Thursday, November 23, 2006

Another Night of the Iguana

Grab a drink. This´ll be a long one.

I knew it was going to be an interesting dynamic when we started putting together this villa. It was a pretty diverse group of people, but everyone was cool (I thought), and I was looking forward to seeing how the group came together.

It didn´t. Everyone isn´t even here yet and things have exploded. Last night we had our Night of the Iguana, only without the method acting and clever dialogue. It was ugly.

I´m doing alright now. Ron and I woke up early, took a bus to Boca de Tomatlan, and hiked from there along the coast to Las Animas. It was a beautiful hike - we passed through one fishing village, skirted some remote settlements, crossed secluded and empty beaches, and then entered into some kind of enchanted fairy forest. It started with the butterflies - there were dozens of varieties flitting about us constantly, in colors and designs I´ve never seen further north. There was a surreal lace-winged insect that seemed more CGI than real - it´s wings beat much too, as if it was willingly defying the laws of physics. It approached us, scanned each of our faces, then flitted off.

And then the monsters charged. I heard shuffling in the woods and sensed some rapid movement. I motionned Ron to slow down, and we crouched low to see what was out there. I saw a dark shape leap over a rock and disappear into the underbrush. For a second my only thought was: jaguar. We´re dead. Then two more things jumped over the rocks and started descending the ravine in front of us. They were big and black, with bear-like snouts, largeoon-like tails, and squat wolverine like bodies. I would´ve actually thought that they were wolverines if we were any further north.

So yeah, I was scared. They seemed to be charging straight at us. One leapt into a tree in front of us, I snapped a picture and then decided that I´d rather have a weapon in my hand. Then they saw us. There was a face off for a few seconds, and then off they went. I laughed at myself for being so scared of what was probably a gently herbivore, but later we were told that they were tejan (I think), and muy malo. They attack, and are very dangerous.

We ended the hike at a bay with palapas set up on the beach. We had a couple beers (a michilara - with lime juice, ice, and salt), and I ordered a plate of sea snail empenadas. It was a great day, and just what we both needed after the night before.

I was getting some major diva behavior from Hollis from the moment we got off the boat Tuesday, and it continued to escalate throughout the day. Things were getting tense, and Ron gamely tried to mediate over dinner. He gave it a good shot. The problem was, we were vaguely talking about ´coming together as a household´and ´resolving the tensions at the table´without really naming what the source of the tension was. Meanwhile, Rogelio was drunk off his ass and passed out by the pool & Hollis was refusing to speak to anyone, preferring instead to glower and make faces. Best I could figure was we were fifteen minutes late for dinner. I wasn't about to take it from someone who was 2 1/2 hours late for our hike (which, as a result, never happened).

So I finally called him out. He´s in training to be a Chelsea Boy, and is following a rigid regime to bulk up and trim down. He´s got a set schedule on when to hit the gym and when to run and when to drink each of the dozen powders he brought with him, and enough diet rules to drive a chef crazy. My trip was beginning to revolve around his training regimen, and he would get bitchy if anything got in his way. And we had all been walking on eggshells around him, and I just couldn't do it anymore.

I had enough tequila in me that I was more blunt than smooth. For the record, it takes four copas of añejo. And I told him, You´re the source of the tension. You are the one we are talking about. On my part: I´m tired of everything being all about Hollis and what Hollis wants. This is a group. The other guys at the table backed me up. On his part: You all are sluts and ... and ... and tequla drinkers! I was a good boy, and didn´t point out the obvious fact that it was quite normal to drink tequila in México, nor that they were mighty fine tequilas at that.

Things went downhill from there anyway, and then went straight from the bottom of the hill and on into the gutter when G. woke up from his coma and joined the fray. The boy was a mess, all ooh girl what did you say? and ooh girl you was wrong you was so wrong and he´d segué from that to dropping his pants and asking who was going to fuck his freshly naired ass. Almodovar couldn´t have scripted a stranger scene.

I couldn´t get anyone to go out dancing with me after all that - Alastair and Sean are still safely in Guadalajara.

I woke up this morning and Hollis had packed most of his things and moved out. He left his toiletries and protein powder behind, so he couldn´t have gone far. Part of me wonders if he didn´t take a boat back to Yelapa. As we were leaving he told everyone not to be surprised if he came back. I almost wonder if he didn´t trigger the fight to force his hand.

My memories of Yelapa are always going to be bittersweet. It was far nicer than I thought it would be. But even while we were there I suspected that Hollis and I wouldn´t be travelling together again - I just didn´t realize that it was also the tail end of our friendship. And this is the tail end, because I keep the divas in my life at arm´s length.

I had found information on Yelapa while cruising the net and looking for a town to fill my Y Tu Mama También fantasies. Yelapa looked like the place - a remote indigenous fishing village on the Cabo Corriente. A handful of hippies had lived there since the early 1970´s, electricity had only come a few years ago, and the only access was by boat.

We compromised on spending two nights there - he wanted more time in Yelapa, I wanted more time in Guadalajara. In the end I was glad we spent the extra night in Yelapa. Although it´s officially in an indigenous area, people speak Spanish and don´t recall any tribal roots. Some people think that Yelapa was most likely settled by poor people who escaped to the remote areas during the hacienda days.

We stayed in a thatched roof palapa a few yards up from a small cove. The owner, Isabel, had moved out there thirty years ago. There are a small handful of Canadians and Yanks who moved down here over the past couple decades. I almost want to call them hippies, but they seem much more humble and down to earth than the arrogant space-cadet hippies I´m used to.

From Isabelas it was a fifteen minute walk along a dirt and stone path to the puebla. The path then wound in and around people´s houses until you came to the river. The village continued upriver, while if you crossed it there were a number of thatched huts set up along a large beach to cater to day trippers from Vallarta.

There are hundreds of places like this in the world - these gentle villages with one foot in the modern world and one in the old. I really enjoyed our time there. One day we rented horses and rode upriver in search of a waterfall. People offered to guide us, but we chose to head into the jungle solo. Somos caballeros, we told them. We´re cowboys. We can ride solo. Which in translation sounds like quite an exagerration, if not an outright lie. For me, all it meant was I´ve read Don Quijote twice, and I have a hat. For Hollis, it meant I had a pony when I was a boy, and I also have a hat.

Other yanks warned us that we´d get lost, but we did alright. It was a beautiful ride, and the falls were great.

When Ron and I got off the bus in Boca this morning a lot of the men from Yelapa were in town. They recognized me, and one gave us a lift across the river in his boat. It´s a good place, and I´m glad I have good memories of it. And so I really do hope Hollis is there right now. It´ll be better for him, and better for us.

Here´s one of the pics from our photo shoot at the falls. You look amazing, buddy. You´re training has paid off. Hope it was all worth the price.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DAMN, I look GOOD!
Mike, thanks for taking a great shot of me!

Oh, and one thing, (DJ, please insert here and crank up my theme song: I Will Survive!) I am NO longer a Chelsea Boy in training, I am now a FULL FLEDGE CHELSEA BOY! :-)

Wishing you well!