Tuesday, July 29, 2008

La Casita

I paid the 95 peso entry fee and checked my bag at the front desk, being buzzed into the main part of La Casita, the naughty part, La Casita being a sex club in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. I wandered through the place, maze-like hallways, stairways taking you to random dark rooms with porn playing, and, like most sex clubs, lots of people walking around, looking, always looking, either too shy or too picky to start jerking off with the strangers walking past them, also looking, so much of the looking and not looking, trying hard not to make eye contact with those people looking your way who you wish would not.

I was beginning to regret my purchase, the place being very barebones and lacking even showers or steamrooms, amenities I for some reason thought standard, them being standard even at the Oaxaca places I went to. The place was creepy, there weren´t any condoms provided, and my brain, always with the leaping to wild nightmarish visions, imagined myself being pulled into one of these seemingly empty dark rooms and raped.

Finally, I made eyes with some cute man, tough looking, and followed him into one of the rooms. He pulled out his dick and I dropped to my knees, surprised, in a good way, by the size of his dick, the thing massive, making this already sexy man even sexier. The darkness and the lack of attachment to this person made the situation purely physical, those sensations heightened so much, me feeling pleasurable feelings of ecstasy in a way I haven´t in a while. He kissed me in the right way and, through the little light available, made the cutest smile between kisses. He felt right and touched right, and him kissing my neck, my legs, and my dick felt so right.

For a while, I wondered if he was saying a prayer, saying something elaborate over and over again that I couldn´t understand, my Spanish obviously lacking. He slapped me as I was sucking his dick, understanding what it is I liked and doing those things. There was an amazing mixture of pain and gentleness - the two are both necessary ingredients and so often people do not understand that.

After stretching this out for close to an hour, both of us so turned on and having so much fun, we both came together while strangers, still dressed, still looking, watched as we did so. We buttoned up, I said adios, and headed to the exit.

There, I collected my checked bag and was about to leave when the guy behind the counter started saying something totally incomprehensible to me. I eventually understood that I needed to return my entry card. I checked my pockets and it was not there, obviously having fallen out in the darkness while I had my pants down. I told him I had lost it inside. He started talking really fast, me understanding none of it except that he wanted me to pay an additional 25 pesos for this lost card. I asked if I could go in and look for it. He said no, was getting this smirky attitude that gay dudes love to get, and was saying stuff I didn´t understand. Other people started to observe this situation, it becoming very embarrasing. Among the watchers was the dude I had just hooked up with who spoke no English and couldn´t really help me.

I told the guy that I wasn´t going to pay. I said Adios as a question. He said no, said a lot more stuff I didn´t understand. I again said I wasn´t paying and that I was leaving. He called someone, the police I think, and started talking about a problema. At this point, I ran out the door, quite shamed by all the onlookers, and ran around the corner, put on my long sleeve shirt, and turned some more corners, convinced someone was going to come after me for the 25 pesos, convinced that the police were on their way, that the punishment for skipping out on a 25 peso fee at a gay sex club might not be too kind from the Mexican police. I eventually took it easy, my heart still racing, and sat again by the Insurgentes subway stop, watched gays and teens out in the brilliant dusk, and got nervous with each passing police officer, them quite numerous in this city.

Mexico City

I arrived here in Mexico City early this morning, ending a 14 hour bus ride from Palenque. My trip here is coming to a close, circling back to its beginning point and, on Thursday morning, its ending point, when I fly back to New York. As the bus left Palenque yesterday, the sun was setting outside my window over thick vegetation interupted by small farms. It was a beautiful sight, one that, then travelling alone, having left everyone else behind, allowed for some reflection upon Mexico and upon my time here, this past month. I fell asleep soon after the sun set, exhausted from looking at the ruins, from swimming in a gorgeous waterfall, and from being in that region´s intense jungle climate. I was awoken when our bus was stopped at a military checkpoint. A police officer with a machine gun boarded our bus, people with machine guns a very common sight in this country. He marched down the aisle, looking at the people on board, stopping at me. He asked me where I was from. I told him and showed him my passport. He inspected it very closely, giving me the evil eye while doing so, and for this period of time, I imagined my death in the jungles of Chiapas, some person with a gun taking me off the bus and that being the end of my story, an earlier end to my journey. It didn´t end that way, obviously. He handed my passport back to me and left our bus, the journey continuing.

