Totally irrelevant but I just heard of the long-overdue death of that delusional, narcissistic, lying prick Sri Satya Sai “Bend Over Boy” Baba, in India at the age of 84. About 50 million people will be upset. I say grow up and start using your brains and you can save yourselves and others a lot of trouble. Otherwise I’m sure you’ll find someone else to milk you.
And I would like to add HOORAY!
Often I eat breakfast with little Ami from next door staring at me with her huge and lovely brown eyes. Three years old, she has taken a long time to get used to this strange gringo who can’t talk properly. I inquire of her what she is going to do today, she says she doesn’t know, so I ask:
Are you going to tell jokes to the President of Mexico?
Are you going to climb onto an elephant and go for a walk down the beach?
Are you going to use expensive chemicals to make a bucket of diamonds?
Are you going to use a long snake to tie a lancha to a tree?
Are you going to speak french to a frog?
Are you going to open the stomach of a cow because it ate too much grass and is sick?
Are you going to throw a fish at the Queen of England?
She squirms about and answers no to each question. It is a strain to think of new ones each day. One day I am going to guess right.
I may be getting a reputation for nonsense. I call many people “Doctor” here. This is because of chiropractors: I figure if they can call themselves doctors then anybody can. Really it is a disgrace. I declare that only doctors may eat at the Restaurante Reyna (Reyna’s kitchen) although in exceptional circumstances nurses may eat there if accompanied by a doctor. I myself have many doctorates: gutting fish, laundry-in-a-bucket, tick removal, fruit appreciation and so on. These folks have a great sense of humor and are quick to award themselves doctorates of their own, a practice of which I approve.
Further nonsense in which I delight consists of taking up arbitrary and random religious objections to things, a result of learning from the Evangelists that “dancing comes from the devil”. If offered a naranja for example, I might say “No thank you, oranges are the fruit of the devil”. Tomato ketchup I similarly condemn… in this case I think it may really be the sauce of the devil. I also enjoy telling complete lies and gross exaggerations about Los Estados Unidos. “In the USA” I might say, “Buses only drive backwards and criminals are punished by being forced to eat pastries until they explode”. Reyna calls me a liar, I tell her she makes some of the best food in the world, and that’s the truth.
I only go and haul nets about once a week now; it takes up too much time. I am keen to get to work in the morning, or these days maybe to go sailing, but between hauling nets and eating breakfast it is often 11 or beyond before I can get to it despite starting at 6am with the inevitable lancha-pushing. I am still building things for the boat: a seat, spar extensions, vinyl drybags, changes to the sails, a little tent for nights on the platform. I have to look after my shack, sweep sand, fix the Toyota and clean the salt off it, sew my dying clothes and repair chainsaws, sewing machines, motorcycles and pumps for the village. I draw the line at cars. In between all this there is a lounging when possible, preferably in the company of villagers under a shady palapa whilst swinging in a hammock in the sea breeze slurping on a bit of watermelon. I do not spend enough time in this way sadly.
We are all a bit sick of watermelons. May the harvest season end soon and return next year.
I may have mentioned that I have great trouble finding sailing partners… this puzzled me for a while until I asked the villagers why they wouldn’t come and they frankly said, frequently, “Because I am afraid”. I am amazed. These are fishermen and most can swim, and fishing is no employment for pussies. Some of the kids will come but getting parents’ permission can be a hassle. Not that anyone seems to think that necessary, it is quite common to see young boys carrying around horribly sharp machetes and the attitude is not uncaring but the lads are to learn by experience and getting maimed is a lesson they don’t forget. However I would rather have the parents’ blessing but cannot trust the kids to go get it and report to me honestly – so often here people give you the answer they think you want to hear. But few of the adults will come and then only when the sea is calm and the wind very light. Mexicans, in my experience, are afraid of the sea, snakes, spiders, bees, sharks, moths, the police, bruhas (witches), darkness, bus drivers, the devil, and sailing. They are not afraid of hard work and getting up at 4am, both of which give me the absolute willies.
