Wednesday, October 10, 2012


  Nothing says Mexico like seeing a dude chilling out in the middle of the highway on a lawn chair with an AK-47 laying across his knees. That's the last thing I remember as I drove out of Guaymas on my way back to California a few years back. Not surprising, considering the first thing I remember about driving in to Guaymas was having a dude walk up to me with an AK-47 in his hands. I had stupidly decided to park our rented minivan behind a dilapidated grocery store so I could make my friend take over driving duties at 2 in the morning. The Mexican and I locked eyes. With mouth agape, I stood like a deer in headlights as he cheerily offered me a hello in Spanish as he passed. If ever there was a time that I could say I almost shit the fuck out of my pants, that was it.
  Anyway, Guaymas is not the sort of place you'd find any tourists. I ended up in Guaymas as a guest for a good friend’s wedding. His friend’s mother owned a private villa there and that was that.
  It is about as Mexican as you can get and about as out of the way as could be. I remember the nearest hospital being some three hours away.
  We drove here from San Diego and what one friend described as being “just a few hours away” but was, in fact, 13 hours away. I learned a lot about that friend during that trip. Mostly I learned that an hour to him actually meant four to me. But he’s a dick and we won’t talk about that.
  There were a lot of stray dogs that people said I shouldn’t pet, but I did because that’s what kind of humanitarian I am. Is that the term? Humanitarian? Anyway, they were shaggy and dirty but I can’t help petting strange furry things that run at me.
  The beaches were fantastic, mostly because there were no tourists around to ruin them.
  I also made a note of buying and wearing a pair of red Speedos at ALL times. You know that saying; when in Mexico…?
Of course, with private beaches comes a lack of safety precautions to alleviate chance encounters with dangerous sea creatures. Locals told us there weren’t too many sharks in the area so we shouldn’t be too worried about them. What they didn’t tell us was that August was the beginning of Portuguese Manowaur season in Mexico. During all our frolicking in the water we failed to realize we were wading amongst thousands of floating “bubbles” which turned out to be the heads of the sea creature. In a matter of 20 minutes all seven of us were stung by their ridiculously long tails, which dangle beneath the water. I was the last to get stung, and on what I thought was the safety of shore. One happened to be carried in by the waves and wrapped around my ankle. Who knew something so small could cause so much pain. Next to my appendix nearly rupturing when I was 17, the pain of being stung by these little bastards was a close second. I have heard horror stories of these things growing to the size of Buick Trucks so I count myself lucky that it was only the “beginning” of Manowaur season.
  There is only one thing to do in Guymas and that is to sit on the beach and swim its waters. There are many mountains surrounding the entire area and lots of tiny islands dotting the shoreline. Beer is cheap and no one speaks a word of English. It is very much a shantytown filled with many poor people and ridiculously large insects, snakes and lizards. I was warned that many of Mexico’s smallest creatures were among the most dangerous, especially the brown scorpion. Many days I woke up to find this very scorpion in my bathroom sink.
  I’ll add my own warning here; don’t EVER visit Mexico in August. I have never been so hot in my life and the nights seemed hotter than the days. At one point the thermometer in our kitchen read an appalling 51 degrees Centigrade!

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