Archive | June, 2015

Summer Holiday Days 26-28: A Turn For The Strange

21 Jun

A strange thing happened at the airport. I had just finished another mediocre meal at the food court and was heading to the bathroom, when I was immediately hit with some serious chest pains. I picked up my bags and put them back down to take a breath. I picked my bags back up and headed towards the bathroom. It felt like someone had hit me in the chest really FUCKING hard.  Just as I was about to panic, two Mexican men came up to me to see if I was okay. I told them what was wrong and they helped me to the airport clinic (?) and shit got blurry from there.

I woke up on a cot from somewhere in the airport, and nurse asked me a bunch of questions in Spanish. They gave me some unknown pills to swallow  and told me to stay away from Coca-cola and coffee. Then they told me I had to leave because the airport clinic closed at 5 pm.

The Mexico City airport is one of the nicer airports I’ve been in. Food courts, pristine bathrooms, and state of the art facilities. For an international airport, its hella relaxed, and most of the female airline attendants look like part time telenovela actresses.

Mexico City is huge. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. There are some parts that strike me as very European and other parts of the city that remind me of San Jose, Costa Rica. Twenty one fucking boroughs. I’d been in town almost 3 days and have yet to leave the neighborhood, and now I was boarding the plane to Puerto Vallarta.

It is quite normal to hit an emotional lull after traveling for a period of time, and I usually get the “I’m ready to just go home” feeling about 2 weeks into any extended trip. Perhaps I was too busy doing it big on the west coast to have time to get hit with it, but by Wednesday night I was starting to feel it at the hostel I was staying in Cuidad Mexico. It was probably good timing to head for the coast.

Things certainly took a turn for the strange. I got off the plane and was immediately escorted to an office to grab airport wifi so i could sort through my email and determine the location of my hostel. I wasn’t sure if this was because Puerto Vallarta was a haven for gangsters and Marks, but the urgency in these people’s voices was jarring.

After we found the location and name of my lodgings, this large toothed Mexican man broke into a gigantic smile and brought some tequila from behind his desk. He offered me a shot, and then promised me a free taxi to Sayulita (my next destination) if I gave up 60 minutes of my time to hear a presentation. After 2 more shots of Tequila, and the promise of breakfast at the hotel, I agreed to do it. I was told that a man would be at my hotel to pick me up. He then wrote out a little receipt and told me to hang onto it, so he could get his commission.

I arrived at my hostel in time to accompany some Canucks out to a bar. We drank at some place called the Redneck Bar (I initially balked at this considering the name and the music hit too close to home). I ditched them not too long afterwards and had what was easily the best meal of the week at this restaurant La Dolce Vita. Nothing makes for a better reset than eating seafood pasta overlooking the beach.

The presentation didn’t go quite as easily as promised. My driver, “Ramon” scoped me up 15 minutes early and we walked down to a the Hotel Cathedral where my man gave the receptionist some money in exchange for a receipt saying I’d stayed at their hotel. Then he took the receipt that I was given yesterday, ripped it up and wrote a new receipt with his name on it. Ramon had just scooped the large toothed man for his commission. He then drove me to this ridiculously swank hotel and asked me to lie about my income and tell them that I’d slept at the Hotel Cathedral. I looked at the new receipt he’d written me. I was to receive 800 pesos, some of which I’d use to pay my taxi to Sayulita. Everyone was in on this hustle.

The breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs, and hash browns. Nothing special at all. My favorite part about it was the freshly pressed orange juice. I think I drank four glasses of that. I made sure to tip because there was no telling how much the person who squeezed it was getting paid.

What was originally supposed to be only 60 minutes, now turned into 3 hours of touring the hotel, and basically these people wanted me to sign up for a package where I could take 3 weeks of vacation at any of their associated hotels for an all inclusive package for ONLY 35,000 USD with an 11,000 down payment I laughed and told them I wasn’t signing anything that day and that I needed a day on the beach to reflect on their offer.

So they brought in the heavy hitters. Two white South African men, one of them with slicked back hair like Michael Douglas from Wall Street (my motto is never trust anybody who slicks their hair back), and the other was an older gentleman who had the mustache of a man who goes hunting for lions in the African bush with his “assistants.”

