Vallarta Day 5
Got up around 8:30. Headed to Coco’s for her Vallarta Omelette. I’m beginning to enjoy avocados more and more. Back home I never really cared for them, but since they’re served on nearly everything from here to San Marcos, I’ve come to appreciate them. Plus, I think they’re supposed to be good for you.
Followed up Coco’s with Dee’s, blogging and listening into the locals’ gossip. Couldn’t resist another piece of that blueberry coffee cake. Coffee Cake just doesn’t describe it – it’s more like High Calorie Baked Item, or HCBi for short.
Surfer lady and a friend came bounding up the sidewalk with sarongs and bikinis wrapped around themselves shouting “Here comes your favorite mermaids! We went playing with the dolphins this morning! They were jumping out of the water … ”
Some guy in a too-tight tshirt stops in and hands out free passes to Anthropology, the male strip club. I’ve got about a half-dozen now.
PepÃ© walks by in nothing but flip-flops and short-shorts. Victor had pointed him out to me a couple of days ago. He’s a local “masseuse” who’s solely responsible for keeping the local plastic surgeon in business. He’s clearly had a number of facelifts, but Victor tells me he’s also had implants in his pecs and ass. I look, and it’s clear – no natural human ass sticks out that far. I wonder aloud, “Doesn’t that make it hard to walk?”
A new resident hair-dresser introduces himself to several of the clientele. He’s just moved to down and is working on his MacBook.
A stranger stops on the street and asks me how I like my iPad. He has lots of questions and the new hair-dresser says he had one and the screen shattered. He recommends a heavy-duty case.
One of the ladies behind the counter comes bounding outside with a fresh pan of cinnamon rolls, shouting something in Spanish about the fresh rolls. She’s so loud she doesn’t need a dinner bell.
Headed home for gym attire but the bed was too inviting and I succumbed to a two hour HCBi coma before setting out for the gym.
Along Olas Altus I run into Jose, the cute timeshare-selling alcoholic. I wave Hola and continue walking up the hill. Though the hill to the gym is hardly steep, some of the others, closer to the mountains are unbelievable. After the Vista Grille dinner the other night, Robert, Jamie’s roommate, took the long way home and showed us around the neighborhood.
It reminded me much of some of the secluded Hollywood Hills neighborhoods in Los Angles. Steep, curvy roads winding up the mountainside. The difference being in the style of the houses and the quality of the roads. In hollywood the cement, or sometimes asphalt, is well maintained, despite the awkward angles and designs. Here in Vallarta, the roads are made of fist-sized rocks, cemented into place to create a bumpy and uneven surface. If you’re lucky, a large hill may have two vertical strips of cement with horizontal grooves in them – providing you with some sort of constant traction, should be able to maneuver your vehicle up the mountain while maintaining your perch atop the cement strips. The small valleys scattered throughout the mountain side create water traps during the rain – sometimes puddling 3 or 4 feet deep. There are very few cars in these garages. Nearly everyone who lives up here needs a Range Rover to get up the hill, so you’ll see many SUVs.
The gym is the usual experience. David is charming as ever. There are a couple of locals doing squats like I have never seen before. They pyramid their weight, starting low, working their way up to a max weight, and then coming down again. They do probably 10 sets all-together. What set their squats apart was that they put their ass nearly to the floor – but at least to their ankles. I couldn’t tell if the form was actually useful or not. Either way, it looked difficult and painful… and that usually means it’s good for you. I will not be showing my trainer this exercise.
On my way back to the house, I run into Jose again. He’s moved down to another storefront in the network of timeshare-selling and tour-booking joints he works out of. We chat for a bit. He tells me that he didn’t drink the night before. I ask him if he wants to stop? He says sometimes. I ask about AA and he tells me that he did it in the US for a while, but in Mexico they can put you in jail for being an alcoholic. It sounds like a classic alcoholic excuse to me, as I can’t imagine the police raiding an AA meeting and tearing people out of their seats to haul them off to jail. I tell him I find that highly unlikely but he isn’t convinced. I tell him about the club I’ve been attending and that’s never happened there.
A tall man interrupts us. I can smell the booze on his breath. He is American and rude. He wants to know about the bike lock on the realty office next door. Neither of us have an explanation for him. He goes on to explain that he used to work for Tennessee Williams and that he and his business partners are in competition with the locked-up realty office. He’s hoping that the bike lock is an indication that they’re not paying their rent in the office space, which would be good for his business. He doesn’t seem to take a breath, continuing to talk and holding us hostage.