It took us a long time to reach the bus station once we reached the outskirts of the city, it being morning rush hour. Slowly we passed buildings decorated with hand-painted signs, hand-painted political ads, hand-painted beer ads. The aesthetic of this city comforted me and I was so happy to be back here this morning. I called Chicle once it was a decent hour and brought my stuff over to his house, him kindly letting me stay with him. We got stoned at that early hour. He started the work he needed to do and I left to explore this city some more, looking at the galleries in Roma and Condesa.

I was by myself. It felt so good. I have enjoyed travelling with Bonnie and Caroline, but I like to be alone, and today, for the first time in so long, I truly was - exploring this foriegn city alone, no one to help me with the language, no one wanting to do anything deviating from the fancy of my own feet. At Galeria OMR, there was a really great show of stuff by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde. There were three short videos that were cute, moving, and really funny. One had his fingers walking on a tabletop, a sign held over the two moving fingers resembling legs, saying, "No Mas Drama," Verlarde shouting it as his fingers stomped up and down. It was really short and, despite its cuteness, got at a lot - it conjuring to me the stupid drama surrounding tables, human dramas over coffee, pettiness, and these fingers opposing that petty life, that smallness.

I left there, got coffee somewhere, got food somewhere else, and sat near the Insurgentes subway stop, observing all the hip teens hanging out there, dressed in their tight pants, their nice haircuts, and smoking cigarettes or not smoking them, thinking about my own life while observing theirs.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Cristobal

Last night, this really sexy man, an Andreas, put his phone to my ear to play me songs, some Mariah Carey ones mainly, including ¨Against All Odds.¨ The previous night I had attempted to sing that same song at a karaoke bar, doing a pretty terrible job, realizing what an impressive song that one is, how much vocal power it requires, how much vocal power I lack. That same night, I sang a few Soda Stereo songs, including ¨Nada Personal,¨ those a lot more successful. But this boy playing this song to me last night, originally done by Phil Collins, provided a nice instance of symmetry, of the previous night somehow interesecting with the one last night, of them all intersecting, and of there perhaps being some symbolism, a message, in the song that I am supposed to recieve.

It could be that, or it could have been that I was at a gay bar last night, Gloss, and that really if someone at a gay bar is going to play you songs on their phone, it should not be too surprising for those to be by Mariah Carey.

He was incredibly sexy to me, tall, a big gelled back mess of hair, big hands. We touched a bit, me feeling his legs, gliding my hand along his pants, feeling no line of underwear, sticking my hand slightly underneath the belt of his pants to confirm and feeling no underwear, feeling smooth skin, skin I wanted to touch more, so much more. When Bonnie went to the bathroom, we started making out, and to kiss this boy provided sparks that a kiss has yet to in Mexico, something magic about it, me so full of desire and this kiss satifsying that desire in some ways and yet increasing it a hundredfold in other ways. He had to wake up early for work and so I couldn´t go home with him.

Bonnie and I walked back through these beautiful colonial streets of San Cristobal, back to our hotel, the city´s power going out a few times on the walk home for brief moments, streetlights going out and the city seeming darker, scarier, and more beautiful in those moments, drunken screams of joy erupting from bars and dark corners with each power outage, with each descent into darkness, everyone taking so much pleasure in technology´s failure, in a brief taste, brief enough to be safe, of chaos.

