|539> Zoologic in my luggage: foiled swindles + a turtle caper codex (comp book from Mexico 1986)|
15 AUG 2017 | DC> weave bean tryin' to scribe regalure akey last few posts bud jus dont feel naturel no mo 2 ride using carwreck spilling + granmar ... mush as we presheate th regimen of Gotham Grammarian witch weave bean workin' on giddyup online. Dope shit o-cures when u brake landgauge, b'way! Layendo Codex Mojaodicus (by Steven Alvarez) rein-forzes such noshuns + bucks us up con fianza... knot onelie dose he fuck up «langwedge» (as he culls hit) bud he escribes ½ in spanglish + channels Deadalus to boot... ¡órale güey! + he did time in Tuxson as well... from Safford, AZ, a mining town where once we geotemp'd for a forthnight.
Kinda liebro dat when we terminar we suspeck wheel rigress al principio to figger out wtf we just red (in buena manera). Sentonces, de todos modos, in th pryvius post (in our ongoin' f-forts to relive ∀ll da 80s during th mess of Agosto 2017) we sed we dint got mucho in th wey of written journels b4 1986... well we found 1—a travelog thru Messico—ware we dint put no dates so dint saber fer sure when hit wint down, ventured a guess of 1987... perro mid-way thru th journel we did put a date—Sept 1986, wich wood make us 19 years ol + our girlfriend S @ th time wd of bean 17, witch in retrospeck seams sorta loco dat her pairunts wd of let her travel w/ a punk like us thru Mexico (leagully dat counts as statchatory rape yo). So for th rest of dis post wheel transcribe dat journal hear verbatehim [w/ our edits/comments from 2017 in brackets asea] starting w/ th cover + pg 1 scanned so u git th jist:
[... lots of televisions and all coated...] in smog soot. After a 3-hour layover in Mexico D.F. + another flight, we finally felt the waft of wet, warm air characteristic of Yucatán. We swam through the air, letting it coat us a half an inch thick. [S] bet me that only one bag would make it and i took her up on it, since in my experience you lose or get them all [wreckon we must of checked duffel in them days] ... my bag came rolling off the carousel, but sure enough, S's didn't. We were told to ask the hombre in azul but he was nowhere to be found. Just a chirpy girl w/ a Club Med sign, pointing to a waiting Limo. Sorry, you got the wrong people. S thought the airport looked like the Stanford Mall, lots of shops selling lame T-shirts, perfume, sea shells and booze, but nothing resembling airport facilities, no men in blue. Then we spotted her bag in a vacant office through an open doorway. We didn't question why it was there, just took it. Then grabbed a cab. S practiced her spanish while our driver ran everyone off the road. He told us not to drive in Cancun because all the gringos drink and will crash into you. "Mucho tequila". We couldn't hear half of what he said because his disco music was blaring through shitty speakers. He dropped us off at the dock to the boat to Isla Mujeres. We looked out of place fully clothed. We sat on our baggage, looking at the pencil neck geek fishes and other fish that looked like large versions of the ones in S's tank. Lots of fishes, and this was the boat harbor filled with garbage and oil. Anyway, now we're here after more sleeping and waiting. There's a turkey gobbling outside our door and little children screaming. The sun is high but S is still [groveling] with pillow over her head. She tells me there [was a large storm last night...]
[...Why is this on the wall?] S is playing drums on her stomach... since she cant impress me by getting up, she shows off in other ways. Now she is getting really tricky, playing "three blind mice" and alternating between stomach and thighs. She looks at what i just wrote & says it wasn't three blind mice, but the Mexican hat dance song—da-da da-da da-da da-da da-dant [etc.]. I should've known. "Dame un roto" she says [a phrase we tot her when she axed how to say "give me a break"]. I tell her to get up. It's 9:41. At least she has progressed to putting her glasses on.
Two days later and the paint still drips off the wall, this room is dark so you never know what time it is. S tells me her strange dreams as usual. Let's see, we've been here for 2 days now. The first day we went to "el Garafon". Took a little boat with a bunch of other people who looked Mexican but were Mexican-Americans. After almost tipping the boat over we got there—rather pathetic compared to last time I was here... a million people snorkeling and tons of boats and buildings, last time [probly referring to a pryvius trip w/ our family] we were the only boat and there was nothing else around. As a matter of fact, the whole island was comparatively deserted back then, now it's all built up. Nevertheless, S thought it was great, her first time snorkeling. There were a lot of fishes but the rocks were bare since the tourists had grabbed everything.
Back to writing—where was I—oh yah, El Garafon. We saw our boat just in time as it was taking off without us and we got on in the nick of time and then went to this place where they had turtles and sharks. The poor things. People were grabbing the turtles and riding them, taking pictures of them.
Then we lazed about in the water waiting for lunch while all the kids splashed us and ran away giggling. Then lunch—first shrimp ceviche (served in a bucket). We sat next to some people that lived in New York City but were from Ecuador and Hermosillo. They told me "flojo" didn't mean lazy... must be a Jalisco thing.