I turn to Jose and say “ProtecciÃ³n” – the Spanish version of the slang I first heard on RuPaul’s DragRace – “Security”. It’s said in a nonchalant manner to indicate a need for protection from someone. I heard some of the guys using it at Blue Chairs the other day in regards to the drunk guy yelling profanities at the queens on stage – “Shake that ass!”, “Yeah, Baby, move it like that!”, and “Pound it!”.
Jose and I just stare at him, unable to catch a break in the conversation in which to tell the guy to buzz off. He continues, saying he has the five richest gay Mexicans backing him. They’re going to develop some property into a resort and use his connections on Broadway to get the biggest stars in New York and Hollywood to buy condos. I finally cut him off, telling Jose I will see him later. The drunk American gives me his best bitchy look as I walk away.
Gawd, I hope I was never that much of an ass. Probably was.
Back at home I take a shower and a short nap, getting up in time to head over to the Alano club and attend the 6:30 AA meeting. After I sit down the resident homeless guy, Jim, sits down next to me. Jim barely speaks a word, is always smoking cigarettes and smells to high heaven. It’s the worst smell I have ever encountered. I tilt my head in the opposite direction and attempt to discreetly plug my nose while the meeting carries on. Not only is the smell bad, but it is very hot and humid in this room. They try not to run the AC to save costs, and the heat tends to amplify the smell. About 10 minutes later I am physically nauseous and fear I am risking the dignity of the person in front of me by not getting up and leaving. I decide I’m going to make a break for the kitchen for a drink of water and will re-enter the room to another seat. Of course this requires that I get closer to Jim in order to reach the door in the rear of the room. Still plugging my nose I take a deep breath and make a break for the kitchen. Opening the door in the rear of the room, which leads to an outdoor courtyard, I take a deep breath, as if I’d just been held underwater for 5 minutes.
In general I feel a bit freer to share in this group of AA. The meetings are relatively small, and the anonymity of not having a standing reputation there or knowing any of the other AAers with much intimacy, allows for a greater degree of freedom in my sharing. Today, however, I’m thrown off by the incident with Jim and just pray for the end of the meeting to come with as much haste as possible.
As if on cue, the meeting ends and the rain begins down pouring. Art, the man with nearly 40 years sobriety, Brook, the guy from Minneapolis, and Bob, another local gay man that Art has known for years, invite me to dinner at Jovita – an authentic Mexican restaurant run by Sergio – a gay man who’s carrying on the tradition of his mother’s recipes.
4 blocks and a monsoon later, we’re all sitting in the restaurant, drenched. The open-air window shows a scene outside with taxis and buses rushing down the street shooting waves of water into the air and onto any victims on the sidewalk.
I examine the menu, ask a few questions and settle on the enchiladas.
I learn more about Art and Bob. They both lived in Washington DC before retiring. They met each other in AA there and have since both retired to Vallarta. Bob worked with various treatment centers and recovery homes back in Washington DC and is determined to start some sort of recovery business here. Art pipes in, “You should talk to Dan – he owns two GLBT recovery homes.”
Art seems excited, telling me, “Really? This has been one of my pet projects while I’ve been down here. I was working with a guy who was really interested in moving forward on a plan, but he got involved with a woman and his interest waned.”
Art goes on to tell me how he would envision it working. They would rent or purchase property to operate as the recovery home and offer a 4 – 6 month recovery retreat for people in the US to travel to. Sort of a “Get sober in a beautiful place like Vallarta.”
I tell him I’m not sure that would work, and that my houses operate as a post-treatment step for people in recovery. The conversation is interrupted by dessert and we get off track. Some sort of bread pudding that’s very tasty! I get up to head out and Bob asks me as I stand up, “Are you going to be at the meeting tomorrow?”
“I haven’t thought that far ahead, but perhaps.”
“Well Wednesday nights are a speaker meeting and we’d love to have you tell your story.”
Speaking in front of a crowd is my biggest fear. I stand there without answering for a moment. Desperate to come up with an excuse, anything, but I can’t and I know one of the foremost unwritten rules in AA requires you to do something when asked.
“Sure, I can do that.”
I walk home in the light rain thinking maybe it’ll be easier than I think. After all, I was just observing how it’s easier for me to share in these meetings than at home. I decide not to dwell on it – worrying is a waste of time.