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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

MEXICO SEVEN: Michael Jordan & Purple Snatch

[Note: Blogspot lists these chapters in reverse order. To read earlier adventures, scroll to the bottom or click here to go to the beginning. You can click on any photo to enlarge it.]


[My friends told me not to go to Mexico. They said it was dangerous. I do not listen to my friends. My conscience told me not to go to Arizona. It said the place was evil, a hotbed of racism and xenophobia. I do not listen to my conscience.

I'm here because my Mexican friends have made a cover band. It's a cover band of my songs from my old group ARTLESS. Called Sin Arte, we're supposed to play in Arizona and Mexico. Three shows in the latter, two in the former.

This blog picks up right after part 5. I'm now in Guaymas Mexico. My Mexican band canceled our first show, and I was left as a roadie for my friends in Cojoba. My feet are wrecked from too much walking in deadly boots. Worse than blisters, the boots have torn the skin of every part of those tender organs. And speaking of tender organs, I'm suffering from the worst case of jock itch I've had in my life. I bathe my testicles in tea tree oil which doesn't seem to help much. It does make me smell like a giant Halls cough drop. And speaking of cough drops, I've a bad cough from sitting next to a snot-dripping yuppette on the plane from New York to Arizona.

Last night, it was a fifteen hour drive from Tijuana to here. Almost no sleep now for 48 hours. Between the pain and sleep deprivation, I feel like a detainee in Guantanamo.

Am I having a good time? You bet your Chicano ass I'm having a good time!]

Maybe I need to reintroduce the characters here. Besides me, there is Gilberto, the tour organizer. And Ray, Taina, Moe, and Javiar from the band Cojoba. Then there's Sabo, the Buddha of Guaymas who set up the show here and is our host. At the club tonight, our friends from the great Tijuana band, Verbal Abuse also play. As did our other friends from Solucion Mortal.

Cojoba are a big hit. One fan falls so in love with Taina, that he fashions a flower for her... from a beer can. It is pure adoration. He can't wait to present it to her when the band is finished playing.

Or maybe it's subterfuge. On the table, where the beercan boy fashioned his gift, lay Taina's iPhone... Only it didn't. It disappeared. Gone. Poof! Stolen, during the flower distraction? We'll never know.

Flash Ahead: We're staying at Sabo's place... I think. Just back from the club, I limp out of the truck, squeeze through a garage, then enter what seems like a private bedroom. There's a computer in the room that I avoid. Part of the joy of this trip is NO COMPUTER! Two weeks of i-freedom. There are also two beds in the room. THESE capture my interest.

Taina and Javiar take one. I look longingly at the other. Ray and Moe both have sleeping bags. I don't.

“We'll sleep on the floor,” says Moe laughing. “Let the old cripple have the other bed.”

“Yeah, thanks,” I say. But actually I'm really glad. This old cripple has not been sleeping very much and a night's rest on a real bed will do the trick. Nothing like being an old cripple to score the perks. I don't even need to ask.

Ray and Moe spread out their sleeping bags on the floor. I peel off my boots, looking at what's left of my feet. Blood seeps from the band aids. Lights out! Ah sleep!

Yeah right.

BLAM! The door opens. It's some heavy metal guy. Looks like a biker.... Big guy..., Hell's Angel's beard... Stomach out to here... Motorhead t-shirt.

“Aaahdgrabaggadaadaa!” says the guy to none of us in particular.

I'm thinking my Spanish has taken a nosedive. I can't understand a word.

“No entiendo,” I say.


I look at Taina and Javiar. Spanish is their FIRST language. They look at me and shrug. We all watch the guy go over to the computer, turn it on. YouTube or some other video site... awful heavy metal music at jet engine volume... loud... louder... LOUDEST.

He's head-banging, throwing his head up and down, back and forth to the music. Playing air guitar, singing along. Having a dandy ole time. Some more people come. It's a party. Right there in our room. Right there at 3 in the morning. “AAAHDGRABAGGADAADAA!”

What that means is: HERE'S the party. The room explodes with people POW! Tons of people... from all over... play this! Find that on the computer... It's as if we don't exist. Ray and Moe on the floor. Me, Taina and Javiar on the beds. Nothing. It's party time... that's all.

Ray groans... I sympathize. I can do without food for 24 hours. I do it every Yom Kippur. But no sleep? I get mighty cranky... and this is the first time I got to lay down in 48 hours. Last night we were in Tijuana... then the 15 hour truck ride to Guaymas.... At most I slept an hour, sitting up... But...

“I know. I know,” says Ray before I can even open my mouth. “It's punk rock.”

Eventually they leave. The sun starts to make its way into the Mexican sky. Through the window I see the sky slowly shift from black to purple. I'm faced with a deadly choice: to piss and shit or to sleep. I'll stay in bed. Stay in bed. I can't stay in bed.

FAST FORWARD AGAIN: After a good five hours of actual sleep, we're off... a free day in town. Sabo is gonna be our tour guide. It's a resort town. On the coast... California bay... I didn't bring my bathing suit, but I love the beach. I can peel the bandages from my feet and let the sand seep between my toes. I imagine tiny pools of bloody water, bathing my broken blisters.

We're in Sabo's truck. Gilberto Me, Taina and Javiar in the back. Moe, Ray and Sabo in front. Gilberto and I take the shade side, Javiar and Taina bask in the sun. Look at the picture. Cute huh? See how one side of Taina's face is covered and the other side is brightly lit? Ho ho! By the end of the day, that brightly lit side will be brightly RED from sunburn. Red and white... Taina will spend the rest of the tour trying to even out the color.

