Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Could Be Anywhere in the Whirled

We woke up with no water in the apartment. We were late paying the rent. I walked around for hours with no shoes moping. When I am in a funk, it takes only a couple hours to perk up. But being very hungover, tired, hormonal & generally in a foul mood, I had been heard to say:

“I hate this place. It sucks. I hate the people here. None of them are real; they are all plastic. The weather fucking sucks. I don't want to sit on the beach surrounded by thousands of people in the gusting wind, but there's nothing else to do. There's no surf & it's too windy to swim. I don't want to struggle to search for vegetarian food. The music sucks. I don't want to go clubbing with the same music every night. I just want to chill out & watch a half decent live band. My camera's still broken & I have no shoes. By the end of the day I'm going to become the meanest person ever. I don't want to talk shit anymore & I'm going to tell the next person I meet to fuck off.”

Then came the inevitable: “I miss Sayulita.”

I am fascinated by the idea of streets & people without names – like in my hometown on the west coast. In Playa del Carmen this doesn't matter; Everyone is disposable. All it took was going to gypsy night & dancing barefoot in the sand to let the normal people know we were one of them. Balkan Beat Box DJ. Wicked.

Luiz tells me about the blue dragon he was gifted in a dream. In mine, I was in love with a Macaw I had met the day before. This bird was phenomenal! Havana. She would dance to the music & preen herself for me. Marvelous spectrum of colours. I'd jerk away when she'd lean forward to bite me. What a tease! I am told she is playing. And also that she strips the marrow from chicken bones & eats it. She loves it. I am in complete awe.

I work hard to find something substantial. Sometimes that means leaving.

“Do they have wifi?”

The Mayan ruins in Tulum are fantastic. Dilapidated city from another lifetime. Another world. Connected with the earth, the sea, the wind, death & the seasons. They have connections, through cenotes, underground caverns, to the underworld. Supposedly, on the equinox, when night & day are balanced, the shadows show a snake descending the steps of Chichen Itza towards the cenotes.

The cenotes are unreal. Complete darkness. Stalagmites & stalactites. Pipes covering the ceiling reaching down like the world's biggest organ. Labyrinths within an underground river system. Deep. Dark. Beams of light & shadows on the ancient coral on the cavern walls. Watch your head! ...and your feet. Sculling has prepared me for this for years. The whole time is a feeling of being slightly lost. Alien landscape.  Unreal.

The weather is always really nice, hot & sunny in the morning, immediately after sunrise. (Before we're awake.) Then the wind picks up, the clouds roll in & it spits for a couple minutes in the afternoon. Despite not having shoes all day, I sat on the beach clutching my book to read, laughed & ran into the ocean. Rainclouds & Red flag waves. Alone time on the road & little things are what get me. Both my shoes & camera are fixed. Things seem to be looking up! :)  High fives!

Watching Seinfeld in Spanish is great for picking up vocabulary. El contesto. No sopa para ti!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

“I wish there was, like, someone responsible here.”

If I could I would make you a raging river with angry rapids supplied with rain so you could always meander & forever be able to run away.

Levi & I made a christmas tree in our modest apartment.  The tree top was a gold can of Sol.  I hung my socks in the drawer under the tv, but they were still empty in the morning.  Today was cold & windy; it rained yesterday.  We had tacos for dinner at Greg & Marta´s house & I couldn´t get my point in to the conversation.  I hang out with their daughter Sophia & she shows me her new Nintendo DS.  One person at dinner is the general manager for Illy Coffee & another is a chef for El Pollo Loco. We wanted to invite some of our friends to dinner, but were told they are very particular about their privacy.  We met our friends later & laughed until we hurt.  My friends are better people than egos who talk over each other & snipe at their kids.  Anxious during the day turned into a calm afternoon.  I feel okay about Christmas in Mexico.
I got to beat the hell out of a piƱata!

My Christmas wishes look like this:
Al: Don't say that you're sorry to be away for Christmas when you chose to be away. That's like if I walked out of the bathroom and took a poo in the kitchen then yelled out "I wish I did that in the bathroom!"
Jess: You'd better be having the time of your life or I'll never forgive you for leaving me lol
Damon: Hi I miss your face
Eric: Festivus yes! Bagels no!

We hitchhiked across Mexico the other day.
Puerto Vallarta - Mazanillo - Guadelajara - Queretaro - MXC - Puebla - Orizaba - Merida - Playa del Carmen = 2.869 km in 5 days.  Sunday to Thursday.
The bed of a truck, bunkbeds in a couple semi trucks, a van with no windows & broken doors, nestled next to a shotgun in an armoured car.  An escort & banana pancakes in Mexico City.  Active volcanoes.  Approaching people at gas stations.  Signs that say ¨Free Therapy¨.  Relationship advice to a couple who are both married to other people, and one of them is in jail in Columbia for cocaine.  Getting lost & always going in the wrong direction.  Laughing & reading.  Getting our feet extremely dirty.  Zipping through the jungle, and past agave fields.  The mountains are somehow always in the distance.  No worries.

Playa del Carmen provides us with friends.  Kerry, Tam, Levi & I are living immediately over 5th Ave - the party street.  Yesterday I almost fell off a roof, kept getting lost & woke up Levi to wrestle him at 4am, but at least I didn´t slap anyone.  Lana says this is Sayulita in 5 years & I worry for my home on the west coast.  Couchsurfers.  We are going to watch Duane (Toronto) play tonight & meet up with Luiz (Brasil) to light up the night.  There are resorts coming out of the horizon, on Cozumel, and there are ruins that demand to be explored.

There was surf today!  On one of the flattest beaches in the world.  Azul blue waves.  The owner of Fusion, a restaurant on the beach, gives me the details about the swell tomorrow & said he´d lend me a board.  The tide is turning.  It is sacreligious to let board rash heal.  Boxing Day & I can´t wait to get on the water.

Wading through the sand is not unlike wading through the snow.  I am distinctly aware of this.  I will not get to see hoarfrost this year, but my heart was pounding to the sound of the crashing waves.  The white sand is like icing sugar, and cold between my toes.  Sunset surf.  Whispering Without Mythologies.  One of the easiest ways I know to make me homesick is listening to the Weakerthans.  I am strong, & I thought I was prepared.




I am not prepared to hear that voice.

There is someone playing Blue Suede Shoes on acoustic guitar to my immediate right.

Mexico is not through with me yet.

Pelicans can surf.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Navidad amigos

Today is surreal.  It has been far too long.

Christmas in WalMart makes me feel like I want to wipe my hands of the whole thing.  The worst aspects of the holidays.  Consumerism.  I need to stay off the computer.  Spanish carols & carollers.  Poinsettas planted in the plazas.  Giant plastic trees.  I still need to acquire our Christmas pinata.  I could go for some rum & eggnog...

It's nice being with friends at least.  Tonight we'll be going to a CSing house party.  It will be nice visiting with people who are away from home as well.  My friends are used to it, & I'd like to be like Renee & Erika & not take too much stock in it.  Tamara is skyping her family & Liam in Australia right now; Santa has already been there.  I am sweating & want to feel the cold.  Tomorrow I will be waking up early to walk through the streets alone.  Maybe see the sunset & walk through the jungle to catch some animals before the sun gets too hot.  I wish I could do it to the sound of the Weakerthans, Angry Dragons, Suncity Dwellers, Kids on Fire, Moses Mayes or Novillero...

I feel for the Mexicans during the holidays.  They all work overtime, because it is the high season, instead of spending time with their families.  They are very religious & family oriented, but it is necessary, since the low season is devastatingly low.

Alot has happened in this past week - you will be quite surprised.  Every day there is a similarity to my second home on the West coast.  I swam in the Atlantic today - turquoise blue & very choppy.  Smells funky.  No surf.  There is something empty about the beach towns with no surf.  I am trying to rest my restless legs.

Last night I was chatting with Al immediately after Christmas dinner with gramma, Aunt Elsa & mom, as well as Abraham from Sayulita.  I couldn't help but think I should be anywhere but here.
Being away isn't easy. I never thought it would be.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I am dreaming of advent calendars.  And you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Left side leash tan

I feel like Walking through the mud without getting my feet dirty could be a great metaphor for my life.

We are the authors, not the actors.  Let me spell you out some scenes.

Scene 1:  yesterday.  Kayaking with the Hippies - Mitch from Tasmania & Kyle from the Toronto area.  Really cool guys.  I had only planned to be on the water an hour, but hung along for the adventure.  On a stretch of secluded beach on the other side of Punta Sayulita.  Feet in the sand, in the sun.  Kyle went off through the rocks to go spearfishing, Mitch is testing the waves for kayak surfing & I go off exploring through the half built walls of soon to be developed land.  Iguanas & snakes bathing on the rocks on land.  Loads of black crabs scuttling on the rocks by the water.  Sitting still on the beach long enough & you realize that every tiny shell has legs.  Hermit crabs.  They must have thought my head was something perched on my body, cause they'd do their best to hie from me under or behind my feet.  The biggest was about an inch.  Calm.  Cooled off in the ocean when the sun was too much.  Kyle came back with a great big Rooster fish - walking down the beach.  He was so proud, recounted how he got it & about the fight - dragging him through the water.  This afternoon was exactly how it was supposed to be.  This made me realize something...

