I like to swap the word Veterinarian for Vegetarian when the time is right. The time is always right with kids. You can just tell them you don’t eat meat because you are a Veterinarian. It usually dawns on them that something sounded fishy, but it’s a pretty clean play on words. I also like to interchange the words Telemarketer and Telemarker. This one is more for the adults in the room, and if it is played right, timed perfectly, and spoken with conviction, I can even get an adult or two to double take on me. That is because I prefer back country snowboarding to telemarketing. Or those fucking Telemarkers! Always calling me, trying to sell me something!! My favorite word swap of them all is the one I use on real special occasions only. That would be Milano and Mulatto. Been doing it since 1996, because as everybody knows, Derek Jeter is the greatest Milano to every play the game of baseball. If I play this one right, perhaps I say it as I am leaving the room, it usually turns out to be one of the better feather ruffling, shock value(esque) devices that I put in motion. Sometimes it’s even the Jeter part that does the ruffling. Many more times than not, somebody corrects me immediately by saying, “You mean Mulatto.” Anyway you slice it, #2 for the Yankees plays the game pretty sweet.
I made the special trip to El Tomatal for peanut butter just as I was coming down with something hard. I braced myself for a brand new experience. I had now spent a total of 250 days over the course of four different years along The Oaxacan Coast, and had never become ill. When I got out of the truck in El Tomatal, I stepped in dog shit but failed to realize it. When I stubbed my flip flop on the uneven cement, that particular flip flop went flying into the uncrowded peanut butter area. When I retrieved the flip flop, that is when I noticed the dog shit. By the looks of the residue outline on the bottom of the flip flop, it appeared as if only half of the dog shit that must have originally been on my flip flop was still on my flip flop. Like it had been ‘jarred’ off during the stub. I looked for the missing half circle of flattened dog shit. What human in their right mind would ever do that? The only thing in the room was the 400 Liter peanut butter making machine. No..Don’t tell me! I had a Junior Mint moment. I was spaced. The Indian Senora sold us 2 kilos for 160 pesos. That is a lot of fucking peanut butter.
Four to five days per week, I buy tacos and a juice from the ladies pushing the wheel barrel down my street. It all goes down at 10ish. Five tacos are two bucks. One 32oz juice is a buck. The juice changes everyday. Sandia, Melon, Coco, Horchata, Tamarindo etc. The juice comes in a 32 oz Styrofoam cup. Good ol Styrofoam. Styrofoam is nice in the hot tropics because it keeps the juice cold for hours. The ladies run a clean operation. The lady making the tacos never touches the money. The lady preparing the juice never touches the tacos. Here’s a cute story. From the hotel, I always yell down Cual Jugo? One time she shouted Melon. I shouted down Manana. The next day I tried to explain that Orange Melon(Cantaloupe) is one of the few fruits that I have an allergy to. Here’s where the story takes a turn towards cute. My favorite of all the liquids is their Horchata. They leave floating pieces of Melon in the Horchata, and it makes for a wonderful touch. I noticed Shorty scooping OUT the melon chunks. OMG!!! NO NO NO!! I knew why she was doing it, but couldn’t believe she had the care-with-all to do so. Perhaps I’m an A client? I tried to explain that I love the small melon chunks in my Horchata, but that a full 32 oz Melon drink always gets my throat and nose itchy. She finally understood when I clutched up and said, “Mi throato no likee and lo recibo itchy and scratchyo cuando i drinko el melon, pero mi likee el melon chunkos en mi Horchata.” Just a joke Yo. I always bring my used cup down to reuse over and over and over. And over. That would be the definition of an unheard-of-practice down here. Trying to do my part. Probably saving them two cents in the process…
There’s a guy I keep seeing around. He looks about 10 years younger than I. He’s got a pretty hairy chest. Shirts are out of style here which is how and why I know. In addition to his frontal forrest, he also has some hair that is creeping onto his upper back. Normally no biggie. I’ve got that exact soul patch, and it just so happens to be the softest bit of hair on my body. Ask that one girl. Anyway, every couple of years I get it shortened. Not shaved, shortened. Hacked back if you will. It takes thirty seconds, and typically is performed by a close lady friend or family member. But this isn’t about my hair. This is about that guys’ that I keep seeing around. Here’s where he went extra wrong. No he didn’t shave it or wax it like many of you reading this do. I see you! He made the mistake of getting a tattoo there. My guess is he got the tat in his early 20‘s, well before hair begins to appear on backs, between shoulder blades, inside ears, and the like. Fast forward 15 years. Little did this dude know that it would be impossible to make out what the tattoo is because it is hidden in his hairy jungle. And the double dagger is that all the tattoo does is accentuate the hair and make it look thicker and darker than it probably is. Poor bastard!
