El Ano Nuevo
February 05, 2006, 3:25 PM, Super Bowl Sunday - The day my world fell apart:
I am in my hammock, under a palapa that small, poisonous scorpions regard as their home. Frances, a Quebecois surfer / rock climber (in that order of priority when pushed to choose), spotted one in the sand the other day. we took pictures then I carried it to the lagoon and watched it disappear over the eroded bank of dirt littered with scraps of garbage and poop. Paradise has it's price I've discovered. I've also realized that the reason why there are small garbage cans next to the toilets in Mexico is because fish eat poop, not paper. Pretty simple.
Ruby and I are doing okay. She is sleeping in the shade of our little thatched, open air hut, the one that I share with Frances, the quiet, obsessive surfer (in the water by 6:30 AM; out at noonish). We are at La Ticla, a cobble point / bight break - like a rocky boil splitting a large, sandy stretch of coastline that is beautiful the way my mind's eye pictured Mexican mainland, minus the garbage and the bag of bones beach dogs with withered legs and open, weeping sores - 77% of their hair gone from skin infections. Frances invited me and a tea bag (british dood) to dinner last night. Pasta, vegetables, garlic bread. Tonight I'm making a potato carrot soup and avocado quesadillas.
The weekender drunk, Mexican silver spooned teens are leaving today. It is Sunday, and they need to return their parent's SUV's. We watched four cars get stuck in the sand in a two hour period. One guy backed his truck right into the palm tree in front of my camp. In the states it'd be a five hundred dollar dent; in Mexico it's paint patina, like the rough hewn hardwood trim in so many rustically tiled toilets I find pleasantly inviting, minus the poop paper receptacles at the side of the porcelain throne - some sans seat, some sans papel.
I've had good surf here. The wave is patient - seems to wait for me, though I've been stuffed to the bottom a few times. The cobble bottom is a stable structure (it's kissed me three times), which lends to the consistency of the waves here. Bottom contour is a limiting factor to the consistency of the quality and shape of the waves. I'm glad I stopped to pee by the side of the road at the overlook that doubles as a garbage dump for the locals above the break. Fifty people in the water and plenty of peaks to share made me risk running out of gas driving down the dirt road that is a drug smuggling thoroughfare for small panga boat handoffs to distribution centers up the mainland coast.
There are good people here. I am back in the community of other surfista's who surf and camp, play guitar by the fire; fresh coffee in the morning, pop tart or two for the early morning snap. Cold at night, Hot & windy by day. I'll be here for the next two nights, unless the predicted swell hits perfectly and I can't pull myself away. a BC Canadian Fisheries Biology Observer and fellow friend of Bill W. (by sheer addict attraction we started talking over taquitos and juice) and I will head North to a few more breaks before I break free solo and head to Mazatlan for the ferry over to Baja. From there, as before: camp, surf, snorkel and SCUBA at Cabo Pulmo (Whale Sharks start returning in late February to feed), and work my way on home. Fishing in Alaska is becoming more and more acutely real.
Today, as obliquely stated above, my world became painful for a long spell. A realization of loss, of never having what I thought I had and thought I wanted. A woeful time of despairing anguish tinged with the taste of blood from my lungs. Hearing word upon word but never action, and becoming insensed at the supposed injustice of my life.
Without all that came before, I would not be here today: enjoying throaty bottom turns, sharing companionship with other gentle souls cut from similar soil. The neap tide's minimal pull on the solvent perfection of a brief, barrelling voice from the mother sea. In another place, space, or time, I'd not rather be. I know, it sounds so trite and cliche, but today I am free. And Ruby really likes Pedigree canned beefy bits, and the sad little girl dog with the withered leg likes whatever food I give her - dry kibble and water is better than garbage, poop, and poop water. Poop. The local donkey is braying and I want one for my own, and a happy, little girl dog with an amputated withered leg with a new, shiny coat of fur and cans and cans of Spam & Pedigree beefy bits, and tuna juice, and cookie snacks, and chunks of jerky, and a loving poppy, and a sister Ruby, and no more withered, gross leg, and maybe even a boob job. I know,..., borderline weird, but what do you expect from me? Really. What do you expect, you, The minor few / the minored fugue - ...;, :... .?