These guys weren’t having it. The first thing they did was grab a new “worksheet’ with different figures for a 14,000 room with a 1,000 dollar down payment. I laughed again. Then they told me to throw out a number. I declined. They wrote the number 500 down. I could tell they were getting frustrated. This made me laugh even harder. “200,” the bush hunter offered, “and we’ll put you up in the hotel all expenses paid for the rest of the week.”

Fuck. These guys were good. I secretly wanted to sign it just for the sake of talking them down to such a good deal. Finally I told them that I needed to go. They were pissed. I could mentally feel the bush hunter calling me a nigger by his facial expressions. They gave me my 800 pesos and put me in the cab back to the Hotel Cathedral. As soon as we drove off, I instructed my driver to take me to Wal-mart, where I caught the bus going out to Sayulita.

I wish I could say I came out on top. I spent all of yesterday peeing out of my butthole and examining the toilet for weird protozoa in my “stool.” I got this sweet hotel room in the middle of everything and I can’t even leave it without the anxiety of crapping myself. Sayulita reminds of of Domenical, Costa Rica. There are lots of gringos, and everything here is built around tourism. I’m just happy that the noise from the night clubs here don’t drown out the sound of the waves crashing.

It seems like ever since I left the west coast, I’ve managed to have some sort of weird ailment. I had a weird throat/ear infection when I got to Austin;throwing off my equilibrium. I can’t even recall the last time I’ve had a solid dump, and of course there was the weird chest pains at the airport.

I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown later this week and enjoying some Bubba’s Chicken. I’m going to get reacquainted for a few days, and then head to the other side of the continent for the latter half of my vacation, but not before a quick visit up to the Twin Cities, a part of the midwest I have yet to visit. Until then…..I guess I’ll be fasting on Gatorade and “Wikipedia Lite.The good news is that I’ve probably lost 8 lbs of water weight in the past 2 days001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021 022 023 024 025 026 027 028 029 030 031 032 033


Summer Holiday Day 25: Slim’s Return

19 Jun

001 005 007

Summer Holiday Day 24

18 Jun

Summer Holiday Day 23: I Don’t Understand It

17 Jun

Mexico City has been hella dope. Watched the Golden State game last night from this swank bar with a Texan friend and his gal, and we got it in. Lots of Mezcal and Clamato on some plush furniture as the Warriors brought the title back to the Bay Area.

I knew I was going to have to pay a sucker’s fee when I first got into the bus station after a 25 hour bus ride from Austin. It was a beautiful trip, especially going through Monterrey, a city poetically placed in the mountains. It was a spectacular ride at times, a scary one at others. We hit at least 3 checkpoints where i had to bust out my passport and visa. There were definitely some moments late that night where I wondered aloud what I would do if a cartel came aboard our vessel like pirates. I’m glad I came to town via bus, but I would not recommend it for others, and I certainly would not do it again.

Roma Norte is great. A chill, slightly upscale part of the city where it is loud, but not nearly as crazy as some of the other parts of Mexico City. I’m taking advantage of the 15 peso to 1 dollar exchange rate here. Drinking has been fun, but the food itself has been pretty meh. There are loads of street vendors about town serving up sizzling dishes that smell yummy, but I still haven’t figured out where they wash their hands after handling the raw pieces of pork and bistec.

Drivers are crazy here too. You have to keep your head on a swivel. I almost got pasted by a commuter bus yesterday when I wasn’t paying attention to where I was standing.

Mexico City is a dope spot, but you can’t come down here clowning and being disrespectful. The police carry uzis on their hip.021 019 020 001 002 003 004 005 009 010 011 012 013 014 016

Summer Holiday Days 17-22 :Ceremony

16 Jun

128 130 131  133 134 135 136 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147

Summer Holiday Day 17

11 Jun

Summer Holiday Days 15 and 16: Postcards from 2015

10 Jun

Montana is as beautiful as they say. #believethehype. I haven’t been that overwhelmed with beauty since my trip through the Canadian Rockies back in 2010.

If Montana were a woman, she’d be catcalled and sexually harassed. “Damn Montana….you be looking good gurl……gon’ ahead–let me feel on that booty. MMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPHHHHHH!!!!!

Majestic terrain, clean air and gorgeous rivers, goodbye Montana. Fare thee well.

001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013