After the ceviche we had this big BBQ parrot fish, roasted right there on the beach. We all picked at it like savages with our hands, cleaning it down to the bone. On the way back we sat up on the front and talked with the skipper. He told us where to go snorkeling when we got back. So we went to the point, past all these naked people. Hit the northern beach, playa de los cocos, which was beautiful, white sand and the water light aqua and shallow for about a mile out. After we jumped off the dock at Hotel Presidente... much better snorkeling than El Garafon, lots of caves with fish and coral. Then looked around in the tidepools a bit. The food here is great. For breakfast we have licuados, coffee and beans and whatever else. We snack throughout the day so forget about lunch, then for dinner have fish or conch as a main course and walk around by the plaza and get fruit, tacos and other street food. The plaza is happening, they have a basketball court popular with the locals. They have a plain-looking church and a public theatre where kids do stagedives into the sand and play on the cement animals. The first night we got invited to a wedding, with an "internationally acclaimed" band, w/ matching uniforms. Quite hilarious.
Woke up late the next day and again past the naked shriveled up people, probably there on the advice of their psychologists to "let loose"... back to the point for more snorkeling. The clouds were dark and the seas cloudy, almost alive. Saw even more stuff—lobsters, barracudas and some weird crab that looked like a colorful king crab, very spiny. He hid in a little cave and i couldn't get him out. S grabbed a cool conch shell, but it crawled away when we put it on the dock, cuz a hermit crab still lived in it. We found that the most interesting life forms were in the semi-polluted waters. I picked up a green glob and it started oozing and kind of coming out of itself. It grew from amidst the folds of lardy green flesh. It didn't seem to have a head or arms or legs, layered like a head of lettuce. Then it started to secrete a purple ooze from the fleshy folds and rolled through the water. Strange. We gave up on trying to classify it and assumed it was some sort of mutant blob. We then found a sea cucumber which was also strange but at least we knew what it was. I found a conch and gave it to S which made her happy... until she discovered it also had an hombre living in it. It was very alien looking so we finagled it out onto the beach. All the locals came over to check it out and laughed, no one knew what it was, definitely not a hermit crab. It's central body was like a soft spongey sea urchin shell. It had five radial arms that were long and looked like crustaceous millipedes. [In retrospeck, probably a brittle star?] We threw it back in the water before we caused too much of a scene.
We went back to our room and took a nap then went to explore the east beach. We brought sunflower seeds with us and the locals were intrigued, ended up giving most of them away. The fruits here are really weird. There's this one that's large and has leathery scaly skin. Inside it is white and creamy with fleshy parts centered around the seeds. [Mangosteen? Or snake fruit?] Quite delicious, not really comparable to anything i've ever eaten before. They also have these red things that look like stewed cherries and their flesh is textured like bread. Not so exciting tasting. And these other leathery small fruits that make your mouth pucker. The east side of the island is deemed peligroso so no one goes there. We explored anyway and found all sorts of unusual artifacts, mostly bits of human garbage, but also more shells, lots of bones, crabs, fish, etc.
Can't leave out the movie we saw last night... "Terror of the Cemetery". Spanish movie, but made in the U.S. One of the worst movies i've ever seen. It was also one of the funniest due to audience participation. After getting the last 2 seats which were broken and tilted to the floor we tried to figure out what was going on. It didn't matter whether we spoke Spanish or not cuz the sound was so bad you couldn't make out what they were saying. Everybody screamed/laughed every time someone was massacred (which was often). They hollered and whistled every time the movie stopped or the sound went out (which was often). They were all singing the spooky theme song as we left the theatre... guess you had to be there. Of course paletas after. Now i don't even know what day it is. Guess it's monday cuz that's what it said in the bank when we went to cash a travellers check. At least I wasn't one of the unfortunate ones that got turned down at 12:00 wen they stopped cashing checks and told everyone to go away, which included the person behind me.
Chinga, there's a zebra on the wall and strange metal circles. [Then we rambled on about knot sure what]. We're in Cozumel now. Went for a run to the amazement of not only the locals but to the tourists, wondering why anybody would do anything besides sit on their asses drinking beer. Then we tried to find an affordable restaurant, in the land of redneck gringos—fat sunburnt wanna-be jet setters in their rented jeeps. We left Playa del Carmen for this on a large fast boat, quite a different story from the boat that took us to Isla Mujeres 2 days ago, and back [... backtracking... ] got a cab to the bus station where we joined forces with some bohemian Austrians who we had run into a few times on the island. Ended up we were waiting for the same bus, with 2 hours to kill before it came. [A + C], i think their names were. Though Austrian, A spoke English like a Scotsman. He had a wide blonde mohawk and pair of spectacles hanging off his nose. C i don't know how to classify, he wore a Bob Marley shirt and worked in a discotheque in Austria. Both smelled like they hadn't bathed in days. They shared one bag between them, since the other one got lost. They were surprised and impressed by our selection of tapes, but to no avail since i couldn't get our walkman to work. We ended up talking about the usual, politics, kids there, kids here, AIDS, Russia, U.S. etc.