Despite what generalizations or stereotypes or preconceived notions we have about people, they are people.  They can be genuine if you let them.  This is the same for yourself.  I find myself to be very reactionary - I assess the people around me & act accordingly.  I find it very hard to be the same person when I am around everyone.  When you hang around someone who is completely non-judgemental, that is your true self.  When you have nothing or no one to react to, that is actually you.  I wonder how much of that truly comes out everyday.

Scene 2:  During Fiesta de la Guadelupe, there is a big stage set up on the cobblestone street in front of the Plaza.  Every night there is live banda - eccentric Mexican music with loads of horns, until midnight or 1am.  All the foreigners find it annoying, but I find when you break it down it's really interesting music.  Most nights there is a different band, but they always play the same songs.  There is nothing comparable to it in Canada.  All the different bands play the same banda standards.  People look forward to it & dance, but no matter where the bands come from, the songs are the same.  On the last night there were dancing horses.  Beautiful horses.  There was a big black stallion named Indio we got a ride on.  When Tamara came back from her ride, somehow she had picked up beer.  That's my girl.

Scene 3:  Ditched all the bars & campfire on the beach.  All our closest friends.  Karalina (Chile) took charge before sunset & directed the beach wood gathering for the fire that would still be smoking in the morning.  Ian (BC) playing the melodica like a champ - taking requests & playing Super Mario brothers themes whenever I demand it.  Fred (QC) singing blues songs over the acoustic guitar about how hungry he was & that he was going to go eat tacos.  Fred's two enormous dogs follow him around everywhere - Tamara says it's like he's a prince of Narnia.  One is begging people to play fetch with him, & the other is chillin.  Abraham, the drummer for Raices Negras, shows up after their set to strum a bit on the guitar to my left & beat on the tambour.  At some point I was beside myself at the scenario.  Gorgeous stars touching the horizon, the sound of the waves, the heat from the fire, & the company of friends.  This is it.


Scene 3:  After an early afternoon surf, Darryl (UK) suggests he was thinking of taking a trip to Buscerias to go to the Mega store & his van needs gas
(Note: Buscerias is between PV & Sayulita about 45 minutes by bus.  It has the closest gas station & supermarket.)
Jessica (BC), Daniele, Tamara, Darryl & I pack 'er up to head to town.  I am hoping to catch the sunset surf.  Somewhere down the road we run out of gas, on a turn up a hill of course.  Hazard lights.  Darryl gets in the next car that stops & runs off to come back with gas.  4 chicks on the side of the road - top notch.  Plus no cell reception.  The cops come & help us out by directing traffic.  There's a cool thing that happens in Mexico where if there is a hazard up ahead, the hazard lights go on immediately, so the drivers behind know.  I guess it goes without saying.  Sitting there we come to the consensus that beer is in order.  Jess & I walk around the bend to the closest store for chips & drinks.  Jess screams whenever a bus goes by & almost gets hit by a passing car.  We hitch the 10 minute walk back in the back of a truck.  Modelo/baby Coronas & habanero chips for all!  I had no luck finding a sweater in the van as the sun is going down, but do find a wicked pilot's hat.  When Darryl gets back we're chillin  out with beers on the lip of the road.  Fills 'er up.....Battery's dead.  FFS.  The cops pull around to help us out & there I am - gringo chick in a pilot's hat holding a beer directing traffic on a Mexican highway.  We still make it to Buscerias & to Mega.  Mega is like christmas.  It's got everything!  I take advantage & get myself a camera.  So sweet - it takes amazing pictures!  Mexican wrestling is playing on the tv's in the electronics section.  Spanish Christmas music is playing.  Darryl looks beat.  I am once again elated.

Scene 4:  Last Saturday Daniele, Tamara & I took a night off from each other & went our seperate ways.  The next day, we each recounted the night before.  When Daniele found me on the waves, hers involved alot of "I don't want to talk about it" or "I'm trying to erase it from my memory".  Apparently I was going to go swimming.  Daniele can't understand anything Novio says, but she said he seemed concerned.  Tamara had an early night, but somehow met someone on the way home & it actually turned into an event.  Despite our crazy lives, Levi was the one with the biggest story to tell.  Daniele was piecing together what she'd been told & I couldn't believe any of it.  Apparently him & Teddy, Zena's 13 year old son, had been drinking in the street.  They went to the Grand Opening of the white beach bar LA View, where there was free drinks.  Levi got kicked out because someone caught him with a beer, so he chatted with the bouncers a bit before heading home.  Tamara gets a call at 3am from Zena in hysterics cause Teddy didn't come home.  Levi had a hard time making out where he had last seen him, but when she asked if there was anyone he knew there - yeah, Darryl was there.  He was half cut & they had said we were there with them & didn't think anything of it.  Zena ends up finding Teddy chatting up some guy in the corner of Dragon Rojo.  He could stand when he left, but ended up getting carried home & throwing up all down the street.  Zena's words in the morning were "I have SO much cleaning to do."

I hang out with some characters.  To say the least.

Scene 5:  There was one indescribable day.  Last Sunday.  After procrastinating on it all day, Daniele & I finally made it in the water.  She likes the surf better by the sand bar, but I like to go just to the right of where the pros are dicks & catch all the big waves.  We go to her spot.  I caught almost every wave I went for.  I would paddle back out laughing.  I still have trouble getting to my feet, but I can catch them & ride them on one knee.  Yes.  It is a cool feeling to watch something for so long, to start to understand & anticipate how it works.  That's how I feel about reading the water.  Everything I had heard was that surfing will change your life & that there is nothing like it.  Someone had compared it to the love you feel for your child.  After surfing for 5 weeks & to finally be able to.....  Man.  I was talking to the french guys Fred & Pat later, who just said "You look fuckin happy.  Good for you!"  Got stung by a jellyfish, but it didn't matter.  What a day.  Amazing day.

The next week was shit for waves.  It doesn't matter though, cause once you catch them, it's all worth it.

Today:  I am in Puerto Vallarta.  We did alot of busing back & forth through the city, because....well, just because.  Accidentally.  Oh well.  Tamara decided to make her way with me to Playa del Carmen for Christmas.  I didn't think this would happen, cause she does alot of talking about ideas & not alot of following through, but here we are!  I never thought she'd be able to convince Levi to trek across the country.  We took off without knowing where we were headed & decided along the way.  If we had left earlier we would have gotten further, but instead spent 5 hours on the road to get an hour away from home.  I am on the rooftop of my hostel, right outside our dorm.  This place is alive!  Tamara's surprized we don't come here more often.  She only says that because it's got more than 3 bars - it's the illusion of options.  Decent place though.  I can see the resorts in Nuevo Vallarta from here.  They were setting off fireworks a couple hours ago - the great big ones.  The sparks would touch the water.  It's fairly cold - I am wearing a hoodie & my hands are stiff.  Wind off the water.  To my right is a beautiful cathedral that rings it's bells every half hour during the day.  Levi had Burger King for dinner, while Tam & I ate at a Cuban bar.  The same bar is opening in Sayulita Monday & it was one of the reasons people were trying to get me to stay.  Luckily, I still got to experience it.  Ha!  We do alot of comparing this to our little surf town, knowing the grasp it has on us.  What a cool place.  I love knowing I'm going back, as well as going off to find more cool places!

We left Mitch as our replacement.  He needs to meet everyone, scare off the people that are shit & convince the cool ones to stay.  Hold down the fort while we're away.

My Spanish has been getting alot better since I've been hanging out with Novio & Abraham.  Someone had told me "You know you can speak a language when you understand the humour of it."  It feels good to be able to joke around.  Working on vocabulary a bit at a time.  Stop.  Store.  Find.  Glue.  Broken.

Still heaps of misadventure as well.  There was the day I lost my surfboard - left it with a family on the beach & when I came back it was gone.  My friends had taken it home for me I found out the next day.  None of my electronics work, including my new camera.  I think I need to clean the sand out of it.  In the meantime, it's got some great pictures on it I can't get off & keeps saying things to me in Spanish.  Oh bother.

For Christmas I am getting the Worst Case Scenario handbook.  I feel like I need it.

End scene.

We are dust in the spotlight.  We're just kind of floating.

Life in the moment

The cantina next to our house that plays Mexican music 12 hours day is really a brothel.  This speaks volumes.

(Need to write more.  Need to write more.)

Two days ago I decided it was my last night.  I tried to get things done, got nothing done, couldn't communicate because I don't know spanish & just felt terrible in spite of myself.  But still, I needed to get stuff done so - one more night.  It's Sayulita tradition to have one Last Night,  & one Last Last Night.  No one believes I am going.  Yesterday I went kayaking all day, hung out with friends, got nothing done & felt great!  I would stand in the street & shout I'M LEAVING & skip all the way home.

Today is a great day to leave.  For no reason other than it feels great to be leaving!  I've settled all my debts, sold my surfboard & said all my goodbyes - which are never enough.  I had tears in my eyes simply because I have such good friends.  Last night was a great last night.

Without the truth of the eyes, the happy fake were blind.

A Sayulita pub crawl looks like this:
Camarones, last night dinner, Yo Yo's, campfire, Pato's, El Tigre, Pato's, Dragon Rojo.