I need shoes. Size 11 US.
I was given a couple of pairs of used sneaks before leaving the States. I was thrilled because I was completely out of shoes. Not something I would be using everyday, but they would come in handy on the tennis and basketball courts, as well as other times when flip flops or bare feet would make for a bad play. I think they were both Nike. They appeared to be in fine shape. Supposedly hadn’t been worn in 15 years. I couldn’t say enough about these two fine pair of sneakers.
I wore the high tops to the airport. I packed the cross trainers.
On the way to the airport, we stopped in for a beer in downtown Los Gatos. (Pronounced Loss Gattis) It was 3:30pm on a Monday. By 4pm on that Monday, my right Nike hightop shoe exploded and then disintegrated. I barely tapped it on the bar’s foot stool, and I promise you that half my shoe disappeared right from under me. I looked around for any remaining parts. Fine powdery dust and pieces of weathered rubber were all I could rummage. I soft pedaled out of there.
I retrieved the cross trainers out of my suitcase and put them on before arriving at San Jose International. It was 5:15pm. I quietly stood in line at the cancer causing scanning device(s). When i took off my cross trainers, my left one blew to bits. White dust everywhere. You have got to be kidding! I swept my shoe(s) into the grey bucket and took my lumps during the MRI. Alaska Air gave me clear packing tape. I left a white trail of debris in three airports on three airplanes.
I need shoes. Size 11 US.
Woke up, got out of bed, dragged the wax comb across my board. Made my way outside and put on sunscreen. Somebody spoke and I attached the keys to the nylon chord that comes inside the pocket of standard board shorts. I put twenty Pesos and my ear plugs in that pocket. I closed the wooden door, unlocked and locked the iron gate, and I was officially gone surfing.
The action was high. Roosters still going berserk. School kids walking to school. Old, well dressed Indian Ladies coming out of thin air. Loose dogs and puppies everywhere you look. I was dressed up as the 3/4 naked, fluorescent Gringo, half whispering subtleties like Whizah, VeunoDia, A Dioooss, Hola Hola, and the unlike. It’s a puzzle that nobody can quite put together. Not even me. The 20-Something Chicas peering out of their concrete holes giggling. Love and laughter was everywhere.
It was now Monday morning, Valentines Day 2011. It was 7:30am. Exercise enthusiasts and bait fisherman up and down the entire beach. I made the mile walk down the beach in about 10 minutes. I rested and stretched by Yoga Antonio to admire his insane postures. While I was out in the water, it appeared as though the half dozen Federalis marching the beach had stopped by YA to do the same.
The waves were small, yet big and powerful enough to where I had to ditch my board a few different times. The wave action at Zicatela happens quickly and in shallow water. My duck dive to wave ratio was about 10 to 1 this particular morning. I made about six waves. The water was very warm. The chilly offshores were in full affect like always.
Got out around 9:30 and ran myself home. The hot sun was out like clockwork. I stopped and bought a couple of fresh goodies from the Swiss Bakery with my 20p. A Chocolate Volcano and a Vanilla Croissant. Hot out of the oven. Thought of my friend Goony G from La Jolla and his abilities to wolf down bear claws apre’ surf. So I wolfed those down during the remaining 300 yards of my walk back to my estate.
Hosed off, spent some QT with Pita and Lucy, and then headed high up to the rooftop palapa. I needed to confirm plans for a mini road trip south to Santa Elena. Confirming anything is NOT something one typically does in these hot tropics. Plans and arrangements mean very little here. I had no choice though. If I played my cards right, I stood a solid chance of absorbing a 100 year old Upright Piano before I was to head back to The States. Went to work.
At 1pm I ran barefoot to my local Jamba Juice. No shoes, No shirt, No worries. My papaya, pineapple jugo and my jamon y queso Torta was delicious. It was also only$2.50 US. I ran home in and out of the shade. I bought a coco de agua popsicle steps from my door. Twenty cents for that cool me down. I took a nap.
Snapped up and caught a Collectivo to Dan’s Deluxe Cafe. Hugh offered me up a cup of coffee as I waited for Dan. It was my only cup of the day. I ate a fresh Veggie Burrito too. It was 6pm and the sun was setting. Dan came home and confirmed the trip to Santa Elena. We were to leave at 6:30am Tuesday morning.
The purpose of the trip is to play tennis on Rick’s custom tennis court and scope out his antique piano that he has schlepped down from BC. Dan has gestured that there may be a nice spot in his popular cafe where I’m thinking A Star Might Be Born.
Hopped back on a Collectivo and headed back to my Estate. Took a quick outdoor shower, ate a ripe banana, began some computer chess, and started hydrating. Big day tomorrow in so many ways..
