouts. Her poorwoman’s Victoria Secret panties would show from time to time.

She was my age almost to the day, but didn’t look it. She had been to Puerto Escondido many times back in the day, but it had been awhile since. She wasn’t sure she was going to remain at Casa Agua Azul, and had her reasons why. I was hoping my interim presence would Help Miranda YEAH change her mind. This hotel is fit for a Queen. She seemed stoked that I was the new big man on campus. She, like me, is convinced this town makes magic.

Bodega Bay Mark

Had I recognized the (707) phone number coming through the cell, I probably would have screened it anyway. When I listened to the voice mail, I just could not believe my ears. To add insult to a mind & body riddled with injury, my chess partner and surfer extraordinaire to the North, Bodega Bay Mark, was phoning to say he probably wouldn’t be able to make it to Puerto this year. The news left me reeling.

BBM and I had bought that golden ticket on Mexicana in July of 2010. Round trip from SFO was only going to be $475. Chump change, even to us grinders. By August 26, 2010, Mexicana had ceased operations all together. Every week I phoned the bankrupt airlines, and every week I got The Manana. When our departure date of January 8th 2011 came and went, that’s when Surf Mutt broke the news.

For a split half a day, I was convinced this was the straw that put the cap on the dagger. All indicator flags leading up to BBM’s voice mail were pointing me towards staying in NorCal this winter. One thing after another after another. Thankfully I was wise enough to call bullshit on any red flags that were testing my heart & soul. I knew perfectly well that the disposition of my health was the only flag that mattered.

The after-affects of a late summer hernia surgery had me physically sideways. Some would say I came back to play for The Rebels a bit too early, but the surgeon from Ghana had ok’d my return. When coach stripped The 10 off my back for the final, I had officially hit an athletic low. Regardless, The Rebels went 5-0 over the weekend and sent the Bullies from Castro Valley driving back O.T.H. with a 4-1 loss to stew over.

On Monday, December 14th, 2010, I couldn’t really even get out of bed. I was in real bad shape. Later that day, a close friend of mine stopped by and handed me a couple of Vicodin and suggested I see Dr. FeelGood ASAP. “Oh and Aaron, I heard about your lackluster performance over the weekend. There’s always a spot open for you on the Hot Sox. We’d love to have you back. Let me know before you head to Puerto.”

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…