We got to Playa del Carmen and decided to wait a day rather than hop right on a boat. Us 4 vagabonds set out to find a place to shack up for the night. We were misled a few times, down roads that went nowhere, down paths into the jungle. We passed a sow and her dozen piglets + a man taking a piss then finally spotted Hotel "Selva"... next door to Hotel Elephant. Only 100 meters from the beach... too bad there were no paths thru the jungle to get there! We ended up sharing the only room left w/ these 2 strange Austrian boys. I stepped on a goose as i paid the bill up front. We then went back thru the jungle to a little restaurant. The Austrians claimed they knew how to say "cheers" or "salud" in every language... obviously really into their beer, and were upset when it didn't come with a glass, and that i didn't drink. The social welfare system in Austria says that your parents are obligated to give you room and board through the equivalent of your education. If you flee the coop, well they still have to pay your room and board... swell law!
We ate BBQ chicken and had our legs bitten raw by mosquitoes. It took a lot of thought to not think about the itching. We then introduced them to paletas and crashed yet another wedding (our third this trip!) and then to the beach. We kicked at rocks cuz we thought they migh reveal something else. [ ... ] Stopped at another place and just talked about everything under the sun. When we got back the lights were out and the dogs barking and the geese quacking. We had nothing better to do but go to bed early. I didn't sleep at all and don’t think anyone else did either. There was a party outside our door. To one side somebody was doing their laundry and knocking all night to get back in. The other neighbor had a baby that sounded like it had asthma or something and it cried all night. Loud sexual noises came from who knows where. Strange bugs chirped from the thatched roof. Cockroaches scuttled across the bed. A large bug made clicking noises in the shower. A cricket was in the corner. Another dozen sounds i couldn’t identify. The strange kids next to us rolled and snored. Come morning turkeys gobbled, roosters crowed and geese did whatever they do. Parrots and other birds made a wide assortment of other sounds. The sound of the maid sweeping outside our door kept the beat.
Finally managed to get up, had coffee and amused them with our granola and "oriental trail mix". Before we parted, A and C wanted pictures of us looking like tourists.... obviously amused by our luggage [...before we learned to travel lite, or mostly S's stuff]. Then made our way to the boat. They jumped off the dock and swam to the side of the boat in their underwear and that was the last we saw of them (Cozumel was too expensive for them). The ride was a bit woozy, saw flying fish and just sat on the back. Now we just got back from the plaza. Since there are no interesting people here, we made friends with a malnourished dog... skiinnnny puppy! [we were big fans, still are] We played with him and even bought him a can of dog food, which sort of overwhelmed him. He would only eat it if i put it in my hand. This room now is a step up from last night's.
Caca de vaca, now we're back in Cancun after a shitty trip to Cozumel. We woke up and rented a moped, a little Honda 70 scooter like bike. Everything that could possibly be broken was, but it managed to run, got us around the whole island in fact (21 miles long + 12 miles wide). The first place we stopped was great and we snorkeled. The water was deep and very blue and had a strange texture to it. There were lots of corals + fish, including the biggest multicolored parrotfish i had ever seen. There was a rock with a strange growth that looked like cookie monster. When we got out there was some artsy guy who in broken English was trying to be poetic and intense, telling us that diving to him was lonely and peaceful and solemn and deep. Stopped for lunch at some place with loud disco music and trendy Texans eating hamburgers for breakfast on the beach. Then fancy little boats awaited to take them scuba diving. We were not hip or rich enough for this crowd. Nor for the crowds at the next place... a safari-themed place blaring disco music. We shat happily in their toilets without buying anything. The next place was also like this. We decided to skip lunch and float around in the water, trying not to get run over by boats or the fat white whales from Louisiana. We followed the signs to a ruin that was so amazing and large that we passed it 3 times, before realizing a mound of dirt was it. We kept going for miles, to the lighthouse, passing another "ruina". This one had a dog sleeping in the damp shady interior. These turtles near the lighthouse would have bitten my finger off if i hadn't pulled it away. Sat through a lunch of 6 cokes and a bowl of beans before we realized there was a parrot under our table the whole time. Made one more stop at a secluded beach where we found some ruins that seemed almost like they hadn't been discovered yet. After this we had a long ride home. Showered and rested, then explored the north end at night, came back and ate lonches and more licuados of course.
