New Chapter

Quick post. Change of venue. Getting adjusted. Surf’s up.

On St. Valentines Day, 2010, I flew the coop. I left the wonderful confines of my treehouse, and moved into The Casa Agua Azul apartments just off the main beach at Zicatela. It was like déjà vu all over again. I was back in the exact room that I spent one month in last year. I love it here. The six-room apt. complex is owned by my friend Big Jim. Big Jim is legendary down here, and just the kind of guy you want on your side for all things Puerto.

So I’m back in Zicatela. It’s easier to just call it town though. Thing is, it’s not really town at all. It’s a horseshoe shaped “strip area” filled with restaurants, shops, cabanas, bungalows, palapas, cuartos, world travelers, and of course surfers. The real city or town of Puerto Escondido is more commonly referred to as Central. At least that’s what Big Jim calls it.

I like these apartments for many reasons. The surf check and the sunset views from the 4th floor rooftop are $$$. The cable TV with 24/7 futbol and novellas is pretty cool to have. Love my Mexican tiled bathroom. This year I am blessed even more here because the street out front is completely torn up. Not good for Big Jim and business, but nice for me. This particular street, Calle Abojada Brisas, is one of only a small handful of ways into the Zicatela area. No road now = No cars, taxis, buses, riff raff or the like. Every day, except Sundays of course, only workers with picks and shovels and 2 Liter Cokes are up and down my street. How do I feel hopping barefoot over their freshly dug trenches while carrying either my soccer ball or surfboard? I will tell you later.

I got here at 3pm on Sunday. Oh how Sundays are special. Somebody should bottle the Sunday smell in Puerto Escondido and sell it as potpourri or cologne. Have I made myself clear?

Within an hour of being here, my two new girlfriends gave me a surprise visit. Freaking Adorable. 30 pesos later I had four chicken tacos w/ fresh avocado cilantro salsa, and three fried Banana Platano something or others. I asked if they could break a 200. They couldn’t even break a 50. This was going to be an exact change exchange. I ran downstairs to the Jugo palapa and luckily they were able to make change for me. I gave my girls a small tip. They smiled for the camera.

Lots and lots going on. Stay tuned…

El Neen Yo

I agreed to eat most of my dinners with PC. He’s a good cook, and I’m burning calories. Maybe agreed isn’t the right word, but had I not agreed, there is no way of knowing how his mannerisms around the treehouse would have manifested. Besides all the additional treehouse sounds he is capable of making, I reckon his feelings would have been hurt too. That part I still do not understand. Nevermind! It’s a complex affair. He’s a complex specie.

PC wanted to make food shopping day something we did together. I knew better. I’d rather just hand over the Pesos and let him take care of that. It was a minimum four stop affair for sure. Five or Six, depending on how many banks you had to stop at before you found one that has money to dispense. Plus he needed to drop off his laundry. I didn’t want any part of it.

PC doesn’t like going out in public. He doesn’t mind it, but he doesn’t like it. Fact of the matter is, he’s actually just not good at it. He’d probably argue that point, but that’s what he does…he argues. Actually, it’s more barking than it is arguing. I am slowly beginning to understand why. It’s because he’s angry. He’s angry at the system, and the human beings that blissfully operate within it. You know that word game called like Seven Degrees to Kevin Bacon. With PC, it’s like Three Degrees to the Central Bank. If I said the word “HackySack”, or “Papaya”, PC would be able to get to Central Bank in like one move. It can be annoying or hilarious, depending on the time of day.

I told him I couldn’t go with him because I was meeting someone. Besides, this would give me the opportunity to covertly station myself in his path, and snap those “in public” closeups the board members were requesting. I have grown to love the beast, I really have, but this was business, and there comes a time when sometimes a little white lie is the best situational medicine. Did I just say that?

Main beach at Zicatela was still empty. Puerto Escondido is feeling the recessional pinch. It was roughly 9:30am. The surf was small. I had my camera. It was a somewhat cloudy day, which is rare this time of year. This winter, El Nino seems to be the answer to any of the Pacific Ocean oddities. I saw Bodega Bay Mark, and told him I’d be back later for that game of chess I promised I would play. I was looking forward to it actually. It was to be my first game since my arrival.

I got the closeup photos I needed of PC, and was sure I wasn’t spotted. I knew he’d be on a mission. First it was The Mercado for our fresh vegetables and filet mignon. He’d then hit his Coffee Roaster for several kilos ground to medium. I knew he’d then head down to Super Che for dead chicken, and a few other everyday items. His final stop would be Super 69 for all the International Items like Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Ragu Sauce, Jasmine Rice, Albacore Tuna, Skippy Peanut Butter etc..

Chess was just right. Mark is perfectly beatable, but not easily beatable by any stretch. Big difference. He likes to move quickly. I love when my opponent does that. The last couple games, I noticed him leaving his finger on each piece an extra five seconds or so. That should turn to ten seconds by the end of this week. I’m back baby!

Construction is set to stop around the treehouse for a couple of weeks. PC will have plenty of free time to catch up on all his reading. Although I have a new found bounce to my step, my right shoulder is completely yanked from the tennis serving motion. I should get that right within a few days. Good timing for a yanked shoulder because the surf around here this whole week has been quite tame. El Nino!

And speaking of a new found bounce to my step; On Wednesday morning February 3, 2010, I fell in love. I’m off the market.:( Without making any mention of my desire to know her age, she took her index finger and made the number 8 followed by the number 2 in the soft soot. True stories. My new shorty is 82.

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…