i met S in los angeles on my flight back to north america. he was tanned and smiling but his desperation was almost visible. i could see him now. why does a 40 year old want to be with a 20 year old? it's so they can be in control. feel powerful. the older a man becomes the more glaring this defect may appear. i guess nepal had run its course for him. he was home. well actually he was living out of his ford areostar van that he had made into a camper with a huge sheet of plywood across the folded down back seats. trying to appear aloof and confident i avoided personal matter's and gave him the general stories of my shit laden adventures abroad including beaches and bbq's in lieu of cocaine and abortions. yes yes i was worldly now...i so hoped he could see that.
we drove to the edge of the city smog...emissions of greed and lust clouding the skyline in the rearview mirror. east into arizona. death valley. the grand canyon. sedona. landing after a failed border crossing in joshua tree to climb. i was much more unsure of him now. resentment came out in sudden angry bursts. i was mad at myself for throwing in the towel to come home to a guy, who admittedly wasn't god anymore. to avoid this admission actually becoming a reality i chose denial mainly because it is a very versatile defence, it can be applied liberally to almost any situation. thus during our climbing campout i engaged in long elaborate imaginings of how he just needed a break and how he had come to his senses. i let S slowly creep back inside my heart despite the fact there wasn't much left between us except familiarity. i hadn't exactly been waiting by the phone.
we crossed through Heroica Nogales and headed down the long gorgeous west coast of Mexico. beautiful images painted on rock cliffs of mothers and virgins neither of whom i could relate too. we drove for days finally stopping in Bucerius to unpack the van and settle into a tiny one room apartment. S worked for a man D who rented there with his wife L every year. we were glad to have more localized contacts. i had met D in canada multiple times rafting before with S, his wife however hated me instantaneously. years later i crossed paths with her going through security at the calgary airport. she was one of the baggage inspectors and i thought she'd flag me for sure but i avoided her enough that i went through another line undetected. she was older than her husband, i would guess 45. she had very short spiky grey hair and collected 'bats'. she wore knee length everything and made really snippy remarks. at the time i was 20, thin, tanned and reckless usually scamtily clad in some bikini inspired outfit with flowy scarves and big sunglasses. i would have hated me too. D was a goof and liked to play around which suited S and me but not her. i don't think she appreciated it.
we drove one night down long dark dirt roads to a turtle farm owned by a strange acid eating old hippy C. while waiting for the eggs to hatch we drank wine and smoked cheap ciggarett'es on the back deck of his beach house. early into the morning hours we stumbled out to the sand in celebration scooping the tiny turtles up and carrying them safely out to the sea. they made it. released. on the way home we were stopped by 3 men with machine guns in small truck on the little road leading out of the compound. D/L spoke spanish and L seeing it the proper opportunity to mouth off did exactly that. D trying to calm the man down. the man becoming increasingly agitated yelling...why are you out so late? where are you going? do you have drugs? are you selling drugs? the voices growing angrier and finally shouting the man went to open the side door. i looked out at one of the men standing beside the vehicle and he grinned at me with dark eyes, flipped his tongue up and down and fired his gun into the sky. the other men yelled out and i closed my eyes. suddenly everything went silent. inside our van we had D's two big black rotweiler's which had started to bark and growl. D explained they were 'peligroso' in spanish meaning very dangerous. the man turned to his friends spoke a few words, smiled and waved us through. i was so relieved. i don't know what would have happened if we didn't have the dogs.
for the most part we walked up and down beautiful beaches, ate at local cantina's, wandered outdoor gift shops. long winding cobblestone alleys dusty and hot. chica hey chica. come here pretty lady. the men would whisper from doorways. the flowers everywhere like vines beautiful deep purple. one afternoon we took a small boat to the yet to be discovered island cove called Yelapa. google image it. it is the the most beautiful place on earth. people napping on the open decks of their catamaran boats. local women carrying lemon/lime pies on their heads to sell on the beach. donkeys wandering freely. paraglider's swooping down through the clear cloudless blue sky from the cliffs above. a village with no electricity. deep lush jungle behind the small beach businesses. paradise.
back in Bucerius our building was alive. an old man who frequently had young prostitute's over lived beside us. out of my small dirty kitchen window i could see into his living room where they would show him their goods before money was passed and they went to the back room. it entertained me for hours spying on him. upstairs a drug dealer we called senior toucan because of his long nose. his friend a police officer. always helping one another. a man downstairs who beat his wife/children every night. the cries and the screams and then the slamming door, him leaving to the bar. i sat in the lower darkened courtyard amongst the coconut tree's in the deep green grass listening to mexico at night. beautiful dirty soul mexico. a place where you are either saved or soiled. wealth and poverty. dead animals in the streets. dogs wandering everywhere, starving and limbless. old trucks and dusty dirty roads and orchards. elaborately decorated graveyards. 2 months later we loaded the van and started the long drive back to canada. arguing and angry. mexico hadn't saved us and i suspected not much could.