February 12,. 2006, 9:47 AM, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
One more border crossing and soon I will be back in the land of the entitled few. Sounds terrible, but I can't wait. Non-refrozen ice cream - the chilly bacteria pool that kills. Beef with questionable parts still intact - this place, I suspect, does not enforce the 99% anus free policy of the USDA. I'm off to Cabo Pulmo to snorkel and most likely go for a day of SCUBA. From there: Punta Canejo if there's swell. Punta Pequena if there's swell. Punta Abreojos if there's swell. If no swell, I'll be at the California border within a week. I opted for the shorter ferry to the Southern tip of Baja from Topolobampo to La Paz. Shorter (7 hours) and cheaper by a hundred bucks or so, and I met a great older brother and sister pair. We made eye contact on the ferry, but never talked, until we parked and ate at the same restaurant. Conrad and Constance. Both were nicknamed "Connie" at different times of their lives: Conrad when he was younger, and now it's Constance's turn. I need to keep it short, because there isn't much to tell. They bought me breakfast - a cute, older brother and sister pair who drove from Phoenix and will be driving through Baja for the next week. Conrad did the trip ten years ago and convinced his sister to a brief road trip through some of the most beautiful contry he's ever encountered. I didn't disagree with him, and the coffee was okay. Home is calling me - I've had epic surf, and won't destroy my car to find middling waves in remote places. I still have 1,200 miles on the California / Oregon coast alone for roadside vantage points of hundreds of epic places. They all have their place, they all have their time to shine. Ruby is well, shiny, and loving the extra rich food. I have no idea what I'll do when I get back. Probably have a chicken teriyaki at Du's and go for a ride on my motorcycle to visit a cute girl I've had my eye on up in Sequim, Washington.
February 14,. 2006, 4:06 PM, Punta Pequena, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
I'm afraid my surf trip might be over. I've been developing tasty phlegm up behind my eye, and my teeth hurt. Never had a sinus infection quite like this. I think it was the lake of poop remnants that the fishies don't eat at La Ticla about a week back. I'm roughly about a quarter of the way up Baja, all four of my shocks are completely shot, I have discharge in the back of my throat, and Ruby's foot is bleeding. To top it off, there was a tick on my ipod yesterday while driving 70. Completely freaked me out to the point that I dropped it somewhere between my unmentionables and my feet. Found a little baby tick in Ruby's ear so I'm on CODE RED - VIGILANT HIGH ALERT. Screw code orange - code orange is crap. Through slight fault of my own, I had a macho Mexican Mazatlanian (sp?) kick my car twice in traffic driving through Mazatlan a few days back, breaking my rear flasher assembly.
NEWS FLASH: gringo found dead next to a newer SUV, though nothing of any monetary value, minus scrap metal profits of thirteen dollars, were found on the body or in the car. Police are splitting the thirteen dollars with the scrap dealer.
I'm ready to cross over I think. I need a doctor, and water is the worst thing for my snot pits right about now. Bummer, because there is a HUGE swell hitting the North / Northwest facing points for the next five days or so. Sinus infections take time out of the water, so... DOH!
February 14,. 2006, 9:08 PM, Punta Pequena, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
What's more romantic than lying in the back of a compact SUV with a wet dog that is confirmed to have fleas and ticks, sharing a bag of turkey teriyaki jerky and caramel corn for dinner (I know Mom; you're right, Mom. I ate a big meal earlier... I KNOW... MOMMM...), all the while realizing that last year I was in a big, old house, alone, and tasting blood in the back of my throat. In fact, I don't remember Februaray fourteenth, what some cultures refer to as Valentine's Day. I believe this was part of the, I'm just going to block out lessee...., two months should do'er, period of my life. Oh, but don't cry for me Argentina. Against the clinician's advice, I got in for a sunset surf at Scorpion Bay... Dood, the Scorps! Black Out, Duh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh... nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh...
I've checked the various package and ingress / egress pathways of my body proper for any blood sucking parasites twice today. Once in the morning during my shower that was installed so that the stream sprays directly onto the toilet, and then just now, after the surf, in the campsite shower that is tiled with pretty blue tile. I know, not manly to use pretty in a sentence - guilty. Quien es mas macho - Mi o Ricardo Montalban? Si, Ricardo Montalban es mas macho que yo.
I was at Cabo Pulmo yesterday morning to hopefully SCUBA one of the most incredible reefs in the world. There was this guy, a gringo, standing there in front of the Cabo Pulmo Divers shop, talking with three locals. He had a diving shirt from somewhere and on the right side, just above his chest, the name Esteban was written. I asked him if that was some kind of a joke, if that was really his name, he said yessss...., as if he didn't understand.
