Monday, May 21, 2007

Beachfront Labyrinth

I hooked up with a guy named Miguel Salinas on my first night in Mazatlan. He invited me to crash at his pad for the duration of my stay. However long that may be. I moved in last night. He rented a small studio up in the hills but still close enough walking distance to downtown Mazatlan. It was a small studio with a large king size on the floor and some furniture - television, radio, small kitchen. The bathroom was shared by the other tenants - a biological horror; never can get used to these people wiping thier ass and throwing the paper onto the floor next to the toilet.
Miguel is a cashier at the local Gigante - a supermarket chain here in Mexico. A real sweet guy, we spent the evening and morning screwing and talking. He had to go to work so I went around exploring the town.
Before Miguel left for work, he taught me how to do laundry here. It is so old school it's insane. The rusted washing machine is in the backyard and you have to fill it with water and then drain it and then move the clothes into the spinner and then hang them to dry. It's a long process. but when you hang your white clothes up the sun bleaches them and they look so damn clean which is a plus.
Oh - last night, we went to the huge mall here called the Gran Plaza. It was not cool. Too American and most of the clothes were really crappy but still about 40 bucks American it really didn´t make sense especially considering the minimum wage is 5 bucks American PER DAY. I'm starting to realize why its so difficult for most of the people here to make a living.
Afterwards, we went to the beachfront bar Bora Bora because Miguel made friends with a bartender name Jesus so we got in for free. And I can see why Miguel picked this joint - crowded with American and Canadian exchange students. Gotta love his tastes. But, we drank and had a good time. I met this real cool cat from Japan and we talked about politics. With the Japanese guys invitation - his name was Hiro - we ended up at an apartment rented by some exchange students (all queer.) in the Golden Zone and played dominoes til about 4am. One of the exchange students keeps a set of domimoes in his backpack all the time which I thought was strange, but it definately turned out to be a fun time. We drank tequila and I made these characters my award winning, world famous martinis. Hiro got a little faded and started to put the make on me - Miguel said it was time to split. Silly queers.
But, I'm getting side tracked - I headed downtown. Which way do I go and where the heck am I going? Oh yeah, I want to go downtown. I think it’s thataway.
Walk through a pretty depressed area. Why do all the nieghborhoods here looked bombed out? No fear. This is just the way people live around here. Walk through town towards water. Gotta get my bearings. A little Mexican lady tells me to go thataway, so I walk. Pass by some little fisherman working on their boats. Smile and say, "Hola."
Up ahead I spot some school children so I decide to ask them if I'm headed in the right direction. I whip out my handy map and ask, “Donde aqui?” They speak very little English, but are able to tell me that we I am going in the opposite direction from where I want to go. We all chuckle and I just turn around and go back the other way.
Mazatlan is a tourist town. And a tourist town well past its heyday. It's dirty and crumbling and makes up for this with neither cheapness nor friendliness nor charm of any kind. The beach is covered with plastic bottles and six-pack yokes and the undertow is deadly. And if it were a cartoon town, I would be represented as green dollar bills with feet. I so hate the feeling of being badgered at every moment to ride a taxi or eat in a restaurant or take a tour or fuck some whore. Not to mention getting yelled at because you don't want to stop and chat when you know perfectly well it's going to be a pitch for a tour you don't want.
The locals were not interested in me as individuals. In Mazatlan it's like people resent my pinche presence and are tolerating me only because our gluttonous desires for seafood and beer and taxi rides that are built into the economy. Not to mention that no one seems to understand my Spanish. People have told me that my accent is pretty good, but it's entirely possible those people were just being polite. Still, even if I had the worst accent possible, how badly could I possibly mispronounce the word "taco" as to make it unrecognizable to a waiter in a restaurant in Mexico? Or "Corona".
I decided to take a long walk along the ocean front blvd, Avenue del Mar (or Malecon) - a long promenade along the beach that travels all the way down the coast of Mazatlan. The sidewalk promenade is colorful and curvy. Food vendors are clustered into small areas selling cups of corn, corn on the cob, spicy corn, sweet corn - a lotta corn. Need to cut back on the corn, folks. Craft vendors sold colorful little ceramic boxes, and tons of beaded jewelry. Vendors tiny children were curled up sleeping behind the tables.
I passed the area with vendors, and the promenade winded around a yellow and blue painted military hospital (across the street). The sidewalk got wider, larger areas with statues of War Heroes and tall structures with steps appeared, platforms for cliff divers. Fishing boats were docked in a little cove further along, then just as I was craving a beer and nachos, Palapa restaurants appeared on the beach, selling fresh fish tacos and cold Pacifico beer. I ordered fish tacos and nachos with guacamole. That cold beer and the crashing waves and blue Mexican sky was wonderful.

As the sun set, I noticed lots of cars cruising down the Avenue del Mara and a different world appeared. The city started to get very lively: streets were packed and loud, music was playing out of cars and people were dressed up for the night. A large stage was set up on the other side of the street, and cars started parking alongside the median, waiting for some kind of performance.
As I continued walking, I noticed that I was getting into the heart of the Zona Doradothe resort district of Mazatlan, home to crowded dance clubs, high rise resorts and crowded beaches. Almost as a gateway into this area, sits a huge white castle, Fiesta Land - more of a relic of the future, than one of the past. Inside the castle are a collection of popular dance clubs and high-priced restaurants.

I decided that I was done with my little adventure at this point, my feet were tired and I needed a little siesta. I took a taxi back to the corner of Miguel's apartment to find him asleep. I lay down next to him and watched him sleep for a while. I must of dozed for an hour, cause Miguel woke me up with a kiss on the forehead and asked if I was hungry and we walked to a corner restaurant and I had fried fish with shrimp and a lemonade. Miguel asked if I wanted to go out and I said sure - but first I wanted to cut across the street and pound this out on at a little Internet cafe...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you sound happier than you have in a long time. I'm happy for you.