The next morning we wanted to go for a last ride and discovered that our scooter wasn't where we parked it. Didn’t surprise me since it didn't have a lock and didn't need an ignition key. We pointed this out when we were renting it and they said not to worry, acting like we were uptight. "No one will steals here, and besides, we're on an island so they can't get very far." We went to the rental place to report it stolen, waited and waited until finally a short man w/ an afro took us in his VW bug to find the moped. After checking all the hotels to see if someone had accidentally mistaken it for theirs ("turistas stupidas!") I told him to just forget about since our time was up anyways. Then it came out that we had to pay for the scooter, not just for the rental, but the cost of the bike! I told him (all in spanish) there was no way i would because i asked for a lock and they told me i didn't need one, that nobody would steal it. The man started to ooze slime right before our eyes. He started to sweat as he gave me the usual spiel, "mi amigo, i want to help you. I am your friend, what i am about to do for you might cost me my job." Go ahead and spit it out hombre. After much hemming and hawing, acting like he was a lifesaver, he told us we could just give him $60 (US) and he would go back to the office and say we ran off without paying. Quite humorous. It didn't make sense, i had already left a $60 deposit. He said if he took us back to the office they'd make us pay $600 and that the police would detain us until we did. "De veras?" Then why don’t we just go to the policia ahora and tell them que paso? He started to sweat and slowed the bug down to like 5 MPH as i told him that i would tell the police he tried to ask for a propina. He was getting desperate. Ok, ok, mi amigo. $40 dollars. I told him that he probably stole it himself. And that I didn't have $60 anyway, not even $40. We weren't getting anywhere so just to get rid of him i said he could keep the $60 deposit we left at the agency. He said ok, ok, he would tell his jefe that we escaped and ran to the boat. How dramatic! And that's what we did. We escaped and hopped aboard the "water-jet". Funny cuz in the end they are the ones that got scammed because we didn't even pay the $16 to rent the moped for the day. First thing i did when we got to Playa del Carmen was call to cancel the traveller's checks. Good thing i didn't leave a credit card, just left the deposit in travellers cheques.
After this ordeal, we decided to just head back to Cancun. As we waited for the bus we played w/ a small monkey whose owner was passed out in the shade of a circus tent.
Now we are at the only cheap hotel in Cancun. Backside of a third floor facing an empty lot in the middle of town. Cockroaches on the wall. Dogs wont stop barking. The hotel's not even finished. There are gravity-defying footprints on the white walls and two wires protruding from a hole. Somebody wrote "Margarita yo jaco"... whatever that means [google-translating now, jaco means 1. small weak horse, or 2. heroin]. Now I'm soaking wet and no towel. We got through washing our clothes in the sink and they are strategically draped throughout the room. As you can probably tell [the writing barely decipherable, the pen not working] water is dripping all over the paper and i cant write. It dries fast though. We are trying to organize things a bit, a day in Cancun to regroup. Woke up late as usual. Had to walk for miles to find a place to change money. Then then hopped a bus to the "hotel zone". Fancy hotels and great beaches. I found a bunch of shells in the surf while S roasted her white little stomach to perfection. I also saw these strange little brittle stars [so if we knew what brittle stars were, then we don't what that was we described previously] and some fish that was new to me. They looked like squid that evolved to be fish and they [... always came in pairs, they looked like this: [at which point we drew what was obviously a cuttlefish in retrospeck]]:
[... Went to dinner] at this killer place where we had breakfast... pozole, finally! Strange thing though, after we sat down we noticed that of 100 people there, they were all guys, mostly young, all staring at S. She was the only girl, we were the only Americans. We sat and ate paletas after and met some beach bum dude named E. He drove the boat to tow water skiers at the Fiesta Americana. He was going to California in 15 days because he didn’t like it here. He also told us Mexico City was dangerous because all these people were homeless because of the earthquake and robbed everybody. They stole a watch and gold chains right off his neck 2 weeks before, at gunpoint... maybe this changes our plans.
Aug 24 Pisté—[1° time we actually wrote date + place! Tho we dint put th year] Everybody here says "mucho gusto." More friendly than Cancun. Like señor bus driver, piece of work. Looked like Wolfman Jack, hairy chest, gold chains, feathered-back hair, groomed beard and open clean white shirt. 60% of the time he spent combing his hair, twisting his moustache, blowing himself kisses in the mirror, admiring what a hunk he was. On the rear view mirror was written: "An Angel is driving." He stopped in Valladolid and said we had a 10-minute rest stop. The people next to us had a kid and they left him on the bus while they got something to eat. After about 2½ minutes, the driver got back on and started to leave without half the people, including the parents of the kids. The father raised an objection to this and the bus driver wanted to start a fight with him. Que macho! My "macho" (more like stupido) act of the day was giving up my seat to some woman and her little kid cuz no one else would. Seats that we waited in the bus station for 2½ hours for. After the bus driver and guy quit their yelling and posturing and we got on the road, 10 minutes later we picked up this woman with the kid and her husband (more indigenous looking). There were dozens of other guys sitting by themselves doing nothing, and there was me, w/ my chica playing cards, but none of the guys would get up and just looked away. And of course the woman stands right in front of the gringo (she wasn't stupid) and stared at me with doey eyes. And stupid me thinks i'll offer it but maybe she won't take it, but of course she jumped on it. 2 hours of standing, what a martyr! Last time i do that.