Some local Medical advice.
If you value good pee, don’t walk on hot sand, for it will give you mal de orino, and who wants that?
The Secret Village of Certain Death.
This title is of course another one of my gross exaggerations, but nonetheless there is some mystery here.
When Crumpetina came to visit we sailed south along the cliffs looking for the next village along, Salinas. We saw it about 5km past the village of Barrancas but did not land and returned to Playa Zapote. However, recently I looked at my GPS and saw that Salinas is more like 15km past Barrancas. So what was the village we saw? I asked several people, all said no, there is no other settlement of any kind between Barrancas and Salinas. I said I’d sail back for another look. At this point it was revealed that there was a sort of village, kind of a private compound as I understand it, with its own helicopter and a private road leading in with armed guards watching over it. It is owned by very rich and unpleasant people thought to be narcolistas, drug runners of the worst kind, and evil befalls anyone foolish enough to go there. I have never heard a word about this place in all my time here, I wonder if nobody thought of it when I asked, or if they knew what we had seen and said nothing. If so, to protect me or to protect themselves?
My plan to go back there is shelved for the time being.
Oh so Holy.
The dreaded Semana Santa, Holy Week, commemorating a man who came back to life three days after he died, easily believable, happens all the time, has arrived. It is dreaded because a torrent of Mexican tourists arrive to despoil the beach. This is where one can come to despise Mexicans; for the complete lack of social conscience shown by so many. Throw your garbage all over the beach, drive like a maniac up and down the sand. Drive with your high beams always on. Drive with no headlights at all. Run red lights, right in front of police cars if you like. If you are a policeman, do nothing about it. Do NOT signal. Force your music upon anybody and everybody. Chow down on the last of that legally-protected species. Take any bribe you can get, offer any bribe that will help. Never stand on principle. Never speak out for what is right. Accept the unacceptable, because that takes no cahones. Never fight for your rights or for those of others. Let obvious scumbags run the show, even vote for them because they gave you a baseball cap, you cretin. Really, really, shove your disgusting moneyed ego in the faces of the poor. Go to a cockfight. Steal a dog. Block an entire lane of traffic because you want to make a turn but are in the wrong lane, and don’t signal even here. Leave pieces of wood with nails sticking out lying around, or broken glass on the beach. Sell women. Use them like chattel, even if you are a woman. Build to steal the light and the view and the breeze from your neighbors. Knock down somebody or their motorcycle, or both, then drive away. Burn your garbage if you haven’t left it all over the beach or just thrown it out of the window. Roll in diamonds and pay people peanuts. Don’t fix your broken muffler, in fact buy a big fat stainless one to increase the noise of your assmobile. Install your air-conditioner so it drips water on the people on the sidewalk below. Use the beach or a public road as a construction site. Park on the sidewalk, a pedestrian crossing, a bus stop, right in the middle of the road if you like. Steal. Endanger others. Pollute. Line-jump. Lie.
Somebody said “Feed man first, then ask of him virtue”. Well most seem well fed here, though admittedly poor. I despair for Mexico. Rarely have I met people so personable, so pleasant, but things are going downhill so quickly here as the moral climate rains and sociopaths run amock; without enforced rules and personal virtue the situation spirals towards “Every man for himself”. Mexicans despise their government and police but need them desperately to restore order and social justice, but it cannot be done for the people by the people without a will to behave well and follow valid rules on the part of the majority, and moral corruption is absolute in Mexico, it seems to pervade almost everyone. The problem for most Mexicans is not the narcolistas, it is not even the economy, it is the assholes next door. And in turn, they are the assholes next door.
And there is this great falseness, a for a person who is nice to those he must look in the eye but grotesquely inconsiderate to everyone else is not a nice person at all. Even dyed-in-the-wool psychopaths are usually perfectly pleasant towards those in their social circle, for they may have voids where their consciences should be but are still human and need the approval of their social circle. (In fact many psychopaths/sociopaths are very charming precisely because of their intense narcissism and need for the adulation of others. Sound like anyone you know?)