The churches here are really beautiful, the streets are, and so too is the weather, gorgeous sunny warm days, and with the setting of the sun, an onset of chilliness, the cold making you desire warmth, touch, a cup of coffee, something. And I am about to head out to Chaluma, an indigenious village nearby, and in less than a week I will be leaving this country for the one I claim as my own, for the city I do, heading toward people I want to kiss and sleep next to.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Cristobal

I arrived in San Cristobal sometime this afternoon, a ride in a van taking me to this town from another town in Chiapas, Tuxtla Guiterrez. I spent yesterday, exploring the nearby Sumidero Canyon, a beautiful boat ride down the river through the canyon, seeing gators and monkeys out in the wild, thoughts of God in my head.

I haven´t shaved since I arrived in Mazunte. The bathrooms there were just cold water showerheads, no sinks with mirrors. It has been a week or so and it is weird to catch sight of myself with some facial hair.

Older men, when they leave restaurants after their meal, they say ¨Buen Provecho¨ to the people they pass on their way out. I really love this custom.

I have dropped off my stuff at a cute hotel nearby and eaten comida corrida. I think I am going to find myself a cold beer before meeting back up with these other people I am travelling with.

I really love Mexico a lot, but there are certainly things I miss. On the ride to this town, the radio was playing at a really low volume, or maybe even just from the front speakers, and anyways I could barely hear it, but was straining so hard to, the songs cheesy light rock songs, English songs that I really miss.

I saw the new Batman movie last night during the rain. It was amazing. Afterwards, some people in the mall parking lot offered us a ride back into town. They took us to some club. I was not allowed in, still dressed as if I was at the beach, flip-flops, shorts, sleeveless shirt. We went to some divey bar instead, which sat across from the mariachi park, making the mistake of asking our taxi driver to take to us a fun bar with music, dancing, and beer. Instead, a loud band playing some type of music, people, older and sad looking, sitting at their tables, lots of people drinking alone, everyone drinking Sol, no one really dancing. A man with a broken arm kept giving Caroline sex stares and the man at the table next to us showed me pictures of waterfalls on his phone. Because my Spanish sucks, I really couldn´t tell why he came over to show them to me. He might have been gay, but probably just weird. And there is a theme of waterfalls that I have yet to totally figure out the meaning of, Bonnie obsessed with visiting them, Wong Kar-Wei´s ¨Happy Together,¨ and the TLC song all being brought forth with all these allusions to them, with all these pictures of them hanging in hotels and cheap restaurants and appearing on the cellphones of strangers. Something about please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you are used to and to not chase waterfalls, and I am far from home.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


A couple of nights ago, I bought a slice of pot cake, twenty pesos, from this hippy couple of a dirt road. Afterwards, I hiked up to Punta Comeda to watch the sunset. It was so spectacular a setting from which to view the setting of the sun, and was probably the prettiest setting I have ever watched a sunset from. The walk back through the dark woods was really beautiful also, fireflies shooting off to my left and then to my right, little fireworks out of every corner of my eye. That night was also a full moon and so the waves were ferocious. I don´t understand science that much, don´t understand what the relationship is between the moon and the ocean, how a full moon makes the waves go crazy, but that there is a relationship is proof of magic to me, of some deep order to this world that I have yet to parse out, but which comforts me nonetheless, knowing that there are these connections to giant oceans and moons overhead.

We arrived in Zipolite yesterday, even more a hippy beach town than Mazunte, and dropped off our stuff at Ivan´s house and went to the beach with him. There is a running theme in my life of an inability to discern proper limits and to take in an excessive amount of things that I enjoy, often to harmful effects. Yesterday´s example was the sun. I splashed around naked on this Pacific beach all day long and was so in love with it all, with my ability to swim around naked on this beautiful beach and to lie and walk around, to look at strangers, that I didn´t really consider what effects the intense sun was having on my body. And despite applying heavy sunscreen throughout the day, I got sunburned, painfully so on my ass and thighs. Putting on underwear after showering last night was a painful experience. I still have a few more days of beach time and am sad that I am burned, sad that I may have to take shelter underneath an umbrella from now on.