So we made it here, great place— Pisté—a mile or so from the ruins. Cool enough here that we don't even need a fan. Went to the ruins (Chichen Itza) and saw the light show. Seriously corny. Stupid new age gringos had the nerve to smoke pot, to trip out on all the colored lights, etc. Stopped at the giftshop to get a book on Chichen Itza, they had all these books—"Joy of Sex," "Female Erogenous Zones" but no books on Chichen Itza. Oh, I forgot about our last day in Cancun... woke up at 7:00 in our fleabag hotel to go to the bathroom, spun around the room and felt heavy. I thought i was just tired and went back to sleep. An hour later I tried to get up, but i got really dizzy and felt like jello. Meanwhile my head was on the ceiling and white tiny lights were flickering. My mouth was parched dry. Felt as if i had just eaten two pounds of raw sugar. I tried to get S's attention to get me something to drink, but she was in a coma. I finally forced myself to get up, and threw up a bright greenish-yellow liquid that was very acidic. Obviously nothing I had eaten recently unless Mayan spacemen had been intravenously feeding me. I went outside, it was incredibly bright. I felt like the guy in Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Guess it must've been me that went & bought cokes (they stay good for the digestion) i don't remember. Then suddenly I felt fine. And as we did every morning went out to get a pitcher of watermelon water. Good stuff, can't get enough of it. Back at our hotel a jukebox was playing extremely loud heart-breaking mariachi pop songs, some of it kinda catchy, have to admit. Took a bus out to the Fiesta Americana, met our friend E from the night before to see the boat races. He saw us and like Tarzan jumped off his boat ("Ms. Pac Man") to greet us. Meanwhile all these speedboats went in circles, revving their engines, while people sat in the shallow water and watched. This E guy was up to something, after getting a piece of paper from a friend, which I ignorantly assumed to be an address or phone number, he tried to stick it in our bag. Luckily we said (in truth) that we had no dry safe places in the bag or pockets. He kept trying to lead us further down the beach until we figured out what was going on. How do we politely bail on this scene? "Sorry, we don't smoke pot." But it's safe, he insisted, further down the beach. "But we don't smoke, period. Not even in the U.S." I don't think he understood. Finally we escaped to more fun and sun on the stupid tourist beaches. I went further out this time because i had fins. Actually pretty incredible snorkeling. Found another conch, and a submerged bottle with a note in it that—when we read it on shore—went on about some idiot being held captive in some underwater cave (haha, what if it was true?) and the room number at Fiesta Americana where he was staying to get help. Saw giant barracuda and parrot fish and caves and underwater arches. Beach-combed for shells, saw a dead sting-ray, but when we saw S's red splotchy back and legs decided we should go. Wanted a change of pace from cheap Mexican food, so got pizza, knowing we'd regret it. Sure enough, it was totally disgusting, and expensive. My theory is that the more you pay, the worse food you get. Not only that, but a higher risk of getting sick. Hmm, S is spraying aquanet all over our bed, thinking hairspray will kill all these little bugs. Seems to be exciting them more than ever. Smells kind of nice anyway.
Rain, rain, rain. Nice to be cold for a change. Saw Chichen Itza yesterday. Woke up and found our aqua de sandia and walked the 1-2 miles to the ruins. Climbed the big one first. Then the ball court, observed the strange acoustics. And glyphs galore. Then the temple of skeletons, then to the sacred well, cenote. Large, deep hole full of green water. If you fell in you would get mixed in with the collection of Mayan bones at the bottom. Drank refrescos w/ tons of bees wanting some too. Saw more stuff, started to lose track of what was what. Something w/ hundreds of columns in a field, each about 10 ft. high. Another pyramid with statues and sacrificial tables on top. Went on past chiclet trees covered w/ clumps of giant 4-inch colorful caterpillars. We learned some history by mooching other people's guidebooks, or standing within earshot of tours. Past a few more ruins and serpent heads laying about, then finally "el caracol" .. the conch shell. Their astronomical observatory. Here they watched stars, predicted eclipses and the like and how the serpent (shadow) would come crawling down the main pyramid on the equinox. I climbed up and found a stairwell going down then lost my hat to the wind. Then it started to rain, a relief since we were sweating buckets all day. The tourists scattered like sheep, which was great because it left the ruins to ourselves. [bunch of random doodles] In the last section (a nunnery) we explored into caves and passageways as far as we could without flashlights. We enjoyed the rain, got wet, saw more ruins, then went back. Stopped to get coffee and play gin rummy, then went out for killer tacos. All night a poor puppy outside our window whined and whimpered so loud i couldn't sleep. That, and every time a truck or bus went by it felt like a deafening earthquake. And squealing pigs. Now we have to somehow catch the bus to Merida to go to Uxmal.