Camarones is the sweet beach bar by the campground.  They generally play reggae or dancehall music & it's shrouded in christmas lights.  Many days we meet here for drinks at sunset after a day on the surf.  Sometimes if the girl is working she free pours the drinks & you can have a tab.  I keep thinking I'll walk off without paying, but haven't yet.

It was Charlie & Vanessa's (Gabriola Island) last night, my last night & Teddy's (Calgary) last night, so we had a potluck dinner at Zena's with Levi, Tamara & Suzy.  Wine, sushi from Heylo (who only does it Fridays & Saturdays but it's so good!), salsa, hummus & chips, meatballs, etc.  Playing with baby Tayah & chatting with Teddy about music & anything.

Yo Yo Mo's is the sports bar by the river Simon owns with 25 peso drinks.  We'll stop in there for cheap mixed drinks or shots & check out the scene & maybe even play some pool before heading out.  Levi spends tons of time here during the day because of the good wifi.  They have awesome pizza & really good chips with ranch dip.

The boys at the campground Camarones almost always plan to have a campfire, but sometimes just spend the whole night trying to convince people to come down for it.  Yesterday when we went kayaking, Kyle spearfished a massive Rooster Fish & cooked it up by the fire.  Like 15 pounds.  Apparently it was quite good.

Bar Don Pato's is where the band plays.  I swear I've seen them about 30 times.  We know all the guys in the band - Novio, Abraham, Mariano, Marco, Moses & they've got a sweet new trombonist from Argentina that puts a seriously good swing on things.  They're called Raises Negras - the Black Roots.  Loads of fun & dancing.

Bathroom break at El Tigre across the Plaza from Pato's.  More mainstream, a bit alternative dancy music.  When the band's done we'll go there for a drink & more dancing & to be immersed in their surfing movies.  Tigre is a former pro surfer who owns it.  Mezmorizing videos.  Seriously.  I can't believe some things are possible.

Second set at Pato's.

Dragon Rojo's name was change to Tekari.  The manager Roxanna came up to me one day & simply told me she's seen me around & thinks I'm awesome.  Benson is a wicked bartender.  Ronaldo is a cool dj & we talk about all things music.  Sometimes either at the beginning or end of the night he'll play our songs.  Last night the last song of the night was for me - Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods.  He knows all my favourites.  What a guy!  We generally make some sort of scene here.

I am running out of town to get out of the vortex that is Sayulita.  At some point during the blur of last night, possibly at 4 or 5am, I convinced Tamara to come with me!  I've got more stories but it's practically siesta time & we've got some ground to make up.  I love it here, but I feel so great about leaving!


Beauty in life is found in the moment.  Never search anywhere else.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Banana Team Pro

Long winding days & nights mashed together.

My friends are pretty sure I am incapable of not make a scene.  Even on our quiet nights, I cause some sort of uproar.  I am still meeting people who remember me from the time I wore a homemade mask around town.  Eating huevos rancheros off the floor & working on my spanish.  Dancing salsa with friends/strangers in the Plaza.  Getting 4 year olds to do my hair before going out.  Went to a fish tacos & beer birthday party at Tigre's house.  Brett's last night was off the chains too.  Somebody gave me earrings - I'm re-writing the rules of the game.  When we go out, it quickly becomes evident that we are the funnest people in town.  It's going to be strange next week when Fiesta de la Guadelupe is over & there is no longer live banda music until 1:30-2am in the Plaza.

We clinked our glasses together.  Tamara, Daniele & I have our eyes on the prize.  We are working on a project together that will at once be very critical, very fun & very interesting.  We are working out the preperatory steps.  Sometime in the future we are going to have to move to Sayulita.  Even though I've become a local enough to know this is what usually happens & not wanting to get caught in the trap - we can't help but be happy about it.

Since I'm been caught up thinking about the production aspects of our project, I am realizing how much I am interested in that  Behind the scenes.  I am mashing together all the information I've ever recieved about working at concerts, working on the radio, doing production work at the station, talking to friends about documentaries & equipment & the like.  I am starting to funnel some of my interests.

When I am on the water, I feel so inspired.  Especially when it's so quiet & we are all just sitting watching the ocean come in.  Today the waves are good - better than they have been all week.  The other day I went to the beach & got a flutter in my chest thinking about getting in the water.  I ran for my surfboard.  I was out until the sun dipped beneath the western hills.  Lovely.  Everyone here convinces everyone to stay.  I was thinking that as long as the surf is good, I will stay, because all I want to do is be in the water & Mexico City is the furthest from it.  After being landlocked all my life, it is amazing how much I love the water.  It still works.  Unreal.  I saw a stingray just out of the water today & had a conversation last night about bioluminescence.  Dylan, this pro who is Patricia's son, was hassling people & being an ass, but if the pros are out on the waves...today is a good day.

I am embracing my homesickness & inspiration.  I have bouts of both.  It makes me get up on the computer, stream some local Wpg bands, & try to regain some control.  I always need to write more.  I am one week away from being gone the same amount of time as my Africa trip.  I am embracing my itchy feet right now as well, knowing how great it will be to hit the road.

I am aware I am living in paradise, but it's only been in the past couple days that I've gotten my groove.  There is now a reason to stick around.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The day the Swell came in


Pretty tired...

Many things have happened.

Monday Tuesday the waves were shit.  Nothing happening.  So choppy, nothing to catch.  Tuesday night we heard rumours of the Southern Swell.  Some swell that was coming in from Hawaii.  Sometimes it hits us sometimes it doesn't...  We all planned to get up early Wednesday.

I was already at the beach when the boys showed up at 8:30.  Astonished.  I had never seen such big waves - but then I've hardly seen waves at all to be frank.  These were only about 3.5-4ft, but they looked like monsters & felt even bigger when you were out there.  After an hour of watching, Brett showed up "There're waves...I don't see what the problem is." He's the best of the 3 of us for sure.  I got rocked hard a couple times & called it quits for the rest of the day.  All the pros were out & all the instructors we know too.  4ft is not very big by any stretch, but when you're learning it's a mountain.

It is something else to watch the wave break when you're sitting on top of it.

Yesterday noonhour was the best though.  I fixed my approach & I've been catching waves left & right.  The waves were long & lazy - nice & easy.  It would be me, Brett, Darryl & Andy out there; sometimes on the same wave.  We'd laugh if we almost crashed into each other, cause we are finally catching them.  Fuck yeah.  Yesterday was my best day.

Then Danielle came back into town....

Not gonna lie.  I'm super tired, my bed is 3ft from here & it's 5am.  You'd be mad at me, but it's freezing out....at +16.  Roosters are crowing.  Spent most of today recovering from last night, Danielle's first night back, but the waves were shit anyway.  Tonight I took it easy & made a 9am surf date with her.  We'll see how much better I really am.  She's had perpetual darkness in Alaska since she left!  Hahaha.

Both her & Tamara have been saying something about how special I am, but I don't take compliments too well, so I don't really remember.  Danielle wants me to stay so she can come visit us again.  Tamara wants me to stay & be her live-in nanny.  They want me to adopt the dog & take Zumba & boxing as more incentive & someone told me their in love with me at Dragon Rojo tonight.  No wonder Danielle came back - the drama!

Cannon blasts outside for the first night of Fiesta de la Guadelupe.
More to come.
Sleep first.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Crowded Hour

Then...

We spent the day in Buscerias.  I went to get my sandals fixed among other things.  Wide open coastline, & nobody around.  Street lights & street signs, not knowing anyone & having to stop for traffic...  Threw us off completely.  I had been questioning why I didn't understand the beauty of Sayulita & it took me going only an hour outside of town to figure it out.  Guacamole with lime & Pacifico on the beach.  Damn.  Life is good.

On the bumpy bus ride through the jungle I laugh despite myself again.  Cause I am travelling.  And proving to myself that nothing is perfect.

I had great conversations with our neighbors - another benefit to travelling slowly.  Then watched a bunch of baby sea turtles try to crawl their way into the sea.  Not even joking.  So cool.  Every night after sunset, at around 7ish...  It's amazing to flip them back over on their tiny shells & help draw them into the water.  And hope they don't get swept away by the waves down the beach.  They are pretty helpless things...  Watching them crawl through the sand under the stars at dusk.  Wonderful.

Wandered around.  Made new routes around town.  Talked with some old & new friends around drinks in the Plaza as usual.  Salsa night at Don Pedro's has us watching from the beach.  A good portion of my night would eventually consist of being sandwiched between live Cuban music & the low tide waves crashing on the shore.  Consistent, but overwhelming - the noise.  Played fetch with a dog in this juxtaposition with my borrowed Crocs & a half bottle of Bacardi stashed in the sand.  How I wish I could take black and white pictures of the beach at night.  The dog hears better than he can see, and I can tell from the lighting, so I started lobbing the stones in the air.  It's chido to see him baseball slide his way into catching up with my rocks.  Up & down the beach.  No matter what.

I almost adopted that dog tonight, despite my current dog-less situation.  We came out of our house & he was sitting on our steps.  The best way to appreciate simple pleasures is to play with dogs.  Tamara gags when she sees the slobber on me.  She calls me the Dog Whisperer.  I play rough & work hard to be the alpha female.  We had to walk him back into town, knowing he's not a street dog but one of those dogs that has an owner & just sleeps around.  When I hear the usual dogs that keep me up at night go off, I wonder if it's because of him & if he's on his way...

