For kicks, Carlos and I drove to his hometown of Teocaltiche a hundred miles north of Guadalajara.
We drove into Teocaltiche in a windy, cold twilight. The hotel looked a hundred years old. The room had a high ceiling with black beams and white plaster walls.
Walked around the main square - a cold wind from the high mountains blew rubbish through the dirty streets. The people walked by in gloomy silence. many had blankets wrapped around their faces. A row of hideous old hags, huddled in dirty blankets that looked like old burlap sacks, were ranged along the walls of a church.
The bar was drafty. Oak chairs with black leather seats. I ordered a martini. At the next table a red faced American in expensive gabardine coat was talking about some deal involving twenty thousand acres. Across from me was an Ecuadoran man, with a long nose and a spot of red on each cheek - he was drinking coffee and eating sweet cakes.
I drank several martinis. Took the travel brochure out of my bag and read:
"...and when the twilight falls on the old colonial city of Teocaltiche and those cool breezes steal down from the picturesque mountains, walk out in the fresh evening and look over the beautiful senoritas who seat themselves in colorful native costume, along the wall of the sixteenth-century church that overlooks the main square..."
They fired the guy who wrote that - there are limits.
Last night Carlos and I went to The Cuba, a bar with an interior like the set of a surrealist ballet. The walls were covered with murals depicting underwater scenes. Mermaids and mermen in elaborate arrangement with huge goldfish stared at the customers with fixed, identical expressions of pathic dismay. Even the fish were invested with an air of startled alarm. The effect was disquieting, as though these androgynous beings were frightened by something behind or to one side of the customers, who were made uneasy by this inferred presence.
Carlos was somewhat sullen, and I felt depressed and ill at ease until I had to put down two martinis. "You know, Carlos..." I said after a long silence. Carlos was humming to himself, drumming on the table looking around restlessly. Now he stopped humming and raised an eyebrow.
This fag is already getting uppity, I thought. "Let's go back to Guadalajara."
Hmmm, perhaps it is time to make tracks for different parts of the world...