Walk of Fame(Act 1 of 2)

This time was different. It was bound to be different because I didn’t bring either my sunglasses or Ipod. These are big decisions. Executive decisions. Swear to God! You’d be surprised. Decisions that change outcomes. You’d have to walk barefoot a mile in what would normally be my shoes, to know exactly what I am trying to mean. Here’s the scoop:

For a handful of reasons, I could have easily skipped this evening beach session. I was tired and feeling a bit buzzed tranquilo. I had only consumed two beers and three swags of homemade Tequila over the course of say a four hour period, but hadn’t eaten much all day. I had surfed small waves on the wrong board in the morning, and much of the afternoon was spent on The Colotepec River studying PC and his like minded acquaintance.

Pretty soon it became 5:30pm. Routine lately has had me booked at the beach, so it was time to run through my checklist. My first thought went to earplugs. Always earplugs. Don’t leave a tree without em’. Earplugs before shoes. Crazy concept for me and/or anybody for that matter.

I then categorized sunglasses and Ipod into their own category called (valuables), and decided against them both this particular time. Heavy Duty Decision Making! It’s nice having these two valuable items, but they, along with cameras and the like, don’t do well with the 5 S’s; Soot, Sand, Salt, Sea, Sweat. So without them, the pressure is off, and it’s sort of like your own personal invite to dirty yourself up.

Me: Do I bring the ball?

Myself: For what?

I: I don’t know

It didn’t make much sense to bring the ball , which is why I decided to bring it. Besides, it’s my best prop going these days.

The journey to the sand from the treehouse is about 500 meters. It’s hilly. Hillier on the way back obviously. Before getting to the sand, there is always something interesting or two to observe. It’s different every time too. Sounds. Smells. Faces. Dogs. Roosters. Taxis. Tortilla makers. Crying babies. Old Indian Men & Women. I try and make this part of the walk to the sand with some style and some purpose. I’m trying to make Gringo art. I’m trying to change lives in the present. I’m trying to be the ball. Noonan!

I carry the ball in my hand. I palm it from time to time when I have to. I spin it on various fingers when I have to. I clap it with my other hand and make various whistle chirps when I have to. I volley it out of my hand against a cement wall when I have to. I stop under a shade tree and stretch with it when I have to.

On this particular evening, about half way down the final grooved cement hill that empties out to the sand, I heard a soccer game going on. This was my first time hearing it, and coincidentally it happened to be my first time not wearing headphones. Go figure. Lesson noted.

I had seen the rocky dirt field from a hotel room I was checking out a few weeks back. The Senorita showing me the room said that games were held there every Saturday. I assumed they were full field, full squad games. I also assumed that everybody or most everybody wore shoes of some sort.

I didn’t even bother to have a look. For all I knew, there could have been nine of them looking for a tenth, and somebody had brought small netted goals. I put a 2% chance of that being true. More likely was that there were 40 of them playing 20 aside with all sorts of other side shows like breast feeding mothers, coke drinking, and coconut splitting.

I fought the urge to check it out, and simply stayed my course. I felt I was letting a potential life changing experience pass before me, but you can say that about any course of action, and you can say it til you’re blue in the face. It just wasn’t meant to be. Plus I had been hitting the bottle a bit.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, where the cement meets the beginning of beach sand, I did exactly what I had done every other time I got to this very point. With my left hand, I carefully tossed the ball up in the air, stared it down like the target it is, and kicked it with my right bare foot as far onto the beach as I could. The idea here is to hit it square, and hit it straight.

I hit this one solid. The ball had cleared the tall grass and was now perched up perfectly on a mound of sand. As I approached the ball, I again fixed on it hard. Prior to reaching the ball, I hadn’t looked up for about 20 steps. I had my head down so that I wouldn’t trip or step on a rock or a thorn, or god forbid a piece of cactus.

Because the ball was sitting up so nicely, I approached it with a sort of slow motion confidence. Like a Tropical Waltz. I cracked it hard with my left foot on what would have been the laces had I been wearing shoes. The crowd went wild.(just kidding) The ball made it 3/4 of the way across the sand, maybe 100 feet from going into the ocean. It came to a stop.

What immediately happened next will have to wait til manana. Hint: Brees and Manning had their big dance on Sunday Night in Miami. Mine came Super unexpectedly on Saturday night in Puerto Escondido…

Rebelmania

The email subject read Fuck Yes. The content was brief. The Rebels had finally been given the nod at Good Shepherd; A long standing soccer league in Santa Cruz CA comprised of good teams and stinky teams. There are thirty two teams in the league.

The good teams are typically those that have been playing with one another for many many years. Of course, family and job matters are standard obstacles for many players and team dynamics. Age and injury related matters can mess with success tambien. For the great most part, the best soccer players in the area are involved with The Good Shepherd league.

Here’s what’s going to happen. You heard it hear first. Whoever runs the league is going to rank The Rebels right in the middle. Maybe even the lower middle. Say 20th of the 32 teams. When the schedule comes out, we will play against teams that are ranked closest to us. Of course there will be a game or two against a top 10 team, as well as a game or two against a team ranked near the bottom.

LOL. This league is about to experience Rebelmania, and it might get ugly. The outcome of our 12 game season should chime in pretty close to perfect. Guarr-ans. We might play on our heels against a top team and get beat in a close one. Sure that might probably maybe happen. The real challenge for The Rebels in their coming out season is going to be how they handle themselves when they can win 15-0 but stylishly keep it close at 7-1. Proper.

As I’ve mentioned in prior writings, The 3B’s anchor a talented men’s roster that play cool and composed. Over the years, Biscuit has recruited top young players from many of the other teams. Young means 30. Young is good. Ask anyone. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly The Rebels seem to always get it done. It’s a 3B thing. How’d it go honey? We won. How did The Rebels play today babe? We killed em. You going drinking after the victory Love? We are.

When the time is right, providing Bones plays his cards right and keeps his play high, there might be a 4th B in the making. For me, the news of our inclusion meant it was time to ramp up my preparation. Let me tell you….

A Show About Nothing

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!

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.

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.