Overcast again.
Yeah, despite all that shit this morning, I'd say today was a good day.
:-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Overwhelmed

After getting locked out of the house last night, & waking up in a van this morning, I ate cereal with ants in it, found out my bag in mouldy & my credit card doesn't work online.  On top of finding out Madison was put down yesterday.  Overcast again.  It's just one of those days today.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last night in town

Someone told me not to censor myself.
Do you really want to know what a Friday night is like around here?

Woke up at 11:30, it's almost 3.  Feeling worse for wear.  No beach yet.  I have a scab on my elbow & cheezie fingers.  I think I have a bump on my forehead.  No more bruises than usual.  No hard feelings from Vince or Viloy.

Vince's last night means a big night out.  It's always someone's last night.

Dusk surf session with better waves than all day.  Cuba libre & Pacifico at the beach bar Camaron.  Sang Stand By Me at home drinking vodka soda.  The drummer from Don Pato's told me he likes me.  Spinach pizza at YoYo's.  Canuck's won 4-1.  Won 3 games of pool.  Got yoga tips on how to strengthen my legs.  Charlie offered me a free boxing lesson.  Nobody made any comments about my dress.  I played fetch with Buddha, Gabe's dog, for about an hour at Dragon Rojo.  This guy Eric told me I was his hero.  I slapped a friend of mine again; I really need to keep myself in check when it comes to that.  I go off whenever the song New York gets played, and Tamara knows it.  The DJ at Dragon Rojo is mad at me cause I haven't been hanging out with him.  Walked home arm in arm with two friends.  Darryl tried to sleep on our floor, so we walked him home.

Pretty successful night I'd say.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stand By Me

Overcast means: Can no longer tell the time.  Need to invest in a towel.  Stark contrast between the green, brown & white.  Very few people in the water.  The waves a strange mercurial colour.  A reminder of home.

American Thanksgiving means:  Send a message home to Al of assorted pie guesses.  Invite to Tamara's new employers in San Pancho.  Hamaika tea.  So much food & so much leftovers.  Bitten by a duck.  Lentil loaf, yams, carrots, beans, stuffed mushrooms, spring rolls, asparagus, salad, fruit salad, spaghetti alfredo, cabbage rolls, including the usual turkey, stuffing, ham, potatoes &  gravy.  9 pies for 20 people.  Pie hovering.  Amazing house with a rooftop patio.  Some things are universal.  Like a fear of heights & gazing at the stars.

Sayulita: dreadlocks, familiar faces, smiles along the road, sand in my bed.  Breakfast at Chocobanana, One Love, Break Fast or El Espresso.  Friends on the surf.

Learning about this new idea that it's not my job to reassure people.  If you've got a problem or concern, it is quite literally your problem.  :)

Today has a surf session in the cards.  FINALLY!
No longer recovering from turkey effect.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

el Jimador

It is an interesting feeling waking up at Home in Mexico.  Very cool.  This is the first time I haven't experienced the "where am I" feeling when I wake up.  No disorientation.  And I wake up at home every morning, without fail.

A bit of devastation when I found out the spine of my surfboard was broken.  I got two good runs out of it & I could tell something was off.  Sunday I cheerily walked around telling people I was on my way to bust skulls, but Ramone at the surf shop gave me another one without me having to ask.  Every day I learn a little bit more.  Whether it's the timing, or which ones are good to ride, or where to be careful of the break cause it'll toss you like nothing & you won't be able to get your feet on the ground. These aren't even the worst ones.  It's great learning the waves.  Getting the feel for when it's time to dive into them & see how far you can get.  Laughing at your friends tumbling.

I love the feeling of laying in bed & still feeling the waves.

Tamara & I have tons of fun knocking people down a few pegs.  We take the piss out of everyone.  We're like teenagers together, and she doesn't know what to do when I leave.  We make games at the bar to liven up the place, or get the barkeep Tony to let me play dJ at Dragon Rojo.  Somedays we stay in & watch How I Met Your Mother, or sit around drinking wine.  Contemplating.  She has a Masters in Psychology, so we have great discussions.  The rumour around town is that we're lesbians, cause we're pretty inseparable.  The other day was Revolution Day, so I spent the majority of the day with a moustache & beard on.  Quite attractive, even in the waves!  We act silly & I have acquired an adoptive Aussie name, since I am an Ozophile.

On the other hand of girl-time, I am always one of the boys.  I spent Sunday with Darryl (London), Bret (NZ) & Vince (BC) at the sports bar.  CFL playoffs, Oilers & Canucks hockey, poker & pool tournys ->  You'll be happy to know Darryl & I kicked ass.  At least, once we figured out how to compensate for the crooked cue.  We all surf together, except I haven't seen Vince since we came close to fist fighting that night.  And yes, it was my fault.  Later when Darryl introduced Tamara & I he said "Tamara's great & Joss's fuckin awesome"!  (See: post about Tamara's claim to be the most awesome.)

Sidenote:  Something missing in every bar in Canada is dogs.

Every night is a little bit different with a little bit different characters.  Today had afternoon fireworks for some sort of fiesta in the arena.  It is Wednesday, right?  There is also a 15th birthday party across the street with a huge live band that is currently going off.  The equivalent of a bahtmitvah.  We're going to the Plaza in town to meet some friends & see what happens from there.

You might be able to tell where my priorities lie.  I spend all day watching the water, waiting for the perfect chance.  I sometimes lose focus by dancing, singing, laying down, or trying to do pushups on the board & miss the waves.  It's easy to get distracted.  Every day I want to do a morning session, but sleep in without fail.

There is something to be said for constantly failing at something.  I am picking it up piece by piece.
-Jozza

Cuba libre

Walking home in Sayulita is like this.  Very solitary.  The smell of dust from the road.  The unmistakable crunch of your feet.  Orange streetlights.  Occasional barking or howling.  Silhouettes of palm trees against the moon.  The electrical buzz of insects.
Or, if you're in the plaza, restless pigeons overhead.
And roosters, depending on the time of night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Omar es mi amigo

Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico.

Tam just made me this awesome chic pea + rice dish.  So so so good.  Homemade fooooooood.  Yum!

Sitting on Darryl's porch with Tamara's laptop.  Everyone is way too nice to me.  She offers up her home & shares her food with me cause she likes having me around.  Levi & I really get along too, and it seems alot of people are picking up on that.  The landlord here said when people stay over, she asks them to make a donation for rent that goes to the school on the corner.  That is awesome!  Darryl said if I need a place to stay I can always stay in his campervan.

I have recently realized that if you are open to them, amazing things can happen.

Mesmorized by the black-and-white surfing videos at El Tigre.  Wondering if what they do is possible.  Not sure if I can conceive it quite yet.

A dog playing with a coconut on the beach.  Ripping off the outer shell & chasing it around.

Tiny fish washed into shore at the dusk tide.  Kids throwing them up to these massive swallowtailed eagles.  They usually come out to scavenge the fishing boats when they come in, but are almost always out at sunset.  Bat-like against the sky.  4-5 ft wingspan.

Sitting where the ocean only occasionally licks our feet.  Chatting & chatting in the lazy afternoon sun.  Danielle was mad at me/teasing me about all the little things I did.  I scrambled back, just in time for the one wave that was brave enough to lap us up.  We were fools to think we were safe.  We laughed for the next hour about our misfortune.

Talking at sunset with Simon, the manager of Yo Yo Mo's, the sportsbar.  He tells me about the different swells, how the flood changed the beach, the change of the tide throughout the day & month, the different breaks along this coast, and where to find good surf in the UK.  I am set because of people like him.

Wading through a river everyday.  Fed by the floodwaters.  I am told in a few weeks it will be gone.

Tam & I spent all day having great talks.  Meandering around successfully looking for a softtop longboard.  Ripper beauty!  9ft.  I will talk to Patricia in the morning about storing it in her compound near the beach.  It turns out to be too wide to carry it to & from the house.  Hurts my wrist to attempt it.

Burrito Revolucion.  We are evidentally central time, which is kind of weird cause we are still west coast.  Skyped with dad & Susan.  Saw Maddie & Cyrus.  One of the girls here asked me to keep it down, for yelling at my family.  Same old stuff at the house.  Tam had the perfect cue, when I literally said "I don't drink every night, I'm not drinking right now" & she handed me a vodka soda.  Ha!

We chilled out this evening with Darryl on the porch, thinking about our past present & future trouble.

Lovely moments in this fine town.

I don't like giving the impression I am completely wreckless or that it's very easy.  Right now, life is grand.  Sayulita is a pretty safe place.  Not only do I know many people in this town, but I have good friends to watch my back.  Tamara completely trusts me, even with her money & her son.  It goes both ways.  I am never concerned for my well-being.  When it comes to my stuff, I am careful.  I am learning it is a controlling attitude that makes me do this, & it's only stuff.  At this point I have nothing of value to take, except money.

On the other hand, travel is easy.  When you're on the road, you have your bearings around you.  You get to know what people are like, and get a good sense of your own instincts.  Nobody has double-crossed me on this trip.  I have been quick to avoid characters I feel uneasy around, or uncomfortable situations.

