Posts Tagged ‘Mexico travel’

Taking my cue from 70′s horror flicks

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Remember that part in The Amityville Horror where they first go to check out the house and it (in a rather urgent manner reinforced by the use of a voice that gives new meaning to ‘guttural’) instructs them to “GET OUT.”?

El Centenario house

My second - and much preferred - casita in Mexico. It never told me to 'get out', but the worm did start to turn in the last 24 hours...

Two things have always struck me about that moment:

1. An  inanimate object’s – in this case, a house – powerful sense of boundaries.

2. The human beings’ complete and total disregard of said request/order.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I climb into a rental car and it starts shrieking about how it’s going to twist me up in a fiery ball of molten metal or even just whispers something about how I’d make a nice hood ornament, and I’m out of there. No delays. No questions asked.

Same with a house that utilizes the voice of Satan to share an opinion about whether or not I lease the place.

I’m a child of the 70′s.

Best to heed the cultural wisdom, tune into the collective unconscious, and get the fuck out when you’re told.

That stated, in a mostly polite and largely incompetent way, Mexico gave me the old heave ho.

Woman in yellow room

The thing with these casitas is that they seem to repeat the exterior color on the inside, so you'd better pretty much LOVE whatever you decide to paint the thing (primarily red, coral, and yellow).

It started on Monday.

And – admittedly – 99% of the problem, or at least the incompetence part, was Telcel. Telcel is – from what I can tell – a very large cell phone and wifi and maybe other stuff it can’t do well provider. It’s also owned by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. These two facts (large/incompetent Mexican company and richest man in the world) may or may not be a coincidence.

I say not.

Considering Telcel has managed to embezzle $75 out of my tight ass in just two weeks, I’d be impressed if I weren’t pissed.
So as not to devolve into the category known as ‘general bitching’ let me summarize and say it was an experience that can only be described as an extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and largely bullshit internet experience.

Bravo, Slim.

Richest man in the world

Carlos Slim Helu. I don't know about love, but I'd say this is pretty much proof that money can't buy you looks.

Bravo.

But it’s not just Slim and his crap ass company that showed me the door.

There was a trifecta: Internet, Rash, and Bugs – also known as RIB.

When the RIB situation starts to unfold, you know it’s time to head north.

In addition to my extensive and expensive internet woes, I broke out in a massive itchy rash all over the lower half of my body. I never nailed the culprit, but it was either my Mexican-bought SPF 15 or my “Lecha de Burra” cream that caused it.

Yeah.

You read that right.

I’m a friggin’ idiot.

You think I might have given pause at buying a lotion called “Milk of the Ass,” but no.

I didn’t really look at the packaging.

Or the words.

Or the picture of a donkey with a wreath around its neck.

Woman with can of beans

I love beans. So much so that I eat them from the can. And I'll eat them cold from the can. Like a hobo. Wanna make something of it?

I was basing my decision on smell.

And donkey milk smells damn good, apparently.

It sure does cause a hell of a rash though. Or the sunblock.

Either way, I was so freaked out, I didn’t apply anything to my skin for the last three days.

Finally, rounding out the RIB, were the insects.

First came the fruit flies.

Then the house flies.

And then, there I was, lying on my stomach working out my lower back, when I noticed several grains of rice crawling around. And then my brain started it’s slow turn around the hamster wheel, and I realized that rice doesn’t wriggle.

And I never made any rice.

And those are MAGGOTS.

Frickin’ MAGGOTS.

Woman in pool

In the pool. Make note of the hair, because it's gone. Let me rephrase that: It's not GONE, but it no longer looks like this. You shall see shortly.

Jumpin’ Jesus on a Pogo Stick MAGGOTS.

Oh, the horror.

Did you know maggots burst when you crush them under your flip-flop?

Yep.

A nice, satisfying pop

Long story short, Mexico showed me the door – at least for now – and I graciously exited stage left.

But no worries.

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger via one of the ten DVDs I had with me: I’ll be back.

Share This Post

Surreality

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

So let’s all share a surreal moment here.