Caroline, Bonnie, and I watched a circus performance last night at this oceanfront bar - jugglers throwing around glowing and burning objects. We then went to hear a salsa band, and then following the advice of some guy on the street went to La Isla, a stretch of sand on the beach where there were lots of dreaded people, a drum circle, lots of pot smoking, and fire dancing. Some nice stoner girl sold me such an incredibly large amont of weed for ten dollars - probably eight or ten times as much as I would buy for fifty in New York. And so my next few days, the days in which I should probably consume this stuff before travelling onwards again, are going to be totally absurd and hopefully intensely beautiful.

I slept in Ivan´s bed, the two of us covered by a mosquito net. I was too tired, too hot, and too sunburned to participate in the sex last night, fell asleep before orgasm. This boy is really horny and really sexy also, and woke me up early this morning by playing with my dick. He got me excited, put a condom on me, and we had really fun sex, shielded from the world, from the morning, by a white shroud around us, the mosquito night. Afterwards, we slept for a while longer and then slipped out from underneath the cocoon, had coffee.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Last night, after eating some really cheap fish dinner on the beach, we lingered over the table drinking beer, and watched as a beautiful full moon rose over the ocean, huge and colorful, behind some amazing rocks jutting out of the ocean. I though Puerto Escondido was extremely beautiful, but Mazunte is somehow even more so. It is a really small beach town, barely anything except some cabanas on the beach. We hiked to the top of these rocks overlooking the ocean and could see giant rays swimming below. I imagined myself living here last night, how nice that would be.

Today, Bonnie and Caroline went on a boating tour. I flagged down a camineta on the main road, hopped in the back of the pickup truck, rode to Zipolite, paid the amazingly low five pesos (fifty cents) and explored that town. After walking around, I plopped down on the nude section of the beach, played in the water, had a beer, and then tried to light a cigarette.

This Mexican dude - lots of international tourists at these beaches - who was not naked came over to me, seeing that I was unable to get my lighter to work. He tried to help me get it to work and the entire time I was very confused, having thought this was some straight dude checking out the naked ladies on the beach, and wondering why he was sitting, chatting, with some naked guy, me. He mentioned he lived in Zipolite. I asked him if he lived on the beach - this conversation in his bad English and my bad Spanish. He said he lived nearby and asked me if I wanted to see his house.

We walked to his house. There, we started kissing and fell into his bed. We had sex. He asked me to stay for apple pie that he had made and coffee. I did. We chatted despite significant language barriers. He told me I could stay with him. We had sex again. And apparently we have a beautiful place to stay in Zipolite for free with some really sexy 26 year old. Mexico is such an awesome place. People are so friendly here. And these beaches, oh man - I am not sure if I have ever seen more beautiful scenes of nature in my life. I am recalling the images I saw yesterday and they don´t seem real; they seem the imaginings of some postcard manufacturer. I saw them again today, and somehow they are real, and luckily I am here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Puerto Escondido

I made it to the Pacific sometime early this morning, around 7, the bus dropping us off on some random street in this town, too second-class a bus to even drop us off at the bus station. We wondered around dazed with our stuff, itching for sleep, not really getting much of it on the bumpy, cramped ride, most things closed in this town at that hour, and had breakfast at some hotel too pricey for us to stay in. The hostel would not let us check in until noon and so we found a hotel, an unbelievably nice hotel, for a few dollars more a night, with a hammock on the porch of our bungalow and photographs of Mexican revolutionaries on the walls. We slept for a couple of hours and then hit the beach. The water was so nice. I played in it for so long. With Caroline´s goggles, I went swimming near some rocks and saw all these bright tropical fish swimming around in the rocks. The place does not seem real. The beaches here are so beautiful. Tomorrow, we leave for Zipolite for a few days, more swimming, and hopefully more bright things, fish or otherwise.