Tough living. Major updates Only:
Finally went to Super Che. It’s the only big supermarket in town. Air Conditioned. USA style packaging. Had my eye on some baby powder, potato chips, a soccer ball, and various other items.
Had a real scare at La Punta. Caught a bit inside on the outside, and went on a creepy 1/4 mile jagged rock tour all the way in. Freaky ass shit in unfamiliar big surf. Not a scratch. Nada. OMG!
Went in for a shave and a haircut. The Maestro just kills it. Guy gets it so smooth. Left myself a pretty goofy stashe just for kicks. Five bucks gets that straight razor pampering out of the way.
Began some ball work on the beach. Wasn’t pretty, but didn’t expect it to be. Work in the sand can be slow & humbling. When my strength and fitness come home, it should help matters.
Fully saved a hot chics life. Couple of puppies had her neck deep in the soft soot, and were moments aways from the kill. Couldn’t bare it. Surfboard in one hand, Chicken Little in the other.
Had no idea my MacBook came loaded with Chess. Changes everything.
For twenty three straight days beginning Wednesday December 15, I gobbled up roughly forty heavy duty painkillers along with 40,000mg of IBU. Had no other choice. The show had to go on and I could not get any comfort without them. Actually that’s not entirely true. The only place(if you want to call it a place) that I could find any comfort whatsoever was sitting on a hard leather saddle hunched over the top tube of my ten-speed. Tough place to catch any ZZZ’s if you know what I mean. Needless, the routine was simple. Toss and turn all fucking night until I was more or less forced to the medicine cabinet around 5am. Pop a pill and hope I didn’t need too many more to get through the long day. Dude what happened? Here’s what happened. When I woke up the morning after seeing Dr. FeelFucked, my back pain was magically better. Slight problem though. Jackass left me with an insurmountably vicious stinging pain that began in the upper reaches of my ass and ran down and thru my already deteriorating quad muscle, finishing up painfully on the outside of my right knee. Youtube validated Google which validated what I thought all along. Mr. Snap Crackle Pop gave me a severe case of Sciatica!
Hot topic: It’s been cloudy here. Nice for a change to me and probably everyone, yet it’s way not the norm this time of year. Something is definitely brewing. Indian Brew.
I woke up hungry. PC had taken his longboard surfing which made it a perfect time to slip out. I drank about 20 ounces of black coffee, grabbed my Ipod and camera, and headed out without anything to do. That’s not entirely true. I had one errand I wanted to run,(walk) but outside of that bit of responsibility, I was headed out to have a try at nothing. It was 7:30am. I went barefoot of course.
In Puerto Escondido, if you are in the shade, you’re as good as gold. If you’re in the sun, you better figure out how to get in the shade. A cloudy day in early February meant perfect temps without having to battle the sun. It sort of takes the pressure off your day. Can you dig it?
I went right to the waters edge and it was dead glass. Did some light stretching. I meandered down to main beach. Today, even the sneaker sets weren’t so sneaky. Playful. Gutless. Spooky quiet. I can’t say I have ever seen this place so G-rated. It was a perfect surf day for Joe First-Timer from Montreal or The Netherlands. I would have been out there too if my shoulder was right. Still plenty of fun waves to be had.
Ate breakfast right on the beach at Zicatela. It seemed quiet, but February usually is. It’s the same in the States I suppose. January steals the show, and leaves February high and dry. It’s probably why there are so many fewer days in February. Look no further than the spelling of the damn word..
Had a 20 minute chat en Espanol with Soco.(pronounced Soh-Koh) Had another 20 min chat in English with Lonnie. It was 10am. I then walked thru the “strip” on Zicatela, in and around The Marinero, crossed the Adoquin, climbed the concrete steps of the old church, and into town. I wanted new earphones for the Nano. The 900 Peso Sony Brand model that I just fucking bought at Circuit City in Santa Cruz California was already hosed. I replaced it with a 60 Peso($4.50) model. Both sets were probably made in the same factory.
I bought a fruit cup. Jicama on the bottom. Papaya in the middle. Pineapple on top. 10 pesos. I walked back the same way I came. I asked the young family from Toronto if they would watch my valuables while I went swimming in the ocean. They did. I did. 84 degrees. I walked back up to Hwy 200 and hopped a Collectivo for the one mile ride back to Brisas Zicatela. That’s the official name of the area in Puerto Escondido where I am hanging.(pun) There was an old Indian lady on my Collectivo. We never made true eye contact. Her feet looked like they were 200 years old. She only looked 100. Precious moment for this 42 year old.
Back at the tree, it was quiet. So quiet I took another record nap and woke up at 4pm. I didn’t have to wait until early evening to do some ball work on the beach because it was still cloudy. It was on!
[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.