This picture - taken on the side of the highway - took about 25 tries to get. And it still didn't capture all the mountains in the distance. I still like it anyway.

I’m in Mexico.

For like a month now.

Maybe longer? I’ve lost count.

And every 10 days my mother sends a barrage of panicked emails convinced that I’m dead.

And I’ve been living in this bare bones round house, and it was slowly driving me crazy.

And ants would walk on me at night when I was trying to sleep.

And the sheets were really cheap and pilly and I have a thing about sheets. I’ve been known to get all prima donna at hotels and make them bring me sheets and sheets and sheets because all of them are horrible or starchy and scratchy and not soft.

Sheets need to be soft.

Your skin is all over the stuff. (Some of us more than others). Scratchy is not okay.

Let’s add to the insanity:

One of the last days in the pink house

I’m writing a book about Jesus.

Well, a “What if God was one of us?” Jesus as a clone book, but still.

The entire plot follows scripture.

So I read scripture every day.

And then I read an hour or two of discourse and analysis and praise on scriptures. And then I read people’s sermons. And then I read blogs.

And then I let it percolate.

And then I write.

So I am a woman knee-deep in Jesus who is NOT actually a religious Jesus person and probably doesn’t believe in Jesus the way you would think someone writing about Jesus would.

Don’t get me wrong: I think he was an amazing dude with an incredible message, I just think it’s all gotten a little effed up along the way.

Thus, my book.

A not-so-subtle reminder of the real message.

Anyway, I digress.

Since I’m not a religious person, I’ve decided to stick to the very purest Jesus messages (do unto others, control your anger/turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor, do not fear, believe, have faith) and have achieved something of a Christian/New Age middle ground. More positivity, less God, if you will.

And I spend a lot of time drumming up my own positivity and best thoughts and highest aspirations to write as the ‘new’ Jesus might.

And maybe it’s starting to rub off on me?

Because check this sh*t out: I made the last-minute decision (see: Changed flight fifteen hours before it was due to leave) to stay on and finish the book.

And then the lady renting the place I’d lined up in the same town fell off the face of the earth.

And there was serious chaos.

And in the last LAST minutes (see ten minutes before I had to be out of my old house and give back the wifi connection, which is why I’m writing you now with no clear way to post this) I rented another one up by La Paz.

For less.

And with two bedrooms.

And real sheetrock.

And air conditioning.

AND A FUCKING POOL, BABIES!!!!!!!

You read that right: Cheaper, bigger, better, and with a pool.

Who can deny that faith and love and positivity and happy thoughts and feeling lucky don’t pay off?

I sure can’t.

(Only issue is wifi device they gave me doesn’t work with my Mac, so I’m in a coffee shop + have to hustle. More soon.)

Share This Post

Glad tidings of great joy

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

(Don’t get too excited about the flamboyant title. It’s sarcasm.)

So as I sit here at my concrete breakfast table (working on some All-Bran con Pasas, a little something you gringos may better know as Raisin Bran. It’s the little differences…) in my concrete house after a relatively restful night on my concrete bed, it occurs to me that this house can never burn down. Or have its furniture rearranged.

Woman at laptop

Here's another example of self-timer and me looking a bit haggard! Wow. Technology is amazing.

Seriously, as much as I appreciate the fire resistance factor – particularly since witnessing a real blazer not too far in the distance. It lit up the horizon around it pinkish orange, turned the rest of the sky black, and brought in no less than a dozen fire trucks up from Cabo. – the bed is located precisely where a shaft of morning light gets you square in the eye at 7am every day, and if that isn’t reason to move a bed, I don’t know what is.

So anyway, back to the subject line, in recent comments there has been some bafflement as to ‘how are they so many pictures of me if I’m alone?’ and a cheeky solution or two has been offered up as well.

At first I thought, ‘Hey! My commenters are being punk asses!’ but then I realized that it was just the unintended consequences of bliss. Ignorance, of course being bliss, you couldn’t help yourselves.