Oh, you think I exaggerate. Well, mark my words. It is true I am generalizing, and it is also true that Mexicans are no worse inside than anyone else, in fact I think very highly of many. It is just that in such an atmosphere of disorder, without fear of retribution the assholes and the oblivious can really get up a person’s nose. They do mine, and it is hard not to write about it.
As Gringo Jack says, the first step towards solving a problem is talking about the fact that there is a problem.
Yes, Holy Week, when we pretend to love Jesus whilst not even trying to emulate him. (Not that I believe he existed, I don’t). Jesus, that guy, he would have roared up and down a crowded beach on a quad, or in a pickup booming 120 decibels. He’d have left all his trash. It’s unbelievable, the trash. I helped put up some signs requesting they take their garbage with them but it will make no dent. I’ve bagged a bunch but it is hopeless. I am a toilet attendant for the same folks who throw it because they come to me asking nicely to use my bathroom and I cannot say no. It is a little-known fact that Mexicans poo just like people of other nations, sometimes more.
[A few days later: The worst of Holy Week is now gone. I gave a lot of people free rides, the boat has become celebrated and famous and is in a thousand holiday pictures, many with women and kids sitting aboard on the beach. I was approached by an old lady who asked me in all seriousness “How do you play the music?” Though I am not completely immune to the pleasures of so much attention and praise I got tired of it all and went alone to sea, far out from the cliffs to the south where the sea is unprotected by reefs and the swells seem enormous, huge masses of water heaving around with me flying from their crests, just wonderful. I get a little queasy at times, especially if the boat stops moving forwards; one reason I launch in such conditions is that I wish to overcome this handicap. Still the boat performs fabulously, without much wear and tear. I have not capsized in almost a month and am now switched-on to the extent that I can go out alone in a strong wind carrying the largest sail and keep everything under control.
To everybody’s amazement the anti-litter signs did seem to have some effect. A wave of unreality sweeps over us. There is still much to clean up. We are all hoping for a really high tide and a strong current.)
To my surprise the villagers report that Changa can see me returning from at least 2km out, and watches me intently until I hit the beach whereupon she goes back to sleep under a lancha. She is pregnant and weird and I must woo her with the best food I can find to keep her around, bless her
When they are not lying about under boats the dogs are stealing my socks one by one when they fall from the line. The footwear situation is becoming critical, as it is with the rest of my clothes.
I drill my drinking coconuts nowadays, it is quicker than all that machete work. The locals are fascinated by the way I use a drill to drive screws. I in turn can’t figure out how they manage to drive nails into concrete. Old Raimundo thinks I shouldn’t sail alone but he is a very cautious fellow which may be how he got to be Old Raimundo. I hobble on my thorn-spiked bare feet over to Gringo Jack’s for coffee in the morning, I can’t help it. Hot nights in my sandy, anty bed take a long time to pass, then just as I finally pass out it is time to push lanchas again. I sweep sand all day but there is always more, I should just accept, but no, no, I must fight on. . The cat will blow any day now, My well went stinky but about a thousand hauled buckets cleaned it out. An iguana keeps falling in and has to be rescued, four times now, when will it learn? I keep building a revenge fire over the stump upon which I twice wrecked my car but it is practically fireproof and will not die. The bassholes pass by and if I am on the sand I make sure to let them know that I believe they have tiny penises, and they prove me right by never stopping to answer my insults. I sew and saw and glue and varnish. Sometimes I compose odes to my ever-damp and decomposing towel. I had a sick iguana in the house for a while but he croaked, not in a good way. My 45th birthday came and went, oh fuck I am nearly dead.
It is, though, kind of easy being me. I am very happy here and it will break my heart to leave. It is starting to look like I will leave sometime after the end of the season of the dreaded norte gales May 3rd. I am making no commitments as to which direction I shall go, or whether by road or sea.