After my night in beautiful and quiet La Paz, I took the ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. I meet a Swiss guy on the boat, we talked about Mexico and our past travel experiences. His spanish was much better than mine and he also gave me a few pointers about travelling in Mexico.
The ferry from the mainland is a huge, belching affair with thousands of passengers and hundreds of cars and tractor trailer rigs. The ride is 12 hours long and best spent in a cheap sleeping berth (us$25), especially if you split it four ways. The views from the top deck are astounding, and unlike the paranoid security and insurance minded companies in the US, the ships officers have no problem allowing a number of us passengers into the control room for a look at how the beast was run.
Mazatland is a big, bustling city, lovely to look at from the sea, but not as attractive up close.
Blocks are splashed with the primary colors of the restaurants' and consumer stores' facades, but the dust still rises, the trash still burns, the Chevy trucks, the workers down in the shades and the mothers sprinting across the traffic with young flailing and babies wailing. Cervezas and the guacamole, no matter how diluted with sour cream, still bring in the Mexican culture of memory to the old and young. Culture is life. Life is change. Change is Culture. It is the beauty of the world, no matter how desperate, no matter how congested and overflowing, omnipresent like a McDonald´s baño.
Spitting heat upon pale skin. Dust swirls, thick and ominous like mountainous fog, yet there is little silence and zero solitude unlike the celestial palaces where the clouds' nebulous movements waver. Where a hermit might dwell, there doesn't exist this exhaustion, this thumping surge of sprawling land and sea convergence. It's bright and it´s hot, alighting the nonexistent patterns as people and their many motors crush upon humanity and culture - their culture.
It is their land; their noise and debris, the rising dust - clouds into the eternal heat, the rapturous signals, the stoplights and padding feet across cracked pavement before the next race of exhaust pipes flood the streets. The young boys standing in a 50s truck bed and the workingmen folding leathery hands in deep cooling shadows. Coronas, Pacificos, Dos XX and Sol bottles crushed down dirt side-alleys. Passing fishing ports with ruinous fleets and peeling paints of white, green and orange. And then the abominable. Things and their monsters. They let loose to dilute the beauty of this original style of living and culture. As I sat in the back of the taxi from Mazatlan's marina, heat and the accompanying dust drew into the interior through the open windows that sucked like a famished mule.
A faded CD flashed in my eyes, as Jesus and Mother Mary spun from the driver's rear view mirror. Through the dirty window, I watched my beloved Mexico and its culture, passing high-walled penitentiaries and catching the drafts of burning trash and piles of rubber. I breathed in, deeper than the previous, and as tin and brick turned to unfinished concrete with spikes of rebar, the city-center approached. Burnt paper and smoky chemicals infused into the sea air until the salt purified the wastes. Suddenly, it froze. A culture, historic in its patternless flow of work, family, tradition, rice, beans, corn tortillas and cervezas, with mother dodging traffic as she interlinks her arms throughout her five children, and the federales rolling in their crisp black '06 GMC pickup trucks and Ford Mustangs, fat signs and stripped lands of acres of sweating asphalt surrounded by cheap simplicities of blue and white, and orange and white swallows its environment.
Gorging, the corporations find their way as Mexico expands with the born faces of Wal-Mart and Home Depot. My heart pinged. It skipped a beat. But I drew another inhale, observed the life around, and continued to witness an unburdened Mexico thrive. Dust tickled my nose. I sneezed. It reached my throat. I coughed. How unburdened can a culture remain? I was about to find out.
Pay the taxi and check into a ten dollar a night trap - the Hotel Mariscal. I know these rooms - sagging bed, old, rickity furniture and pink stucco walls. Can´t wait to meet my room mates, the roaches. I unpack, shower, change and slide into the street to dig the city.
I walked that evening on the main Avenue Cameron Sabalo. I passed restaurants of Japanese sushi, American burger joints, tapas of Spain, and I thought of the real Mexican dishes in the pueblos and mountains: the simple rice and beans of Mexico. But this was Mazatlan with its Dairy Queen, the Philly steak sandwiches at The Saloon, as well as Domino's Pizza, Subway and its new acres of blue and white Wal-Mart and orange and white Home Depot.
Centro Historico looked amazing though, with limestone streets and dirty saloons crowded with sailors and dockworkers. A shoeshine boy asked if I wanted a ¨nice girl¨. I looked at the boy and said in English, ¨No, and I don´t want you either.¨
After a dinner of tacos and Sol cerveza, I found the fag joint Bar Vitrolas in Centro Historico near Frias and Flores. Vitrolas is a relatively new bar in a historic old warehouse. It has an ancient vitrola record player in the entrance (hence the bar's name), pleasant high-ceilinged interior, a large video screen on the wall and an Internet terminal in the back. The place was packed with a great mix - my waiter, Gustavo, was very friendly. As I sat against the back wall sucking down a beer, a young skinny twink cought my eye, smiled and asked me to dance and we broke out the rest of the night boogieing down. Miguel, he said his name was. Average height and thin, that shaggy hair and big brown eyes - the boy really had a sweet and warm smile. His two friends were cool, too - buying buckets of frosty beer and shots of tequilla. Miguel and I hit it off pretty well and I told him what my story was - then he gave me the look. You know, the look, Dear Reader. Next I find us piling into the back of a taxi speeding to my hotel. The boy was not shy - we sat in the back seat kissing and groping - the driver muttering pinche maricones.
Burst into the room and clothes are flung off. Miguel puts on some music from my portable clock radio and - laughing - gives me an obscene lap dance as I sat on the edge of the bed frozen in vibrating lust. Sliding down between my legs he sucked my erection like a champ. Picking him up, I lay Miguel down on the bed pulling his legs up over my shoulders - spitting onto my cock I slide up into him (He hisses through white teeth.) and screw him with so much pent up frustrations. The bed banged and boinked, bodies sweating under that big orange moon and the swaying palms as we both cried out in orgasm. Afterwards, we lay next to each other sharing a cigarette. Miguel asked if I was staying in Mazatlan for a while, why don´t I crash at his pad.
Sure, why not. Wouldn´t you?