That stated, please make sure you are seated when you read this next line, because I’m pretty sure – especially those of you that are super technical and run websites about Google Wave or work as Network Administrators and/or all three – your mind is about to be blown: The camera companies have taken it upon themselves to create a feature called SELF-TIMER and (get this) it allows you to place said camera on the corner of a planter or trash can or window sill or counter top and (brace yourself) run into the frame (I know!!!), and Voila! A beautiful Mexican self-portrait. Or whatever.  Fill in the blank with respect to your own location and looks.

Concrete Mexican house interior

Concrete table, concrete floor, concrete couches. Even the thing the non-working TV is on is concrete.

Moreover, I’m 99% certain this feature has existed since before I was born, as I have a distinct memory of group self-photos in my earliest childhood.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so good at it?

I’m an early adopter.

Living life on the bleeding edge.

In other news, there isn’t much other news.

Weather remains perfect.

Said fire in town.

After several weeks of curiosity and creative imaginings, I learned that the item sold for $18 pesos (about $1.50 US) as El Vampiro at one of the downtown taco shacks is not – as I envisioned – a bloody, bat meat creation, but rather a beef tostada. Ummm… What?

That sucks.

That’s totally boring.

What else?

Woman with yellow laptop

Me. Again. Similar but Different. Seriously, I would feel like an egomaniac asking friends to take all these pictures of me. And I prefer to isolate my egomania to the blog. It's less cringeworthy and perhaps more effective that way.

I only have a week left, which is kind of freaking me out.

I guess you could say I’ve gotten attached to the beach across the street and the sunny 80 degree days and productive work schedule and, yes, even the solitude.

And I want to see at least a few things (La Paz + their beaches, El Arco and the related Playa del Amor – which you have to take a kayak or glass bottom boat or some other mode of transport to) before I’m out of here. What does that mean?

Well, first that I need to rent an overpriced car, and second get a hotel room for a night or two, and third that the furious pace needs to slow down. And mostly that unless some elves come and write the book for me while I’m alseep (and listen up, elves! You’d better do a good job this time. No derivative plots about taking down the Keebler guys from the inside. The whole bit about sabotaging several batches of E.L. Fudge cookies and seizing the Hollow Tree was, well, dumb. Especially in a sci fi book about the future of food and humanity.), I’ll still have a couple weeks’ worth left once I’m back in Washington.

El Arco Cabo San Lucas

I didn't take this picture, but I wish I had. And maybe I still will. There's another a week left yet!!!

That stated, somebody crank the thermostat in the sky up over there, okay?
I’ve become accustomed to sunny, 80-degree weather, and I’m not going to reacclimatize easily or without some serious bitching. Let that serve as a warning to those of you who read this regularly, as well…

p.s.

I went and opened the back door of this place just now, and a bunch of ash and burned up palm fronds blew in.

That was a serious fire last night!!!

Share This Post

If Only

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’d take it all back.

If I could.

If only there was some way to undo it.

Some way to travel in time and warn myself.
Check the can a little more closely.
Get a second opinion.
Slow the pour.

Kiss Me I'm Irish t-shirt

I did not go out in public in this shirt. Or go anywhere for that matter. I battled the modem until around 9pm when I did an abs workout. Exciting.

If only somehow I might have realized that what I thought was coconut milk was actually some kind of horrible, artificial white sugar and MSG-based tempura paint concoction used in Pina Coladas intended for brain damaged tourists.

If only I could slow time and go back to the moment I dumped the entire, vile contents of said chalky chemical sludge into my otherwise presentable Pad Thai creation.

And if only I could have resisted the temptation to taste it.

You know.

Just in case.
Somehow.

If perhaps.
By some miracle.

It was edible.

Edible or even choke down-able rather than the horrific Reeses’ Peanut Butter cup on acid that assaulted my mouth and left a burny aftertaste that lasted about an hour.

Oh, the humanity…

It can really only be described as a crime against my taste buds.
An abomination. And a potential blitzkrieg on my digestive system.

Make no mistake.

It was hard core.

A cry of despair rang out in the Mexican desert tonight, I can tell you.

There’s a Turkish proverb I very much appreciate: “No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.”