Oaxaca [+ Merida]
The ruins were great, far less crowded than Chichen Itza. The first—"egg temple of the magician" or something like that—was very tall and steep, and oval shaped. It had a cave full of bats in the middle and rooms on top. The rock carvings and designs seemed better preserved than the ones at Chichen Itza. Everything was covered with X's in grids like this [drew picture of XXs] All the rooms were full of birds and bats that scattered and made a racket every time you walked in a new room. There were many other ruins in various states of restoration, some just overgrown mounds, others fully restored. Around the ruins, neon green lizards ran around on 2 legs like prehistoric dinosaurs. And lots of butterflies and caterpillars. After this we were thirsty and I drank 6 sodas, which naturally led to a burping match with M, which proved to be no challenge at all. We went to the bus stop and all the characters were there. The bus didn't come so we took a cab to a nearby town and from there the bus was only 200 pesos, half the price. We ended up on the same bus we would have caught if we waited (meeting back up with the cast of characters, annoyed that we paid less, even despite the taxi, and we got to eat elotes and oranges that were virtually crammed down our throats by the pesky street vendors). Ate huachinango for dinner once we got back. Sat and talked with B and M til 12 and made plans to meet up with them in Oaxaca. Met another guy (D) sharing a cab from the airport. A buyer for the Jackalope store in New Mexico (strange as i had just bought a postcard from his store when we were there a few months ago)[.. so maybe we took that trip to NM/Colorado in 1986, not in 1985 like we said b4]. We ran into him again at dinner, had tamales and then went to see folkloric dancing.
Land of la-di-da intellectuals and cappucinos [must have been talking about Oaxaca now]. All eyes give you the up and down when you walk thru the plaza. We had pozole and went shopping but didn't have money to get anything. Went to the market, mountains of mangos, piles of chiles, spices, exotic fruits with fleshy insides, tied up turkeys hanging from their feet, goats, smelly meat, livers, heads, kidneys, stacks of cheese, sweatbreads covered with bees, cages of parrots, tons of tamales, yards of fabric, stacks of pots, many unidentifiable objects and even little bugs that looked like cockroaches that people ate [chapulines? did we not konw about them then!?]. We tried almost every weird fruit (but not the bugs) and got full on tamales. The smells were unlike anything ever before. People everywhere, the place was huge. Not many arts and crafts, so went to another market. Lots more clothing, Guatemalan stuff. Even saw little colorful turtles and are plotting to get some to take back. Today we went to the plaza and had our picture taken by a guy who's been using the same camera for 50 years (which his father used before him). He had to take a photo of the negative photo in order to get the positive (no film). [at which point we drew our rendition of the negative, of the photo on this next page]: Watched a blind man on his guitar while we waited. [note the fountain we're sitting...]
[...] Smells like dust, mud and sweat. We crawled through the unknown darkness of Monte Alban, maybe that's what it is. Then again, maybe it's the room that smells. The maid cleaned up all the dead roaches and put new covers on the bed. Smells like she doused the floors with ammonia. Our new hotel is cool, we now pay $4, not bad. We went to Monte Alban, what a view. Fun place to explore. Saw killer bugs, big black beetles with white stripes down their back. Strange bright red bugs. There were secret passageways everywhere, under, through, around, over, on our knees, in the mud, in a passage 2 ft x 2 ft that went on for about 50 ft. The people wondered where did they come from?... were they already here?!?! .. or did they come?!?! Or was it: Did they come... or were they already here?? I'm not loco, that's what they said at the light show! [Then we sketched a panoramic picture of Monte Alban].
Eating here is the best. We go to booth 39. That's Maria Theresa's. Bowl of coffee with chocolate for breakfast. Her beans are killer, as well as chorizo with eggs. They have pozole here, good, but not so spicy. What else? That's all we seem to do is eat. And look around and shop without money. Saw all the ruins—Monte Alban, Mitla (rather pathetic cluster of buildings, compared to the rest). The bus driver to Mitla kept stopping and cramming people on the bus even though it was totally full, soliciting people that weren't even flagging him down. Then he stopped and bought oil (while we all waited) and then stopped again further down the road in the middle of nowhere and put the oil on a shrine to light, along with some candles. Now i'm reading Readers Digest in Spanish for practice. At least i learned that lobsters molt once a year. During this period they are soft and vulnerable and the females can only get pregnant during this time. [followed by a page of bad poetry we wont subject you to, ending w/ the line "why we call these "ruins" I'll never know."]
Bolsa de espuma [another saying we taught S, literally "scumbag"]. All we do is plot how we'll smuggle turtles across the border [Having read a lot Gerald Durell, w/ titles such as "A Zoo in my Luggage", S was somewhat of an obsessed animal hoarder, had tons of pets + wanted to add said turtles to her collection]. We went to Etla thinking there'd be a happening market there, but we thought wrong. So then we went to San Felipe de Las Aguas to leave a note on the door where hopefully M & B will find it (written on a joker card of course) & know where to find us. Ate the usual assortment of goodies & unclassifiable things from the market. Went to the museum Rufino Tamayo, the Santo Domingo church and the English library, where we got more books. Visited the turtle lady and schemed, asked her questions about how we might smuggle them. We were propositioned by some brain-dead, shaggy, red-eyed hippie girl w/ crooked teeth if we wanted to buy the rest of her stash before she went back to the states. She asked this right in front of the police station. At least she was kind enough to tell S she had groovy eyes after we told her she was loco. Speaking of idiots, there was this drunk guy in the plaza last night that decided to rake his hand violently across his table (a struggling artist gesture?) breaking all the glasses, including one that hit a little girl selling roses right above the eye, leaving a deep cut. And then he didn't have the money to pay for the wine (let alone the broken glasses, or the medical bills for the girl). Really caused a scene. The police finally came and took him away.
