For two months now I have been wandering listlessly through the tight and ethereal connections of the internet. Small, bright fissions popped all around me and giant loads of information slid over my skin and out my fingertips. Blog posts appeared on the website through a seamless stream from my brain as all physical parts of me became digital…
Or at least that’s what I wish had happened, but instead I have been lounging about in a world without internet. Firstly, I had internet but no computer. Then I had a computer but no ability to connect to the internet. And finally I had a computer with the ability to connect to the internet but I hadn’t paid the bill yet so I was blocked from the internet and getting sweet, sweet updates out to you my readers. But now, I am here. Sitting alone in my girlfriend’s apartment and writing a post.
You may have noticed some strange words in that last paragraph. Bill, computer, girlfriend. These are the things a civilized man has in a civilized world, and while I may not exactly be civilized, I am certainly in a civilized world. Through a long chain of events that I have not yet written about on the blog (and probably won’t because despite the history of this blog, I want to keep it current), I am living in Guadalajara.
It all goes back to La Paz. Doodle a doo, doodle a doo, doodle a doo. While searching for couchsurfing contacts to stay with for a night before heading out on a ferry so I could rush to Guadalajara for a bike polo tournament I came across a familiar wild-haired face. Apparently, an old friend of mine from the co-ops in Eugene was living on a boat in the harbor of La Paz. Using the dense network of hippies I used to live with I uncovered his phone number and met up with him. After a few beers and reminiscings of Eugene while looking at La Paz’s harbor lights bouncing in the waves we inflated his welting dinghy and rowed over to a neighboring boat, Karaka. The boat was a wild mess of accordions, books and food scraps handled by an international crew of a Frenchman, a Spaniard, Australian ladies, and Cat – mewing doorbell/cat that was always jonesin’ for a stroke. The rest of the night was dancing and laughing, and jamming and drinking before finally collapsing on beds rocked gently by the waves. It was so much fun I decided the ferry ticket was too expensive, informed my team I couldn’t make it for the tournament and awoke the next morning to place a posting asking for a ride across the Sea of Cortez. It took me a week to find a boat in the meantime I got to enjoy Carnival and watch fireworks burn and spin madly upon an effigy of the former Governor of Baja California Sur before exploding into thousands of pieces.
Life on the boat was grand. Frayed Knot is a 43′ catamaran captained by the courageous and laid-back Texan chimney that is Evan. A man tanned by life at sea, Evan navigates the waters with his long-tongued dog, Oscar, and malfunctioning auto-pilot. We were accompanied by Chi Guevara, another bicycle tourist hailing for the red lands of China. He flew to New York with bike as baggage and using only a compass and a road, found his way South to La Paz. A wild and smiliing sort, he is on a quest to learn how to start a revolution in the tradition of Che Guevara and is off to a good start after firing many firearms while drunk in the admirable state of Tennessee. Through the span of two weeks we spent our days watching movies about teenage sexual crises, playing SNES games, fishing, breaking fishing lines, reading, tearing sails, sewing, eating fried rice, and snorkelling. We pulled into a La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in a bedraggled boat, headed to shack to buy some mota, ate tacos and said our goodbyes. Evan is in Costa Rica nursing a sick boat, Oscar has fallen overboard and most likely been gobbled by a shark and Chi is driving carloads of beautiful women in a white BMW through the streets of Guadalajara.
On separate days Chi and I tuned our bikes and departed. He for Manzanillo, I for Guadalajara. After being off saddle for about a month I found pedaling over the mountain range outside Puerto Vallarta very difficult. But I didn’t have to struggle for long before stopping in La Estancia at a tequila distillery and sampling some delightful tequila and my new favorite Mexican beverage, Raicilla. A type of tequila moonshine made from the lechuguilla cactus. Mm, mm, burnin’! In the town I asked for a good place to camp and was offered a spot with some construction workers from Tecoman, Colima. They were two brothers, their nephew, and their friend. Pichon, Chachies Bombo, Willy, and Gerardo, respectively. I learned a lot from those guys, how to build roofs from palm, how to cook delicious breakfasts and how to work. The trick is to wake up before the sun and after a good meal and coffee head out to the worksite. Then, you work for about 2-3 hours and take a 1-2 beer break. Then you work for another hour before stopping for lunch and a caguama (a forty of Corona). Then you work for another 2-3 hours before ending for the day with more caguamas and tequila. Dinner doesn’t seem to be important.
I also learned puto, pito, chinga tu madre, a la ver gatos no hay rattones, culo, a love for Banda music, me pico me pico en la nalgite me pico camaron. They paid me and took me to their town of Tecoman which is a killer spot for surfing. I sampled many foods with them, met their 11 other brothers and sisters and watched a backyard cockfight. I had been promised a week-long excursion with them which actually stretched across three weeks. I became their pet. When they said rollover, I brought a plank of palm. When they said speak, I stumbled through dirty words. When they ate I looked at them hoping I was to get some. When they drank, I drank. It was great fun, but it’s hard to have a master after being masterless for so long and so after a job in San Miguel de Cuyutlan, I said goodbye and biked the 12 km more to find myself in Guadalajara.
A month and a half behind my scheduled arrival I finally met Raul and played polo with Mexico’s finest. After enjoying parties, bike rides to Luchas, and Via Recreactiva I decided Guadalajara was to be my home. So I made a plan. 1 – Get a place to live. 2 – Get a job. 3 – Buy a polo bike. 4 – Get a girlfriend. And I’m happy to say I have done all of those things in exactly that order. Raul’s girlfriend, Myrna, has moved to Puebla for school so I have appropriated her rent. I have job teaching English about 25 hours a week to various businesses in the city. I got a kickass Nishiki mountain bike, very similar to the one I’m touring on for $650 pesos (less than 65 bucks). And after giving her a ride on my bicycle and bouncing her off to bruises and scrapes at a speed bump, I have won the heart of a beautiful Spaniard named Carla.
Now all there is to do is learn Spanish and decide when the adventure will resume. Do I leave immediately after my 6-month agreement with my job? Nothing would make me happier, working sucks. Do I wait to time a Dia de los Muertos experience in Oaxaca? How do I factor in the rain for a trip down and up Central America? Am I going into South America? For now it doesn’t matter because I am happy here. I haven’t quite started saving money yet, but that too will come and fuel an even grander trip. The blog is going to change temporarily into news and thoughts about the bike culture of Guadalajara. I don’t think I’ll do much recapping. You’ll have to wait for the book, whenever that comes out. So toodles amigos. Stay tuned and if you want to hang out in Mexico with a real Mexican, send me a line!