I'm Irish

I would assume it's obvious, but here's the back in case you were wondering.

I get that, and needless to say, the vile mess is in a trash bag now, but still…
I mourn for what could have been a night free of beans and avocados and tortillas…

But alas.

Duped by my own stupidity.

Yet again.

This being St. Patrick’s Day you may wonder, ‘Hey? Where’s the corned beef? What about the cabbage? Or the Guinness?’

Well, if you’re sporadic about reading my infrequent posts, you may be interested to learn that I’m in the the middle of goddamned nowhere Mexico poisoning myself on cheap cocktail mixer-based pasta dishes while trying to write a new book in record time. That’s what happened!

Sheesh!

Speaking of poisoning, I would just like to say that I have now been brushing my teeth with tap water for two weeks, and I am fit as a fiddle. Not so sure about the double shot of MSG now swirling through my veins, but I can rumble with the best of South of the Border bacteria and come up a winner.

In other news, all things technological have gone to hell in a hand basket.

Yahoo thinks I’m a spammer and is blocking me in kind.

Pretty woman sitting Indian style

I swear, it's like I cannot take a bad picture on these stairs. I might need to buy this concrete shack just to have long-term access to them.

Not every day, mind you, just in 48-hour chunks during which I have to write them and plead my case and then they let up for a day and then, you guessed it, start blocking me again.

I can receiveth, but I cannot giveth.

And I’m really bad at those ‘guess what warped letters these are to prove you’re a human’ puzzles. And they don’t work anyway. I still get a message that I’m blocked even when I finally slog through the painful alphabet test six times. And it’s aggravating. And a waste of my time. And I hate to waste time. And I have a few candid thoughts for you Yahoo mail: Bite me. Suck it. Go to hell. Yo Mama.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Oh no.

Far from it.

That was the worst of the technology struggles until yesterday when it was trumped. The stakes were raised when my laptop gave me the message that the “USB device is drawing too much power and the port will be shut off.”

Ever since then, the modem is totally shot to sh*t.

And it was kind of a POS (not to be confused with Point of Sale, from my old background in debit/credit card processing) in the first place, so saying it’s shot to sh*t is really saying something.

It will log on for 2.3 seconds and hang up…27 times in a row.

And each time I log in, I have to type a password, and then I’ll sit there and hit ‘send, send, send’ on an email I wrote perhaps an hour ago, but 2.3 seconds is not enough time for it to go through and…argh.

Trying again…

Blonde woman with glasses

I need a haircut.

Oh, and I had to buy a new USB cable for the damn thing. The old one had a slice in it (given to me that way) and the wires were frayed (probably the source of the problems) and kept shocking me once in a while when it would land on my thigh (and yes, sweat was involved. What can I say? It’s really hot here.)

Anyway, the guy charged me 150 pesos ($12) for a cable that would run for $2.99 in the US, but I was at my wit’s end, so I paid it.

You can’t find anything in this country.

He knows it.

I know it.

He could smell the desperation coming off me like Pad Thai made with pina colada mix.

So what could I do?

That’s right.

Give the man what he asked for and thank him for the fleecing.

And listen to a pitch about how I should bring my blankets down to be cleaned by his super-size washing machine.

But the thing of it is – through no fault of Daniel at the Neptune Laundromat and strange array of computer parts shop – now it still doesn’t work.

The modem itself seems to be fried.

And is in the freezer right now.

Pink sunset

Here's a pretty sunset from the other night.

Chilling out.

Composing itself.

Taking a breather.

Cooling its heels.

Hopefully soon to acquiesce to my will that it work.

As this blog is already a day late thanks to its antics.

But whatever.

It’s still St. Patrick’s Day somewhere.

Right?

p.s.

The worst of it is, the smell of that horrific meal is still lingering in the air.

And it kind of smells like Easter.

Easter is now totally ruined.

Share This Post

If this is true, then I’m golden

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone

- Blaise Pascal

Audrey Hepburn lookalike

Channeling my inner Holly Golightly.