Well, we got our turtles, but not in Oaxaca, we got them here in Mexico D.F. That's right, we're here after changing our plane ticket. We spent our last 2 days in Oaxaca mostly sleeping, reading and eating. Getting to know all the street urchins in the plaza, invited them to sit down w/ us and eat, much to the chagrin of the waiters. One kid did a pretty good Humphrey Bogart impression, as if that's how he learned English. We bought flowers from him, but then he came back and wanted to buy them back, so he could sell them for a higher price to some other gringos.
Now we're in Mexico City, listening to idiotic music being piped into our room through the walls, feels like Clockwork Orange or something. Enough to drive you crazy, especially since they play it all night. [Must've been the Grand Hotel, where we've stayed a few times since, including 6 months ago, also annoyed by the piped in music]. Saw the Cathedral today, then ate at the Hotel Majestic overlooking the Zocalo. Then we went to mercado de la merced, mainly to get our turtles. A large busting market with a little something for everyone. We found a strange pet shop that had 5 of the turtles we wanted. Being exclusive customers, he showed us his rare (and most likely illegal) pets he had for sale in a back room, including a baby alligator w/ weird buggy eyes. We ended up getting all 5 of his turtles and took them home on the Metro, where everybody stared. We got a little bowl for them, but our hotel has a bathtub and the maid didn't mind that we put them in there. Then we went back out to Chapultepec park and cruised around and saw the palace and whatever that is on the hill, with the museum inside. Then we went to the museum of modern art and tried to go to the anthropology museum but it was closed.
The next day we almost got robbed... I should've known when 3 young men gleefully said "oh yes, this is the bus to the Zona Rosa" and encouraged us to get on. Once we were on they didn't hesitate to pull the old "drop the coin on the floor and ask you to pick it up" trick, but i just ignored them. Then they squeezed between me & S (the bus was crowded) but i had S's purse so wasn't so worried. I pushed my way back to S and told her they were trying to pick-pocket us. By this point they had given up on being subtle and rifling through my back pockets, which only had brochures and meaningless shit so i let them, thinking they might go away. Then they realized my wallet was in my front pocket (where i'd kept my hand the whole time) and they grabbed at my arm trying to pull my hand out and violently grab my wallet. After a tug of water I yelled "ayudame!" and told the bus driver to stop. "Me tratan a robar!" People sitting right in front of us commented on how these guys were trying to rob the poor gringos, but no one did anything. Finally i pushed my way to the front where the driver was and told him to stop and finally he did. But then one of the guys blocked the way so i couldn't leave, so i looked at the bus driver like, "en serio?" And he looked at me like "what am i supposed to do about it?" I quickly ducked under the thugs arm while S also yelled "auxilio!" They stood aside to let her off, and luckily didn't follow us off.
Then we went to the Archaeological museum. Lots of cool bones, artifacts, etc. The architecture of the building itself is amazing. [I drew a picture of the roof span, w/ water dripping off] Supposedly the largest area held up by one column in the world. Water flows in a circle, pumped through the column all the way to the edges where it rains off. Oh, before this we went to the Rufino Tamayo. Modern paintings, post-impressionist stuff. And then we went to the market [then described more stuff we saw at the market, including music instruments, ... drawing pictures of drums and gourds] Yesterday we went and saw the ruins at Teotihuacan. The bus ride there sucked. It stopped every other minute and seemed to constantly go over topes. [And then i described the pyramids and all the bullshit waiting to get in].
On the way out i found this neon green cricket that seemed to like riding on my hand, stayed there for like half a mile. Some Indian women saw it and said son buenos frito con limon. On the way back on the Metro we stopped at the Basilica of the Virgen of Guadalupe, a very large modern church next to the old sinking one of the same name. Then we went home, changed, then went back out to the Zona Rosa and ate at the "Chalet Suizo." Took the Metro home even though it was late + lots of thieves about.
Mazatlan—Sept 6, 1986 [now we put the year!]
The next morning was the first leg of our caper, to Mazatland with our turtles. The guy at the front desk gave us our wake-up call a half an hour late, but i had been up already. The guard at the airport noticed our turtles but didn't take them away. We flew over Lake Chapala on the way, weird to not stop, i could see Ajijic [where we lived for 3 yrs]. We had to stop over in Puerto Vallarta where all these tourists in sport clothes got on. When we got to Mazatlan the turtles were okay. Took the airport bus and they stopped at the first shithole hotel for us, the other gringos gasped that we would stay there. Then we switched and came here. Got lonches and quesadillas. S wasn't feeling so well, so i went and got her some Peptol Bismo. Then I went out by myself and walked the boardwalk i remember as a kid [also lived here], then looked in the tidepools i also remember. Found some killer shells. S felt better later and we went back out and watched the sunset. We ate at some place with loud mariachis, trumpets right in our ear. We couldn't really afford anything on the menu. Anyways, now its morning and we're going to get real food and licuados at the market.