Monday, July 14, 2008

in between here and dreams of there

I have had some coffee - that much is true and perhaps my excitement could be attributed to chemistry, to biology, to the way my body responds to certain chemicals, specifically caffeine, but I was excited even this morning prior to ingesting a cup of Americano, waking up at eight without an alarm, and I am so excited because today is my last day in this city of Oaxaca, because last night Caroline and I bought bus tickets at this depot by our hotel, ten dollars for a seven hour ride on a second-class bus that may or may not have a bathroom to Puerto Escondido. The bus leaves at 10:30 tonight and I cannot wait. I am feeling excited again, am so excited about seeing a new place, about swimming in the ocean tomorrow, about leaving this town, about cheap accomadations in hammocks ahead of us, and about the rest of my trip. Oaxaca is a really cute colonial city in the mountains and there are lots of neat things to see nearby, but we have seen them, and it is time to move on. Last night, I had lots of dreams of New York City and its boys, crazy dreams all night long, me longing for something and specific people, and maybe that is why I woke up so early also, to end those longing dreams. But really, it was more like that feeling of being a little kid and it being Christmas morning and continually waking up, excited about the day to come, about the presents, unable to sleep. And I am going to the beach tonight and maybe Hurricane Elida might make things unpleasant at the beach, might make the already dangerous currents there even more so, but I am saying goodbye and moving on - a sensation I will never tire of.

I am listening to The Game right now as I type at this internet cafe across the street from where Bonnie is sitting in the dentist´s office, and I somehow cleared all the music off my iPod before I left and I miss this stuff so much, good American pop music. When I get home, I am turning on my radio and leaving it on until I pass out, will listen to Power 105 and Hot 97 and KTU and will listen to pop music that I love and dance dance dance. There will probably be some opportunities to dance at Puerto Escondido, probably cheesy straight beach bars, but I will take what I can get, especially since it will probably be a couple of weeks until I can dance to pop after that, until I travel back to Mexico City at the end of the month.

From Puerto Escondido, our plan is to travel to the other, more quiet beaches - to Zipolte and Mazunte, which both sound so amazing and beautiful. And then from there, we are going to travel to Tuxtla, to check out the amazing canyon nearby there, and then to take the bus to San Cristobal, travelling through the mountains of Chiapas. And then from San Cristobal, we are going to go to the ruins and waterfalls of Palenque, staying in the community of El Panchan, which is supposed to be really fun and hippyish. And then a fifteen hour bus ride back to Mexico City. Did I mention how excited I am?

There are headlines about hurricanes on all the daily newspapers here for sale on the street, headlines I can half-read because of my very limited Spanish, headlines also about mudslides in Mexico City closing the major highway because of all the rain. And it rained and rained throughout the evening yesterday, into the night, all this water, this crazy weather, and I want to dance with you. My head is bobbing here to "Game´s Pain" in anticipation of then and of tonight and a bus ride ahead of me, the head bobbing my body´s way of expressing the pleasure I am feeling, a pleasure stemming somehow both from a feeling of being content and yet also of being restless - the feeling of content because I know that my restlessness will soon be put at ease, a bumpy long bus ride carrying me from one place to another.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

oaxaca night and days and days

The rain is coming down outside this window, me sitting in another internet cafe in Oaxaca, probably for one of the last times, me leaving this town sometime tomorrow evening after Bonnie´s final dentist visit and heading off toward Puerto Escondido on a late night bus.

It is a common sight here to see women carrying stuff on their head, a big bag of groceries or a big plate of food for sale.

I went to the other all-male bathhouse in this town yesterday, Banos La Fuente, and it was a lot nicer than Banos del Jardin, two clean steamrooms that both got really hot, one infused with the scent of eucalyptus. There were lots of sexy naked guys at this one also. The problem however was that this place was sex-free. A couple of people would sometimes not so discreetly check out my junk, but aside from that nothing occured and everyone just bathed and sat in the steamrooms. It was a very sexually frustrating experience, as I had gone there for the express purpose of getting off, having been interrupted earlier in the day by Bonnie and Caroline returning to the hotel while I was jerking off. Sitting next to this painfully attractive young male, thick arms, hairy legs, dark, dark hair, and wanting for all the world to touch him - the steam and its heat at least exhausted me, preventing me from perhaps getting too excited, too full of desire. It felt a lot like high school in some ways, to be surrounded by so much flesh, to want to touch it so badly, and to be unable to do so.