In the last week and two days I have proven – in spades and in excess – that I am capable of sitting quietly in a room alone.

Hell, I thrive quietly in a room alone.

I’m like a low-maintenance houseplant.

Or a cat with access to a dripping faucet and an open feedbag.

Go about your business and don’t worry about little old me. Just leave a light on and let a neighbor know I exist, okay?

All the same, I’m kind of appalled at my own absence.

Five days?
How did five days get by me?

Well, for starters, I’m sitting quietly – minus the ticky tacky tapping of Macbook keys – in a room alone all the livelong day (and night).

I could be on Mars for all I (or you) know.

Secondarily, I’m writing a chapter a day.

I should be proud of this, but the thing of it is, my (overly, I now realize) aggressive schedule had me writing two a day.

Two!?!?

Who do I think I am?

Joyce Carol Oates?

(I once read that on a real roll she writes 40 pages a day, so she is my Parthenon of big-time page quota writing)

Mexican laundry on the line

Doing my laundry old school. Feeling very salt of the earth and wondering to myself, "Do I own any clothes that aren't gray?"

Anywho, I’ve been writing a chapter a day, which honestly isn’t easy, and due to my own strange (inspired?) idea to have the first ten chapters be parallel and modern-day retellings of the life of Christ ages 30 to 32, they’re tedious as well. In addition to the time spent doing said writing, I spend about two hours a day reading Biblical interpretations.

Which I kind of hate.

Okay, I hate it a lot.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate Jesus…but when you’re dreaming about the man in a scholarly kind of way, you’ve possibly/probably/definitely gone too far.

Anyway, I’m working like a dog and making daily progress. Despite this, I’ve been growing increasingly despairing.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know I’m growing increasingly despairing because I thought I could write two chapters a day, and it just ain’t happening.

So self-admonition and “mañana, mañana” kick in until today, when the landlord sneeringly asks me, “So are you getting any writing done? Or do you have writers’ block?”

“No,” I told him, “I’ve written nine chapters.”

The sheer look of shock was enough to make me realize that although I may not be JCO (see above for secret decoder ring), but I am doing pretty darn good.

And then he stammered, “Wow. You’re a disciplined writer.”

Giant box of Special K

I only buy cereal that's at least four times the size of my head. And yes, the house really is as round and pink and freakishly fluorescent light lit as it seems here. I've grown accustomed...

And THEN he went and made my day (sort of) by adding that he’s happy if he writes a chapter a month.

I don’t have any clue what it is that he’s writing, but whatever.

Doing some quick math, I calculated that on his ‘aggressive’ plan, it would take me three years to write this book. So two or three months instead of one ain’t too shabby.

And it certainly isn’t three years.

So yay me.

In other news:

  • The first day I got a funky tan from my ever-present necklaces, but I have hence removed now-not-so-much-ever-present necklaces and evened that mess out.
  • Last night, in a fit of “I’m sick of corn tortillas and beans” I made cabbage rolls (any of you with any kind of Eastern European or Russian heritage know what I”m talking about), and they were wonderful. And I ate more for breakfast. And more again tonight for dinner. And there are still five left. Happiness…
  • I was trying to trim an errant hair with oversized scissors and cut a chunk out of my eyebrow. Oh well. It’s hair. It’ll grow back.
  • I have a girl crush on Ellie, the fast-talking Mexican maid. Not my maid, mind you. I do my own laundry and dishes and sweeping and cleaning. Not that I mind. It’s kind of a simplified, hand-hewn Little House on the Prairie-type existence. Anyway, back to Ellie, she’s so sweet and doesn’t seem to care a lick that I only understand about 30% of what she says. And she’s willing to try all kinds of words until she stumbles into some vocabulary I recognize. The same cannot be said for everyone…  Enough said.
  • I miss TV. A lot.
  • I am really damn tired (it’s a little after midnight here) due in large part to the aggressive ray of sun that shines directly on my face every morning at 7:00am and my persistent very late night bedtimes. In other words, I couldn’t let another day go by without posting something, but in just a few more words that’s all there is to say. Be good. More soon.

Share This Post