No worries.  Another day in paradise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ciudado Piso Mojado


Sitting in the courtyard of the villa I am staying in. The pool is really noisy cause Levi's got the jets turned all the way up. Tamara is Skyping a friend on the other side of the courtyard – closer to the router, furthest from our place. It's funny the way we say “we live here”, then explain we are also from Australia, the US & most often Canada. There are Canadians everywhere here.

Let me rewind.

Immediately after setting up camp I was shaking hands with some people over breakfast. Only a couple of the friends I've made this week are still here, but such is the way with the transient community.

It's so hard to give an overview of people & places in my life. I guess this is why short constant updates are important.

This weekend means my nights have been far longer than my days. Tamara, Danielle & I had become a team. Every night we did a round of a couple bars. We know where things are happening. Sayulita is a town of a couple thousand people. It's easy to walk down the street or beach saying hello to everyone on the way.  Ky & Tamara are the ones who know everyone, but I'm catching on at my own pace.

Ky was this great guy who made plans with me as soon as he shook my hand. We would travel together at the end of the month, and maybe even split a place to save on rent. I would razz him cause he's one of these guys everything comes easily for. Everyone likes him! He met 10x more people then any of us. He was a rafting guide in Alaska this summer. Originally by way of NZ/SoCal. Surfing since he was little. Cool attitude, sense of humour & a genuine nice person. Good salsa dancer too. It seems everyone had some sort of higher experience with him. I know we had some really great talk about life the universe & everything. One day he told us he'd had an epiphany & it was time to move on. I hope we meet on the road one day.

Danielle left today & has gone to be a chemist in Alaska for a couple weeks. We will probably meet up with her later Tamara is living here with her son Levi. She tells us how awesome she is all the time, and has almost formally adopted me. One day she was stung by a sting ray & screaming in pain. She had clay treatments & I helped out with pain diversion & tequila shots. She still came to the pool party later that night. Levi is 11. He is the coolest kid. So funny, insulting & pretty foul-mouthed, but I'd expect no less from the Aussies. Danielle & I said we'd both pay money for him to talk to us. Oh and he weilds a butterfly knife.  Levi doesn't do swimming in the ocean too much, Tamara is now scared of the water, but Danielle & I surf together. When she comes back we'll do a trip to La Lancha.  Danielle has her share of stories. She's worked as a horseback tour guide in New Zealand, a dive instructor in the South Pacific & studied martial arts in Thailand. I am amazed by their stories, and they just shrug & say “that's what happens when you get old”.

Life in the details.

Today I found a dead scorpion right over there. The locals call it Cancle, but it's also known as a tail-less whip scorpion that looks kind of like this (http://www.animalparties.co.uk/Animals/Whip_Scorpion.html). I lost my camera & cried about it. Lucky I had some good friends to cheer me up. Taking pictures is a luxury. In such a small town, it wouldn't be unlikely for it to turn up. The good part being that I've started drawing again. Feels good, and looks half-decent too. A different type of memory. I wish I could capture the colours of the flowers, buildings, sunsets, sunlight, water, sand... The sand on the side of the beach where the beginners surf is black & gold, like fool's gold.  The colour of the clouds at sunset in indescribable, and incapturable.

Tamara may as well be my new vegan mother. She made rice, tofu & seaweed for lunch. We eat a lot of quesadillas & tacos & vanilla awesome cake & burritos from Burrito Revolution. She says she owes me her life from the other day when she was stung, but I owe her a lot for even just letting me stay with them. Our nights in, we watch How I Met Your Mother on her computer. She is Barney.

This weekend has had so many different elements & has been rediculous & fantastic and possibly not unlike a night out in Melbourne. We watched some local boxing just across the street here. It was very cool. I made some friendly wagers & won 7-0. 350 pesos! I've become something of know-it-all too. We did a lot of dancing & laughing at each other's dancing. Avoiding people & random meet-ups. I had a great conversation about the CFL playoffs with a dude wearing a hollow clown's head pinata & a bottle of tequila in his waistband. I wore a sombrero at some point everyday this weekend. Saw some killer live latin music at Don Pato's. Danced salsa with Ky & with a salsa instructor from a resort in Bucerias - both at Dragon Rojo.  I've closed out the bar every night we've been out, & every night we've been out we end up at Dragon Rojo.  Not unlike back at home.  My dealbreaker is that if they play I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, we have to leave.  I stepped on a wasp, but was walking with EMT/rafting guide Andy at the time, so I was set. No adverse reaction, and totally downplayed cause of the stingray & my subsequent teasing. Andy lets me try his paddleboard sometimes, which is extremely difficult.

This post is all over the place, but probably a more accurate depiction of life. If only I could tell you all the inside jokes about Warriors, Aztec Demigods, red tracksuits, or football players. It's always the people that make the place, and I am lucky to have so many good friends. We have a new neighbor Darryl, a Brit who seems to be a lot of fun. I kept him from going home by saying shit like “Brits can't hold their liquor” the first night we met. His friends found him wandering around at noon today in the clothes from last night with one toenail painted red. He woke up in a hammock in someone's garden on the other end of Sayulita. Yes, I do believe he might be fun.

I should go continue the search for a surfboard & get in the water instead of sitting in the shade! My board rash is healing up, but not for long if I'm heading to the surf.  If I get a board I'll have to invest in a rashguard & real boardshorts.  One day I will do laundry too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Headed down south t the land of the pines...."

My surf:

I am in the surf.  I am picking it up.  Today was the best day in the water so far.  I got up a couple times, & caught just about every wave I went for.  Creating these surf-only relationships with people on the water.  No names, just about waves, boards, practice, ability & the time.  I get tangled in the leach alot.  I am goofy foot - right foot forward.  The waves here can get fair sized, & are very constant.  The best time for beginners is afternoon ish. 1-4 = siesta time; when the tide is out.  Though we don´t have the huge breaks like Puerto Escondido, most of the top surfers in the country come from here.  There are two breaks - one right & one left.  The left is a sand bar & all the lessons & beginners hang around there.  It breaks right up to the beach.  It is very easy to fall into 2 feet of water without realizing how close to shore you are.  The right is behind the rocky shore, and for the more avanced dudes.  Some guys paddleboard while standing & make it look incredibly easy.  I wear some cheap white shorts & a rash guard - a long sleeved shirt.  The rash guard must do wonders, cause I´m got rashes on my thighs, knees & left elbow.  I couldn´t imagine bare stomach too.  Not to mention it won´t go away cause I just keep surfing on it...  I rub pure aloe on it.  They are toughening up.  The guy at the surf shop says I am becoming a surfer. Oh and I bought my first bikini the other day.  Yes, you can tell this body gets no sun.  Quite pasty.  My routine is to catch a few waves for usually 2 hours in the afternoon, wash off & wash my hair, then hang in the sun to dry off since I don´t own a towel.  Haha!  Then it´s about time for sunset, which I watch pretty much everyday.  It´s the best indicator of time & I´ve become super romantic....

My home:

So I didn´t plan to be camping!  You knew that, right?  It´s so much cheaper at the campground, when Sasha went to Vallarta I got him to drive me to Walmart & picked one up.  I am cautious on the verge of paranoia.  I make sure no one sees me go in or out of the campground, since I am the only one staying in it.  My stuff is so tucked away & completely invisible to the beach.  When I walk in with my friends, I try to get them to find where I´m set up & it´s pretty cool when they can´t.  There are two in town & I am the one that´s fenced in.  The other is open to the beach, but I don´t want any thoroughfare since I won´t be around alot to safeguard my stuff.  I have some friends at the other campground, but this is an okay deal so far.  I tie it up from the inside when I´m sleeping.  My biggest fear would be if a bunch of people were to carry me off in it at night, but I don´t see that happening.  When I am in there I am dead to the world.  No one knows I am there.  Well, the people that count do.  The first night was fitful.  I thought it was storming all night, but it was the crash of the waves.  Constant.  Dogs howling too.  I am sheltered by a palapa, so I would never know if it rained.  I need to get something to sleep on though.  I am straight grounding it.  It´s okay for right now.  I´ve got a knot in my back right now from that & craning to look behind at the waves.  By the weekend I will be staying somewhere else in town.  There is apparently some sort of skateboarding competition maybe?  And it will be busy with weekenders.  Ky & I are working on finding a cheap place to rent.  He´s got a couple on the line with possibly 120$ or 150$ a month rent, which is less than both our campgrounds & would be amazing!!  It doesn´t get much basic than camping, so we are not picky.

Soon I will introduce my fair town - Sayulita.  And my new pack: Ky, Karen, Tamara, Levi, Carlos....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Changoleones

I spent 7 1/2 hours biting my nails in transit Saturday.  (Saturday? I don´t even know what day of the month it is - this computer thinks it´s still October.  Friday I think maybe.)  All day a bit on the edge.  As soon as I pressed the enter key on the post, I realized everything was closed.  Hmmm.  At the nearest store: "Sabes una hotel abierto viente quattro horas?"  He asked the fellow next to him who spoke english.  We stepped outside...

Time stood still.  There was never a need to contact anyone, know the time or day or what anyone else´s concerns were.  Ultimate relaxation.  Plus with no computer, phone or camera...  Everything slipped away.

Calle Cielo (Heaven), Casa de Magia (Magic House) - http://www.sayulitalife.com/magia

Let me introduce you to the (former) usual suspects.