Our first stop is the ocean. In order to get to a place we can enter, we have to drive up a steep hill on the outskirts of town. The way up the hill is treacherous.... more than a 40o angle. High plants are on both sides of the street right up to the pavement. Where there aren't plants, there's a wall. It's really tough for the old truck to get up the hill. I can't imagine what it will be on the way down... I mean we're not even drunk yet.

Because of the danger of runaway cars... as well as the narrow road, parking is prohibited everywhere. That doesn't stop Sabo. He's got a special dialect of Spanish. Even Mexicans from other towns can't understand what he's saying. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, an E in a red circle with a slash through it means: No Estaciona, no parking. In his dialect, it means, no parking for anyone else.

Sure enough, there's a place with one of those signs. Just big enough for our truck. We pull over, jump out, and lock up.

 It's a two minute walk to the gate that … er... welcomes us to the shore. The English reminds me of some of the signs I saw in Japan.

Just past the gate comes another important warning sign. This one in Spanish... but the meaning is easy to... er... grasp:

Through the gates... past the NO PISSING sign... to the beach. We spread out the blanket and admire the view. Every time a boat passes, Sabo calls out to it. I'm not exactly sure what he's saying, but I know there is the word Marijuana in it.

He's a man of many nicknames... he gives them, not gets them. I'm Pinche Viejo Marijuano: “The Fucking Old Stoner. Ray, the only black guy in the group (and with a shaved head to boot) is Michael Jordan.

“This is what I came to Mexico for!” says Ray on seeing the gulf of California. He starts to undress.

“Hey Michael Jordan!” Sabo calls to him, pushing a thumb over his own shoulder. “Locker rooms are THAT way!”

Ray laughs and peels down to his underwear. He's the happiest I've seen him this whole trip. He's got a gym-built body, and now he can show it off. He jumps in and swims far enough out to meet some boat wakes. Strong guy. While he's out swimming, we're drinking on the sand. In not too long, he's back... wet and pumped. He doesn't dress again until we leave the beach. We continue to drink.

From the beach, we get back in the truck and go up... up... up... to some cliffs overlooking the ocean. At the bottom of the cliff... to the right... the bay: looking huge an ocean. To the left... an open space with a sand sculpture... rocks on sand.... looking odd... like a giant penis.

We take a ton of pictures, scare the other tourists who are there with their kids, girlfriends, or the local retirement community. It looks like they're redeveloping this area. Gonna make it a draw for the gringos... sell condos. I think we're putting a wrinkle in that white shirt and tie.

The cactuses are beautiful.

“Cacti!” says Taina

The cactuses are cacti. They form a great backdrop to our adventures on the cliff. Carrying a case of Tecate beer we walk toward the sheer-drop cliffs. We dare each other to climb over the wall. We all do. We dare each other to get close to the cactus... er... cacti. We all do. It's a great hour or so on the cliffs. Much to the consternation of the tourists and other visitors, none of us dies.

After the cliffs we drive down the hills again. Actually, Sabo drives. This time we are sloshed. The road is as nasty as it was before. The Tecate party continues in the back of the truck.... and inside the truck. In the driver's seat.
SLOW DOWN! shouts Ray.
Yeah right.

Riding the the back of a pick-up truck with a Mexican and two Puerto Ricans. Yeah! I feel like we're all Mexicans. We're migrants going to harvest lettuce for the California farms. We're all Mexicans... braceros... like in the 60s. I've never felt so Hispanic as these moments drinking and rolling down the side of a hill in the truck. Banging first on the right curb, OLE! Then the left curb. OLE! Then the right again. I feel so Mexican I want to break into a parked car and steal the stereo.

Sliding down the hill, we have our encounter with the Mexican police. You can read about that in a previous blog entry. Then we're at a restaurant. A beachside place with a thatched roof and plenty of menus with pictures on the wall. A cute tropical place. Built for tourists or locals who want to take their families somewhere special on a day off. They are not ready for us.

“Hola Verijas Lilas,” Sabo says to the attractive young waitress. I means hey Purple Snatch. She comes to our table wearing a smile that seems as forced and unnatural as the suits on those thugs whose lawyers make dress up for court appearances.

There is a prix fixe meal and it comes with your choice of Coke or lemonade. Ray, Moe, Taina, and Javiar take the Coke. I go for the lemonade.

“Be careful Mykel,” says Ray. “That stuff has ice in it.”

“Yeah,” says Moe, “ someone told us to look at the ice cubes. If they have holes in them, they were made by machine with purified water. If they don't, they came from somebody's faucet. Paramecia, typhus, You'll die Mykel.”

Verijas Lilas comes back with the lemonade, I reach two fingers into the drink to grab an ice cure. No hole. Uh oh, but I drink it anyway.

I do not die, but continue. We have a show later that day... in Hermosillo. With La Merma, making a debut after 10 years of silence. It'll be pretty spectacular. Plus SIN ARTE will finally play... me singing in front of a buncha drunk Mexicans. What more could I want?

After lunch, it's on to HERMOSILLO!

-end... for now--
More later.
[This is part 7 of Mykel's Mexican adventure. To read the rest, click on the right spot:

PART 1    PART 2    PART 3    PART 4    PART 5    PART 6

The story of the Yellow Chili Pepper is here.