Monday, October 24, 2005

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.10

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.9)

Soon Ruby and I were breezing down the last 140 kilometers toward Puerto Vallarta. As we approached the foliage got much more dense as well as the humidity and taxis cars. The cobblestone avenues that make Southern Vallarta so quaint are fairly treacherous with dual-sport tires, and the road directions aren't clearly marked so if you don't know your way around it's pretty easy to be going the wrong way down the street. I rode slow and took my time despite the fact gobs of sweat were now pouring out from under my helmet, down my riding jacket sleeves, and down my legs into my boots. I was really getting pretty faint but a room and a cold bottle of water were just around the corner. First I tried the guy who owns the Big Kahuna coffee shop because last time he'd told me the next time I come he'd rent me one of his apartments for only $90 pesos a night. But given the fact it's "temporada" and busloads of national tourists were swarming all over Vallarta, the price was now $300 pesos. He apologized, and I said, "No problemo, just thought I'd ask." I next visited an ol' pal JR, an ol' Brittish chap who lives a wonderfully simple existence in a small flat in the more "mexican" part of town. This guy never ceases to amaze me. He can trot along hiking through the jungle, riding a mule, fix it own car in the dead heat of the day, then settle down for a nice splif and several stiff drinks... AND STILL carry on a great argument with complete lucidity. Stunning to see the man in action! But I digress.. back to finding a room. JR called up a woman who'd offered an apartment to me for cheap, but the access turned out to be a bit more than I felt putting Ruby through, ie. walking her over a swinging cable bridge, down some stairs, under the bridge, through the mud, and into someone else's patio I only hoped wouldn't mind. Ruby and I probably could've have done it, but if just one little Mexican kid thought it'd be funny to watch the gringo try and keep his bike up while they stomped back and forth on the bridge to make it sway (like the little demons are infamous for), it'd be all she wrote for poor Ruby. She certainly topple off and be taking a swim in the Cuale river just after crushing her skull on the boulders below. No, better just try and get a room at my old standby, Hotel El Azteca, and sort it all out later.

The prices have risen a bit, but they remembered me from my last visit and agreed to a lower rate. And they also welcomed Ruby into the hotel's little foyer. It was a chore getting her in, but with the help of a couple passersby and some motor assistance, we put the ol' girl to rest among the potted vegetation. Ruby seemed ready for a little tropical rest and I was definitely ready for a cold shower. The shower helped for about 2 minutes and I was reminded why so many gringos give Vallarta a miss during the rainy season. The humidity is such that not only do you sweat constantly, but you almost ooze something else more viscous. JR told me it hadn't even rained it several days so there really hadn't been any relief at all. I began to really wonder why the heck I'd left Faro de Bucieras or Chamela?! Vallarta can be a virtual hell hole when the humidity hits peak season and the sun is boiling your brains out.

I popped back over to JR's place and felt it was time for one of those "medicinal" substance treatments. Soon, with the help of JR and whatever "attitude adjusters" he had handy, we were off to meet some locals and visitors at a local seaside bar. Between JR and I sat this nice woman named Pat who was smartly dressed for the occasion and had a button on identifying which "group" she was with. After both JR's and my rambling on about the government and mind control, etc. We decided Pat had probably had enough, and so we changed the subject. Another somewhat odd and older woman sort of floated over like a small cloud towards our table and took seat next to mine. She had a very serious and stern face that contrasted her loose bohemian attire. She didn't seem that interested in communicating with mere mortals and chose to focus on the setting sun instead. I made a comment about this other dude's shirt that was made up of a patchwork of paintings that looked like Diego Rivera's work, and how I liked it. His name was Ira and he said he didn't have a clue who the artist was, but that he just liked the shirt. As soon as the conversation began to dissolve into "art" the woman next to me began to come alive and join the conversation.

She began to tell me of a strange Huichol Indian ritual a girlfriend and she had participated in just down the beach the other night. She said they were two nude gringas watching as the Indians performed a strange ritual for the crops that involved sacrificing a goat. "A goat?" I said. "Yes! And it just came itself over so willfully and peaceful. Like it knew it was giving itself over to the greater good... and did I mention we were nude?". I told her that didn't sound like any ritual I'd ever heard of and that I didn't get the significance of she and her amiga being nude for it. "Well, we had simple robes on, but completely nude underneath." I told her, "Well, that's not exactly nude now is it? I mean, I too am completely nude underneath my t-shirt and shorts, but that's not really the same thing now is it?" She ignored my little quip and continued, "And I was so touched how gently this goat just gave over its life without a sound... well, actually at first the goat got away during the ceremony and the poor Huichol priests were scrambling around in the sand trying to catch it again." At this point I lost it hand laughed uncontrollably out loud at the thought of the goat getting away and disrupting the "show". The woman kept her very serious and stern face and I tried to contain myself long enough for her to finish her touching story.

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.11)


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