Sasha runs this show.  He´s the reason everone else is here & the renter of the big empty house above the ocean.  He is a German electronic artist, who came here at the end of a tour for vacation.  He´s a real easy going guy, & takes all day doing anything - no hurry.  He invited me to stay with him, with his friends from Puerto Vallarta.  He´s desperately trying to finish his latest album that he´s been working on for 2 years, & I guess I surprise him with knowing something here & there about the recording process, or creative process of recording.  The road up to the house is the craziest roller coaster.  The last house on a windy road through a "jungle" at the top of a hill.  Absolutely insane.  Sasha´s at the house on vacation, so he´s chill about everything.  When it comes to partying - this is his job.  So on vacation he wants to take it easy, but with a raverbrausen in him he´s easily persuaded.

Fito was the tall gentleman at the store who was probably picking up Camel cigarettes, but instead picked up trouble as well.  He is a radio host/producer at the University of Guadalajara station in Vallarta.  Es Mexicano.  He´s got a Barry White type of voice.  He´s a decent guy, but if I get vibes off anybody it´s him.  I like his girlfriend better.

Mauro is the co-host of the show at the station in Vallarta.  He´s a very cool guy.  We had some cool talks.  Very funny.  Apparently he might be the funniest guy on Mexican radio.

Maya is super cool.  Originally from San Francisco by way of Boulder, CO.  Been living in Vallarta a year & a half.  Amazing spanish.  Great gal.  Showed me some places I could stay, & hangouts I should know about, places I could get jobs and the like.  She´d explain cultural differences, or recent happenings to me.  Apparently there was a fairly devastating flood this year no one heard about because of the going´s on in Pakistan.  It hit them really hard.  The buiness she had poured her heart & soul went uner because of this & because of the H1N1 shtick.  We talk about entrepeneural stuff, as well as general anything.  She´s very cool to talk to, and extremely nice.  Calls people sweetie & has something good to say about everyone.

Fatima or Fafa is a friend of Maya´s.  Very quiet, shy & nice just the same.  She gets silly drunk.  She was with a Canadian named Jamie.  He is a surfer from Whistler with a cool palm tree tattoo on his chest.  He helped me get over my fear of jellyfish.  He was completely stoked on life Saturday, & just everything was going his way...  He´s a DJ, has family out here & is moving to Australia in a month.

They are all gone now.  Like it never happened.  Back to square one.

Sasha gave me a ride into Vallarta this morning to get some stuff at Walmart.  Bathing suit, camera...that sort of thing.  They are playing christmas songs there now...  He seemed to be nonplussed about me hanging around.  I had told Maya my concern, that I was the only one not officially in the crew, & she said it was a very Mexican thing to overstay your welcome until somebody asks you to leave.  He had no problem.  He´s heading to somewhere south of Tulum, then home for December - hopefully get the album finished - then to Thailand for two months.

Man, there were crazy bugs at this house too!  Praying mantis & colouful moths & butterflies.  Beetles the size of my fist!

I have decided that amazing things can happen to you, if you are open to them.

Oh and I spent all afternoon in the surf today!  Brutal.  Paradise is punishing.  It´s deadly hard to keep up with the wave.  I now know the definition of wipeout, & catching a wave.  Got up a couple times, and I will be back again tomorrow!  If this rash goes away....  Ate my weight in sand, salt & surf.  This is a horrible sport.  But it will be worth it.  The thing´s I´ve heard about getting up....are amazing.  It turns out I spent 3 hours on the water.  I am really not sure how to tell the time when you´re out there.

I´ll figure it out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Urban Sombrero

Woke up in Guadalahara.  Chill night.  Spent the evening mending my shorts.

The thing about burning out is you need to know something about downtime.  Appreciate it.  Know that not everything is glamourous.  I could have told you that.

I am in Sayulita after a day of travelling!  6 & a half hour bus ride, then an hour cab ride.  I need to figure things out a bit more.  I´m going to run & check out what´s happening in the park across the way, and figure out what to do about my computer & camera situation.  See how it goes!  Feeling it out!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On hold in Cancun.

Moving on.  This is the laziest place in the world.  Nobody does anything.  Yesterday was nice to go to the beach, but I knew the beach culture wasn't for me.  I didn't take my initial advice to get out oif this city.  There's nothing happening really.  Even all the folk here are struggling with ideas.  I need to get out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This parade can't even handle me right now

Cancun, Mexico.  Ka'bey Hostel.

Great time.  I spent all day yesterday at the airport - come to think of it, around 13 hours between two different airports.  Spent some quality time at the post office, writing & taking note of all the things I have lost.  During this time I didn't bother sending any last minute couch requests & opted for a hostel.  My first time paying for accomodations this trip.  Also, because I was getting in late, I wanted to get online asap to Skype with the old man.  No such luck.  :'(

Despite all this "misfortune" stuff, I am baller at this traveller thing.  Despite my next story too.

Stumbling around Cancun with no camera.

Last night I arrived at this hostel.  Already, we are a crew of friends.  Well, ish.  Not so much as I've had previously, but we watch out for each other.  So after being here a couple hours we all took off to the club.  I was skeptical, but not willing to stay in.  Imagine how far I am from what was expected.  We all took the public bus to the strip, where all the resorts are.  There was a guy on the bus playing guitar & we were all singing along to Wonderwall & La Bamba (which I distinctly remember Maya knowing all the words to) for big tips!  It was Shane, Kane & Mick from Oz, Simon from Germany, Jon from Canada, Carmen & Medellin from Mexico, George from England, plus me.  All us girls got in free!  For an open bar too!  Together we tore the place up, dancing on stage & singing along.  Typical club night.  We were all on stage at one point, dancing away!  During Don't Stop Believing we were all singing along, as white dudes do - and yes, I identify with that group.  Drinks flowing.  We got out when the bar closed, probably around 5am.  Somebody said "Let's go to the beach" & I was so there, mesmorized by the water.  Nobody followed me, but I stood in the tide until it was ready to knock me over.  Killer.  My mind was racing.  Everything I'd ever dreamed....

I used to tell myself that there were places you could see the ocean from your house.
I've been in 3 oceans thus far.

I wandered over to the busstop & found that they hadn't forgetten about me afterall & were hanging out waiting for the bus.  I heard today that possibly they were making out, wrestling on the beach, getting propositioned by postitutes, blacking out or whatever as well.  When we came back George went to get some beer & those of us left sat for a few.  One in my case, before I called it quits.

I've wanted to be in Mexico for Day of the Dead, which is today, but didn't do anything to that respect at all today.  I have adopted this No Hurry attitude, and found a cool place with cool folk I'm not super eager to leave right away.  Which is always nice.  Otherwise I would have been in Vollodalid for Dia de los Meurtes, like Marcos suggested.  Today I got up, didn't have breakfast like I was stoked for, & went on the computer for a good portion of the afternoon.  Everyone was pretty struggling after last night.  Even I found some strange looking bruises, like I was the one falling off the stage!!  *(I wasn't.  Honest.)*  Woke up at noon.  Had a great hour & a half & some conversation with my buddy Kev Brent down in DRC.  On the patio, in the kitchen, in bed.  50,000 pounds is what he's supposed to remember this time.  Crazy stories.  Shane asked from beyond my screen if I wanted to go to the beach, so I shut 'er down.  If he makes it through this trip I'm gonna see him in like 24 days or something.  Hopefully we'll go surfing.  Man, that'd be killer!

As soon as I shut it off I thought I haad lost my passport, credit card & all my money.  I still went to the beach, going over it in my head what I did when I got back to the hostel, how careless & stupid I was, and what my next step was.  I was not looking forward to writing the post saying that I was stuck in Mx or whatever.  I still went to the beach & thought about my next step the whole way.  It's always good to make an assessment of the situation & what your priorities are - like I did before with all my missing things.  Funny how my passport didn't make the list.  Mick said he'd lost his most important stuff a couple times in SA & just held tight a week or so before he got it back.  I was pretty calm considering.  Jon had something stolen when I'd arrived & Kane was saying he lost some money last night too.  I should have known better.  Sticky fingers.  The beach was awesome by the way.  I went with Mick, Shane & Medellin.  I was swimmin in my clothes since I left my suit in Key West.  Trying to ride the waves with the Aussies.  Practicing.

No worries.  When I got home I strip searched my stuff & found all the contents of my pockets.  I vaguely remember now taking all the soaking documents out, stuffing them in my bag & hanging my pants up to dry.  Lucky I had.  Now I know, despite all the cautions or whatever, to be careful.  My plans have changed one hundred times in the past week alone, now they change again.

We went from resort style beaches & Mexican public transit to grocery shopping & asking innocent enough questions about a language.  "How do you say We're going shipping?"  One of my favourite things is the receipt I got from the veggies we bought for dinner & my soapy products.  Marcos knows his way around something fierce, despite being from Dallas.  He says knowing our "resort" that the rum will be done before 11pm.  The resort lifestyle is not so glamourous either, but this is practically all inclusive.  Medellin keeps making us burritos or quesadillas with traditional quacamole.  Spicy!  Shit! 