Then went to the beach in one of those golf cart taxis. The beach is very different than i remember, in fact there is little beach left. The waves break right on shore. We walked all the way back, about 2 miles. On the way stopped at the aquarium. Lots of sharks and fish, the coolest things were these little shrimp that looked like moon buggies. They had tails like lobsters but still swim forward [then we sketched a picture of the shrimp, and then described more of what we saw, and the shitty conditions of the aquarium.] Then we went and swam at the beach. The tide was strong, pulled very hard to one side. And now in our cool dark hole of a hotel. Then we went to a palapa restaurant on the beach where we had killer shrimp al mojo de ajo, and raw oysters with lemon, chili and salt. It was a mind-expanding meal.
The next day went to the local beach. I attempted to snorkel to no avail, very murky and polluted. So went tidepooling and beachcombing, one of our favorite pastimes. [Then described more of what we saw in great detail, then talked about our relationship w/ S...] I guess I am becoming 'non-serious" in a lot of ways. I haven't written anything personal or emotional in here. A phase? Time sure can go by without you knowing it. Anyways, after this we went to Mamukas, I guess THE place to go. We had the supreme gringo special—a big spread with every type of seafood, served on a platter shaped like a pig, with coals in the mouth. We even dressed up and attempted to be romantic. My throat really hurts, I guess still from Mexico D.F. smog. When we left it was raining, pleasant surprise. It rained all night, sometimes the thunder deafening. Today we got up and ate shitty food at some place that we chose because of their amusing spellings of translated words. Some of the selections included beckem, soops, and licuied fruit. Then we walked all the way to the hotel zone. I saw a little baby duck on the beach quacking all by himself. When we jumped down, he ran up to us and fell asleep in my arms. He liked my armpit. It sucks they don't have wildlife rescue here because he was a cute little thing, and not sure what he was going to do. He had little stubby wings, couldn't fly or fend for himself. We didn't know what to do with him. The waves were about to wash him away and he seemed cold and wet. So we took him across the 4-laned road to the swamp side. How and why he got the beach, we'll never know. There were all these iguanas on the other side, one was huge, like 4 or 5 feet long, with big spikes like 6-8 inches running down his spine, like a stegosaurus, very prehistoric. We found a clearing and put the duck in the water. Meanwhile we were getting eaten alive by mosquitos, but still contemplated the best spot. Would iguanas eat him? There were a few other ducks, would they help him out? After this we walked through the shitty tourist area and looked for large tacky sombreros, [S's father] needs them for a dinner party he's gonna have for some Japanese executive friends. He's gonna get them drunk and put the hats on them then take photos. But they were ridiculously expensive and the guy was an ass. Then we snuck into the pool at El Cid, so decadent. We left after about 7 minutes of observing these idiots. We found a great beach with locals further north and went body-surfing and had a coconut. Went to Mamukas again, it wasn't so hot.
Our last night in Mazatlan... our turtle caper is at its climax. We sit around and sweat and chew gum in nervous anticipation. We're acting like we're smuggling 2 pounds of heroin. We went out and got a thing of baby-wipes, took all the wipes out and plan to put the turtles in there. Today was our last full day. Got breakfast at El Camino Real, then to the beach to sun and bodysurf. Snuck into another pool until we got kicked out. Then went to the market in search of Pancho Villa hats, finally found some for a decent price, got 7 of them. Sure they thought we were loco. S also got some huaraches. Came back and ate ceviche on the beach, then watched the sun set on a pier and jumped into the water. The waves were huge and i had to wait for a break to swim in. Then we ate pozole with loads of chili, numbed my senses. Rained again on the way home. Now sitting here watching the lightning. And now we are back in the real world, los estados unidos. Got up at 6 to go tidepooling, and surprisingly S got up too. Walked out of the hotel and saw a taxi that started honking and yelling at me for some reason, then a block further along broadsided a bus. It was a very loud crash. They got out and started yelling at eachother. The pelicans here are so decadent they don't even have to dive to get fish. They just float around and stick their heads under every once in a while. Others sit on the beach and wait for fisherman to throw them scraps. We went beach-combing and tidepooling until we got hungry, but had no money, so had to stall for time until banks opened. Watched the pelicans close-up, doing that weird thing where they turn their beaks inside out. Strange creatures. Then had licuados, then i made S go parasailing as a last hurrah, she was inspired. Then back to pack and prepare for our turtle caper, then went and got a last ceviche. Then to the airport with a very social driver. The plane was late, we watched millions of crickets climb the walls. When it finally came it was virtually empty. Next to us slept a drugged-out hippie chick who we bet was smuggling something more serious than us, and a guy in front of us was trying to sell dumb fish statues to people that clearly didn't want them. So we got here, and we're here... what more is there to say? [End of transmission.]
[9/1/2019 addendum: after discovering negatives + photos we'd never scanned in... here's a few more shots from this trip to Mexico:
|538 <( )> 540 > Rebirthing a proxy urchin in the boony flatlands of Santa Cruz, 1987|