See, I assumed that he'd seen The Life Aquatic, one of Bill Murray's greatest roles, by my thinking. It's a parody on the old, Jacques Cousteau movies. In the movie, Bill Murray's (Steve Zissou) compatriot Esteban (some old guy), gets eaten by a "Jaguar Shark," a huge, spotted maneater. I naturally thought any SCUBA freak in their right mind would have memorized the movie by now. Apparently I was mistaken. There was nervous silence. I explained myself - how, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE, and, I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GUYS DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE LIFE AQUATIC COMPANION SERIES WITH STEVE ZISSOU, and, ONE OF THE FUNNIEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN; subtle, BUT FUNNY. I don't think they got it.
Doc, or, the "clinician," says I can't get in the water for five days. So, the current thought is to sleep in. Wake up, Make some middling Guatemalan coffe and turn it creamy like Halle Berry (I don't care what it sounds like, people instantly understand how I like my coffee: strong, but milk chocolatey, and she's one of the most beautiful women in the world, and her ex should be castrated, unless it was with, like, I don't know, another seriously beautiful wooman). Cereal and a banana. Watch the longboarders (two) surf the knee highs. Take the three potentially authentic, but more likely too good to be true extremely authentic looking fake, Olmec and Aztec semi precious stone figurines I bought at Monte Alban and not smuggle them up my butt. Probably find a safe place for them in the car somewhere, and not up my butt.
News flash: American surf tourist is stopped at the Tijuana border with three extremely rare stone figurines, each measuring approximately 4x3x2 inches, up his ass. When questioned, the man stated that he didn't know they were of any archeological value, due to the fact that they were removed from the site where they were found by Mexican landowners who felt that since the figurines were found on their land, that they had right of ownership, and a subsequent right to sell said pieces. Carbon dating revealed the figurines were carved by the ancient and mysterious Olmec civilization that inhabited parts of Mexico well over five thousand years ago, with each figurine carrying a potential value of up to ten thousand dollars each on the black market. When questioned further, the man told officials that they can't be authentic because he paid only forty-five dollars for each piece, that they must be fake. Border officials responded with: "then why did you put them up your butt?"
The man had no response.
He is currently being held in a Tijuana federal prison serving a ten year sentence for antiquities smuggling.
Funny and honest. Live by the sword...
I don't foresee a problem with the Mexican authorities, I'm actually afraid of the Americans... what's this I hear about Cheney shooting another hunter, and then the guy having a heart attack? Guaranteed, Cheney was hammered; seriously pissed. I wonder what the spin is?
Since I have five days of sitting, I will most likely sit and drive, which should put me at the Tijuana border crossing in three days. I guess I just don't feel like driving, looking for surf that I can't surf. If I break a shock on one of these corrugated, washboard roads on the way to some remote point break where there most likely won't be anybody in the water, therefore no one to help a fellow surfer get a tow truck out in nowhere's ville, I'm screwed. So, I guess the road calls. A quicker trip than what I originally thought, and a different trip than I intended. Not wrong, just different. I didn't see a whale shark, but I surfed with a gray whale in the lineup at Tourmaline, San Diego - saw the eye of the bugger and everything, and Heather and I snorkelled with nurse sharks - even got a couple cool pictures of them. I also saw a reef shark sunning it's belly at Potrero Grande (Ollie's Point), the now infamous spot where Oliver North smuggled weapons in for the Nicaraguan Sandanistas. I didn't surf one of the longest left point breaks in the world, but I caught multiple hundred yarders that felt like forever, and one right I caught at La Ticla, that broke the two hundred yard, and overhead barrier, and there were hoots and hollers while I took the high and fast line - el directo, as it were. California and Oregon have had epic, winter surf for the past few months, but will be slowly winding down over the next couple months. I'm ready for our own very special wave, the longest left in the Northern hemisphere where the locals like to say that terrorism, er, localism works. So it could be a pre-dawn, dawn patrol into the frigid North Pacific, where one local man on last Christmas Eve was lucky enough to walk away with his life, not to mention his leg, but we won't talk about that, will we. Do me a favor, don't ever bring it up, don't talk about it, don't ask me about it, I don't want to talk about it. If you start talking about it, you will get shouted down to shut it. Shut the pie hole, the cake spot... - yer trap. Fisherman are superstitious. They don't whistle in the wheelhouse 'cause it'll whistle up a storm. Surfers can also be superstitious. So don't talk about it. Don't need to know, don't want to know. Don't need to have the conversation. Tell it to a priest - I hear they'll talk about most anything, as long as you tithe your tenth.
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