This hostel is the coolest.  Eat whatever you want in the fridge, sleep in however late you want...  The people are super cool, navy shower policy, & AC in the bedrooms.  The tv's been on with House, Law & Order, or Austin Powers all night (Spanish subtitles).  It's got a good rating online because of it.  3 hammocks on the patio, cool music & your stuff is pretty safe.  Somebody is pouring me a cuba (rum & coke) as we speak (but only because they drank all of mine).  See what I mean?  All these girls around me are speaking Spanish & I'm picking it up once & awhile.  My beginner spanish is getting me by alright - better than my beginner kiswahili for sure.  One day I will end up back here & somewhere on the road I will definately see some of these guys again.  Especially Helen from Melbourne I met tonight who plans to go west & surfing!  I will head there quickly & meet her there.  Imagine that!

Medellin knows this band called Los Fabulosos Cadillacs who she refuses to share with me!  But they are so good!  They are like Suenalo!  Who are also good.  You guys are so behind.

Thursday at 7 sounds good.  I will put in a super duper effort.  Even if it means missing the sunset.

Monday, November 1, 2010

FINALLY!!!

Arrived in Cancun.  I almost tagged along with some foreigners to Playa Del Carmen, but waanted to hit up the Skype thing quickly.  Missed it by a couple hours.  I am the only girl staying in the hostel.  A bunch of us are going out tonight.  Today was All Saint's Day & tomorrow is Day of the Dead!  I didn't miss it!!!

How's your sense of humour?

I just almost missed my flight.  I was sitting for about 3 hours outside gate E9, until boarding's getting close & there's still no action.

I am sitting in seat E9.
......
Christ.

Taking off, ya hosers!

**I've added pictures to a couple posts, so they are worth revisiting**

Fort Lauderdale Airport

This scrambled egg sandwich is made with love.  I can taste it.  Maybe it's because it's less about the sandwich than the situation.  I'm curled up by at outlet at 7am in my pajamas, eating my perfectly-grilled tinfoil-wrapped breakfast with my OJ.  We need to have picnics like this more often.
(Brooke I know you're reading!  Thanks for everything!)

Fantasy Fest was absolute madness.  I've never experienced anything like it.  Tuesday night I got body painted on the street, and even though it was freaking me out, it took going to Walgreens & eating pizza with Bryan to calm me down.  Went to see Entrain that night at the Alamo!  That was the last time I saw Bryan.

Wednesday was the night a couple tried to pick me up.  It was 3:30am-ish, and the woman bee-lined across the street to tell me how hot I was.  Sitting between Cameron & Damon, I got more advances than they did.  It's nice getting looks when I'm one of the only women in the street with my clothes on.  I was pretty uncomfortable, but I'm pretty good at making awkward situations my own.  This was too much though.  Dancing around.  All Damon could say was "I'm so jealous...."

Thursday was the arrival of Wendy.  C was working, & D was with Wendy, so I wandered on my own.  Traipsed over to the world's largest toga party at Sloppy Joe's!  I think it's super/mad funny that one night is fancy - white lace or serious bondage type dress - while the next night it's dressed down.  Like casual Thursdays.  Togas!  I could have pulled that one off, but didn't want to steal my friend's silk sheets.  The best part of this night was running into Paul across the street from the Red Elvises at the Green Parrot.  He played a bluegrass gig earlier that day, and made all this huge contacts.  Former mayor Tom Sawyer, his wife Kelly, a local promoter, a man who's sailed around the world...  We sat on the street drinking beer & dropping in periodically for a song or two from the Elvises.  Pretty good band!  Tom says he could get us into the parade on his float.  .........wait, what?!

The night before had a scene similar to this, where Damon, Paul & I were sitting across from the Parrot singing Johnny Quest thinks we're Sellouts & Dopeman.  Dude!  Made my day!  Damon was like "yeah!  LTJ!  I hung out with those guys for awhile..."  How are we just having this conversation now?  My heart is soaring!

Friday was a recovery day from our late nights.  Ah yes, Friday was the day we called it in early.  There was one night I succeeded at the impossible, & we woke up next to the pool at 7:15am.  There was one night I discovered how close it is to walk anywhere on the island, & the night I was given a She-Ra tiara from a Mexican on a bike.  There was one day we didn't leave the house until after sunset.  One night I called it in early from the bar, and wandered down the pier, and down the beach on imported sand taking the long way home.  Justin, C's roomate, was groping Damob's costume before he realized he actually knew us.  I kept almost getting hit by the ceiling fan when I was dancing on the bar at the Alamo.  One entire day Damon was completely lost & next time we saw him he had a job & his hands were butchered up from an 8ft sailfish.  I definately broke Cameron's pirate hook in 3 pieces at some point, and got schooled at pool many a time.  That's right!  that must have been Friday!  Justin made me a delicious rum cocktail in a coconut that was surprisingly heavy.  He wields a machete like a motherfucker!  Cameron's right - all the days this week blend together.

For Saturday I had been told to show up down the block at 6pm in a stripper outfit.  My friends are all fairly sure strippers don't wear clothes.  I figure I could do bodypaint, or just go in my underwear or something.  I showed up as is - holy NOFX shirt & all - drinking Four Loko with Damon on my tail at once complaining how he can no longer stand and in the same breath saying things like "I'm in this for the long haul."  Our float is from the Key West Golf Course.  All the men dressed as Tiger, and all the women as strippers.  Paul lucked out & got a red collared tee & black shorts from the Salvation Army.  From our angle, this parade looks un-believable!  We finangled ourselves some wristbands & a red tee for Damon.  Unreal!  I can't believe this is happening!  Ours was the only float with an open bar.  Dancing all night!  Flirting with men streetside.  I would pick beads up off the ground & gave them to people who had none, usually older guys.  The street kids are taking over!!!  Next year Paul's running for mayor!  I wasn't even flowing as much as the other paraders, cause I'd have half a drink & give the rest to Paul, sitting on his crutches at the back of the float.  30,000 people were there taking pictures & singing along!

Cameron slept through the parade.  Some people here are just as lame as people back home.  Hahahahaha!

I got off the parade & went to some girl's house who was in the parade.  Wandered Duval awhile, ending at Mallory Square watching the silhouettes of the fish.  So cool!  Took a nap there by the water, then wandered back to Cameron's later.  Got pretty trashed.  The next day there were questions.  My texts from last night say things like "I'm not sure where I am...I'm going to work on that first" & "Sitting on the balcony at the Alamo.  Sniper mode is on.  Watch yourself!"  I have a stamp on my hand from Cowboy Bill's....but if I was there, why didn't I go mechanical bull riding?  Where did my tiara go?  Why are my legs so sore & what are these scratches from?  By the time I got back I had completely sobered up.  It was a long night.

During the parade I lost my camera, and ran back a couple floats to find it - somebody said they'd put it in the cab of the float we were following.  The driver didn't know what we were talking about, but I think they meant the bar...  Bummer.  But i got a wicked phone secondhand with a camera on it!

Got a ride through CSing with this guy Mike who came down for the weekend from St Petersburg.  He rented an RV for 25$ a day.  Sweet ride!  I am not picky with rides, or meeting CSers in gerenal, but I guess I passed all these tests he had for me.  We went down to Miami Beach & met with the Ft Lauderdale crowd, and Brooke & Bryan.  I was his first experience using the site, & everybody was super welcoming & hospitable.  Man!  Lincoln Road ruled!  Huge party!  Tons of fun!  Brooke & Allan made the news with their costumes - her & Bryan were 80's arobics instructors, and Allan was a fisherman with a shark hat covered in blood.  Leaving early was fine with me.  Life is going to kill me shortly.

Didn't eat Key Lime Pie & didn't ride the mechanical bull - my two missions for the week.  Also didn't get green plaid, or any plaid.  Did get body painted though...

-x-x-x-x-x-

...my missions aren't failures just yet.  This place has a crazy hold on me, like the island from Lost.  I am somehow magnetically drawn to it, and I have no control over it.  My flight is boarding right now, & I am not on it.  I've always wanted to be That Guy who gives up their flight for cash & prizes & free flights.  By giving this up I get a free roundtrip through Spirit to anywhere they fly, meal vouchers, & transportation to Miami, where I fly out later tonight.  (Little do they know is if I have bought a ticket on the overbooked flight, I am never there.)

How many flights have I missed so far?  The answer is 4.  In two weeks.  I am 20ft away from where I fell asleep 13 days ago.

A tally of the things I lost in Key West:
-camera
-Tilly hat
-a blue bra
-bathing suit
-rechargable batteries
-SD card reader
-CKUW sweater
-sunglasses
+sunglasses
+a cool touch phone w camera

All of the most valuable things I had assessed I wouldn't want to lose when I was in Africa - I have lost already.  My hat, notebook & camera.  My hat is with a friend & is ready to get shipped out at any time.  That & I have Damon on the trail for my camera, which should have GPS hooked into it.  I mean, really.  And I don't need my camera accessories if I don't have it.  Now, my most valuable piece is this computer.  I have used it so many times.  This post is so long, can you tell I've been here all morning?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leftover Clean

Boca Raton, Florida

No updates just yet.  Just a quick reminder that I am alive.  Fantasy Fest could have easily killed me, but instead it turned us into some sort of savages every night.  Last night was insane & I am asking myself questions about it & feeling the results.  I am bow legged & my legs are scratched & bruised up.  Man...

