"There are places I'll remember,
all my life though some have changed,
some forever not for better,
some have gone and some remain"
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Remember when you got a favorite toy as a kid? Or when you became a little older and had ample funds at your disposal, you could go to the candy store and get all the candy you wanted. Or better yet, how about that time when the drinks were so delicious and the effect so pleasant that you figured that more would be better? Fairly soon that toy lost its charm, candy became tasteless and repulsive as your taste buds fatigued and quit under the onslaught of sugary treats. And sometimes the booze wins the battle.
Once at a party in the 70's, I had a little segmented worm from a bottle of cheap Mezcal. It was fun running around with it on my tongue, showing all the girls who screamed and turned away. It was a different matter when, for some unknown reason, half the bottle gone, I decided to bite the damn thing. It had been soaking in the mescal for quite a while and it had a super concentrated flavor of tequila/mescal/insect guts. It was an immediate emetic. As soon as the worm guts entered my mouth my insides did the same. I barely made it to the commode as my lower intestine tried to help my stomach better evacuate its contents. It wasn't a total loss because back then projectile vomiting was usually a big hit and the indicator of any real party.
I still don't like the flavor of tequila. Some stuff you just can't get over.
We have been here, in Playa del Carmen Mexico for 122 days. We have had three mini vacations to different parts of Mexico, two snorkel trips and 3 all-inclusive days with one more on the books. We have fixed the lights in the ceiling, shopped and found a sofa, love seat, Tommy Bahama beach chairs with coolers built into the back and a matching umbrella. We had the washer fixed once, the fridge took a shit and spoiled much of our food, twice. We have eaten food at carts on the street and carts in the dirt, at Italian, Chinese, Indian, American and of course Mexican restaurants. We have found and installed pieces of obscure hardware.
We toured ancient ruins with a guide who gladly shared the fact he was in the throes of a crisis of faith. We found broken hunks of Mayan pottery used to extract salt from the Caribbean hundreds of years ago. We have been hounded by timeshare salesman, red cross volunteers, Mayan ladies selling shawls on the street, plaintively rolling their eyes and begging us to buy. We've been tattooed, injected, inspected and Brazilian waxed smooth. We have been in pools, oceans, tidal pools and hot tubs. We have had guests come and go.
We have driven in cities, country, jungle and some horrible, smarmy dirt roads near the beach riddled with chuck holes and sour rain filled craters big enough to swallow the little red car.
We have stood in lines at immigration, customs, the DMV, Telmex, CFE, restaurants and supermarkets. The weather has been hot, cold, wet, dry and everything in between. We drank at bars, in pools, right on the street, at the beach, in cars and palapas and drank from buckets, green bottles, clear bottles, brown bottles, cans, paper cups, hand blown glasses, plastic cups, jello shots and Bubba Kegs. We have spoken English, Spanish, French, German, a little Mayan and even some Yiddish. We spent dollars, Pesos, Euros and charged stuff to get the air miles.
Last week a belligerent, middle aged Mexican man with gray roots, stood in our way, directly in front of the path of our car in Sam's parking lot. He was texting or something. He knew we were there but he didn't care. He was on vacation and he had a few bucks. We are foreigners after all. We can wait. As we entered the store he was directly in the isle. Again blocking my path, elbows extended, still fascinated with his phone like a teenage girl. I gave him a little bump with my shoulder and pinched his ass, hard. This cocky, little chubby, bastard was a foot and a half shorter and a hundred pounds lighter. Pat was following behind because this guy had obstructed the foot traffic down a single lane at the entrance to Sam's Club. She witness his reaction from only two feet away. She said he jumped a mile, sized me up and sheepishly moved to the side. Enough of the macho, bullfighter mentality for him.
Our downstairs neighbors are obnoxious boors. She woke us almost every day screeching Phylis Diller like nonsense syllables. Her normal voice is so backwoods Midwest that it is difficult for me to understand her on a good day. Everything is I, me or my with her. She was telling a story about her grandson getting stung by a bee at her house. It included a description of her wooden table and some history of the table, what she was wearing, which flowers she had planted and what she had for lunch.
Her husband is a total pussy. He is one of those guys who delights in telling you how it should have been done if you knew what you were doing, the best way to get somewhere after you get back or the proper way to repair an item soon after you fix it. These obnoxious people are almost directly beneath us. We shared a diagonally adjacent balcony corner. They, singlehandedly, almost prevented us from enjoying our winter. If not for the sunny dispositions of the base crew of owners here we would have withdrawn from condo society completely. The other "Nor tays" seemed to all agree about the monopolizing attitude of our private Phyllis Diller. They tolerated it publicly much better than we did.
But now, with a week to go. I have had enough. The town is beginning to separate itself into two sections. One a gleaming, modern resort, sparkling with all the amenities. The other has started to look like a medieval torture chamber. I miss cheesesteaks and the familiar taste of a Union Barrel Works carver sandwich paired with micro brew porter. I know that it will take some time for real, east coast English to return and this other language, rattling around in my brain like an insufficient, little donut spare tire loose in the trunk, to leave my conscious thought patterns. I am just beginning to understand some of the high speed stuff they speak only among the Spanish speakers and TV commercials. But the time for that has passed for this season. It's getting tiresome. I welcome the acrid smell of urine from the Philadelphia Airport Jetway.
Pat shut down three weeks ago, she has retreated from the chaos of Mexico and the invasive rantings of our neighbor to the comfort of CSI reruns and the American satellite TV coming from a homemade, Frankenstein looking dish mounted on the roof of Condo Tower C and her Kindle.
All indications are, it is time to go, to flee, to abandon this country for now. But unlike that mescal in the 70's the worm has decided to stay in the bottle. Those people downstairs will be in Florida next winter and not return in the foreseeable future. Mr and Ms obnoxious plan to lease out their condo to more normal people. We have a beautiful piece of art our friend created which we will treasure forever. So next year promises to hold new journeys, fresh adventures and more culinary delights and best of all, we look forward to the very pleasant, easy company of our friends here in Playa del Carmen. We are excited to get home to Pennsylvania and can't wait to return.