Saying goodbye is the worst.  It's never easy, but it's getting better.  Mike, my rideshare from St Petersburg laughs & says "After just a week, right?"  Makes sense, but he doesn't get it.  It's easy to fall into it.  These guys are my brothers.  We'll keep in touch, and maybe meet again someday.

This isn't the last time I will write that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Crew.

Let me introduce the cast of characters for my next act.







Damon & I met up in Ft Lauderdale.  He was setting up shop there from Cape Cod, Mass to do some seasonal work on a fishing boat.  Together, we came down to the Keys.  He's gotten uper lucky with meeting people & finding a job out here, including an ESPN fishing captain who said he'll give him work.  Plus he never wants to leave.  Today he's on a charter boat for 10 hours with the owner of world-class restaurant Dante's.  His boat back home caught a 920lb tuna last week & sold it for 21,000$.  His phone has an issue with calling my phone, so he occasionally gets his mom to call me & leave a message with me.  He's been travelling around awhile, but always ends up home at Martha's Vineyard in the summer.  His introduction to CSing was though his ex-gf at the Collective in Alaska.  He spent all summer out there & is in love with it.  He keeps mementos in his car of someone who died in his arms.  He has Honesty written in white ink on his right wrist and looks at it everyday.  Him & I went to Haulover Beach the second day we met, and haven't really been the same since.  He's been an animal every night - really coming out of his shell.  It goes like this:  He'll go wild at night with costumes & general nonsense & proclaim that this is the best night of his life.  He will sleep about 1 1/2-2 hours, then be awake & unable to sleep.  The next day he will complain about feeling like shit all day & being super tired, sometimes using it as an excuse to get out of doing things.  He will be determined to take it easy that night, cause he needs rest & probably needs to do something work related the next day.  By the time he hits the street he realizes this is impossible & says "Tonight's gonna be a fun night".  Repeat for 7 days.
Bryan says this time next year, he will be an entirely different person.  True story.







Bryan is "the van guy".  A super cool, laid back sort of guy, with a killer sense of humour & sense of everything really.  His son Domenique named the van Vanny.  He was in town for kicks, with his hitchhiker Jeff.  He's got cups taped to the outside of the van marked "Homeless veterans' fund".  The joke is that that's him.  He had a couple weeks leave from the Air Force Reserves, but is heading back up to Gainesville via Georgia to do that.  It is because of his hookups you might see people running around in fatigues, or flak jackets, or a military issue helmet....sometimes with little else on.  There's no hurry with him, and everything is Nice or Cool.  He's got minigames for everything, including people watching & scavenger hunting at night.  Bryan left yesterday with Damon's phone & my hat in the van.  He's bummed out by Northern Florida so far - everything is a downer after Fantasy Fest, especially when you leave early.  He drew a picture of me on the roof of the van & gave me some photography tips.  He calls to check in once & awhile, to make sure we're in no hurry & that we're having fun.







I adopted Cameron one night in the rain.  He walked out of Walgreens at 4:30am with this bewildered/completely lost sort of look on him.  I invited him to come over & learn how to make roses out of palm tree leaves with the homeless guys I was chatting to.  He's from Wasilla Alaska, which leads to some great conversations.  There are so many things he's surprised Canada has, like vines & turtles, that they don't have in Alaska.  He's been here 5-6 months working with the Coast Guard.  His job is to sit in a room with no windows all night & make sure no ships are sinking.  There's a guy named Roger on every boat.  This guy pays huge attention to detail, doesn't show that he's drunk easily, and is super witty.  He administers DUI tests on Damon when he says he's okay to drive.  You can handly touch him because he is so ticklish.  He is a cat person & I may have convinced him to come to the Garden of Eden bar with me.  He unintentionally gives me tips for self-defense.  His goal for this week is to get me to say Take off ya hosers in casual conversation.
"Wait, what do you call people you don't like in Canada?"
"Assholes."
We met innocently enough after I lost a bet about which state Sault Ste Marie is in.  (He has lived there while I've driven through twice this summer.)  Now we have a race to see who will make it to Australia first.




Paul is a very cool guy, who is engaged in a social experiment.  He is a street performer, with a car & a place to stay.  He's wandering around on crutches due to a broken heel from falling off a wall.  (Who hasn't done that?!)  Him & I have fun times off the strip, more rooted to reality.  We both love live music, and Paul is a great guitarist.  He has often taken my request to play Bob by NOFX, Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen, or Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts by Less Than Jake.  I've promised to send him some new Propagandhi, and he believes Canada's the place to be.  One day we will meet in Winnipeg I have a feeling.  We sing "Will he ever walk the line" from Bob while Alaska does tests on Homeboy (Bryan's nicknames).  Last night he played his first gig in awhile & just jammed with all these guys playing bluegrass tunes at a restaurant, using a ukelele as a mandolin.  He knows the best shows for the night & wants to create a basement scene here - despite there being no basements.



I don't know much about new girl Wendy, except that she arrived yesterday with a rideshare who kinda gave her bad vibes.  She dressed as a mermaid yesterday.  She is smokin hot & is from Clearwater FL.  She is an engineer with the railways.  Seeing her face last night was hilarious.  She had no idea what it'd be like, but she is ready I think.

I am the technologically savvy of the group, since Damon can't upload pictures to Facebook & Cameron struggles to turn on his computer at work but has figured out how to use my camera, which is more like reverse evolution.  Damon & Cameron have to do pushups whenever they say "I know, right?" & I have to do pushups whenever I say In Theory.  I  am "that girl" - the one that hangs out with all the guys.  These guys follow my humour & add to it.  In whole or in part, these are the guys that help me to close down this town every night this week - during the biggest party of the country right now.

I will go on to describe some of my favourite moments of the week so far.  But not now.  I'm going to run to catch the sunset!







Monday, October 25, 2010

Change of plans...again...

Key West, Florida



Friday night was the Full Moon party in Islamorada.  So much fun.  I was feeling anxious heading in, but it was non-stop & pretty unbelievable.  All night on the beach dancing.  Non-stop.  The best cover band I've probably ever seen, marching band, fireworks, then back to the band!  They played seemlessly, one song to the next.  They played a Michael Jackson set even!  Great night down by the water.  Back to Xochi's couch at night.

Saturday we hit the road late, but it was a great drive through the Keys.  Island in the Sun by Weezer was the best.  When we got to Key West we discovered we were staying in a 6 million dollar house.  Holy shit.  2 waterfalls in the pool.  We were busting, it was completely outrageous!  Biked all day.  There was another surfer, a first timer (Jesse) who came with us to check out Suenalo at the Green Parrot.  They are a killer Miami funk band.  You can never have too much funk!  damon was 'mad excited' because he met this super famous fishing captain from ESPN who might have a job lined up for him.  Swimming when we got home!!!  Under the rainbow lights.  Swimming like a dolphin.  8.5 feet at its deepest, means you can dive through the waterfalls.  Soft chlorine.

Last night was the craziest.  We've been meeting all sorts of people, tons of really nice people.  Michael, this pedicab driver, is a super nice guy.  We have great discussions & I've been seeing him all over town.  There's this dude Bryan with this van...  He's been getting people to write all over it.  I crashed a zombie party at some point.  I doubled up on a bike for the first time, by going with Bryan down to see the sunset.  !!!  Fed (got attacked by) pigeons in Mallory Square with Damon.  Went on a scavenger hunt with those guys to find all the stuff we left all oven the city - two pillows in the street, B's camera on a fence, my magnet on a stop sign, B's hat on a statue, another hat was placed in the basket of a bike that was zooming by...  We spent the rest of the night - literally until after most of the bars were empty - on top of the van on Duval street talking to people, high fiving people, learning Serbian from the many Serbian pedicab drivers.  It was my goal to get as many pedicab drivers as I could.  People tagged my legs & back...the bottoms of my feet.  I'd walk down the street and know every single person!  We even met some of the people we had been meaning to call on Couchsurfing!  A Danish guy, who was chilling with us on the roof, & 5 Croats.  It was unreal.

This morning, we had to leave our CSer's house early, so we parked by Bryan's graffiti van & napped.  At some point while we were sleeping someone came over & said "You're that van that had that girl on it last night."  I wasn't doing anything but being friendly, loud & taking people's pictures - honest!  This place is totally going to my head!!!  Even though I know the star of the show is the van.  She deserves the love.

Everyone here is from somewhere else.  The joke is that it sucks you in & you never leave.  I am getting that vibe.  I was just convinced by a couple people to stick around for the week.  One was Michael.  He's been here a couple months, and says he's never been here for the festival, but the night before was simply a taste of what's to come.  It's just heating up.  It was so alive & it was Sunday night!!  The other was a guy who had just stepped off a cruise ship & happened to sit beside me.  He was so stoked about this place - nothing like anywhere he's ever been before, and he is well travelled.  70,000 people are expected for the parade Saturday, and people have been talking about this since I arrived in Florida.....a week ago.

They are both great options, to leave or to stay.  If I go there will be trouble, but if I stay there will be double.  I hate feeling indecisive, so I flipped a coin.

Tomorrow Ima spend some time & get you guys pictures of some sort.  If you wanna chat, let's arrange something!  You need Skype though.

Trying to keep up, I'll have more to talk about soon!