I got really drunk on mezcal with Bonnie and Caroline later in the evening at a couple of bars, one a karoake one where I sang backup on an Avril Lavigne song. I seperated from the two of them and went to the other gay bar in town again, El Numero, hoping it would be more crowded this time. It certainly was. It was totally packed with lots of attractive young things. It was a really surprising scene, given the otherwise quietness of this town, to be in such a packed bar full of dancing fags. I made some friends pretty quickly, this cute boy asking me to dance with him and his friends, and I did and talked to them in the small spurts of Spanish that I was able to muster. I talked to, or tried to talk to, a bunch of other people throughout the night, getting lots of attention in this bar, the attention feeling both good in some ways and also weird, that it was because I was other, a tourist, not Mexican, that seemed to be part of my appeal.

I left the bar to go to bed, not thinking I would be able to talk enough Spanish to get someone to take me home with them, also thinking that lots of these people wouldn´t be able to take me home, that they either lived far away or with their families. And so walking away from the bar, this boy called after me. I walked back and chatted with him and he told me to come inside again and dance with him. I did. That turned into making out and dry humping as we danced, him putting my hands down the back of his pants. He told me he was ready to leave whenever. I explained that I was staying in a small hotel room with my two friends and couldn´t bring him back with me. He suggested we get another room. I kissed him goodbye.

On my way out the door again, the second exit, I chatted with some more people, and then left. Halfway down the block, a different cute boy came out of the bar and ran to catch up with me. He walked with me through town and again I realized how little Spanish I know, having such trouble communicating with this sexy guy. He also wanted to come back with me, and I again had to explain that that wouldn´t work out. He lived in Mitla, which is totally crazy because it is at least an hour away and is a tiny, rural town. I wondered what this boy´s life was like that he came so far on Saturday night to be gay and dance with other boys. We parted ways when he turned to head toward the bus station. I went home, sexually frustrated again.

The rain is slowing. I still feel a bit hungover/tired from perhaps an excesssive consumption of mezcal last evening. Soon I will be sitting on the beach and about that I am so excited.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We woke up early, 6:30, and took a bus from the second-class bus station, grungy thing, out to Mitla. From there, we took a truck out to Hierva de Agua. The driver and his friend spoke Zapotec to each other in the front seat in between the Spanish they spoke to Caroline. We drove down dirt roads through a small farming village, probably the most rural area I have ever been in my life, oxen being used to plow fields. We drove up a winding, narrow dirt road around a mountain to get to this place, rock formations at the top of a mountain that look like frozen waterfalls and a pool of water fed by a spring that you could swim in. The pool of water goes right up to the edge of this mountain and you are swimming around in foggy water of varying temperatures and there is a spectacular vista ahead of you, mountains and mountains. The Romantics used the term sublime for such an experience. The term is apt.

Afterwards, we looked at the ruins in Mitla before taking the rickety bus back in to Oaxaca, me sleeping most of the way back.

Yesterday, I went to a gay bathhouse, El Jardin, the small, sedate city surprisingly having two of them. This one was a little grungy and lacking in most of the facilities that I have to come to expect from a bathhouse - lots of small rooms off of winding, dark hallways. Instead, the place was filled with natural light, there some tile benches near the front, some lockers in back, and to the side, showers that hadn´t been cleaned in a while and a steamroom that never really got too hot and had a puddle of lukewarm water on the floor. There were also only three other people at the bathhouse and luckily one was young and cute. We took a shower together and I sucked his dick for a while. Then I sat in the steamroom and all four of us, brothers in something, jerked off together, me coming before anyone else, leaving the scene behind to shower off my jizz. As I was getting dressed, I noticed a big picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe hanging in the locker area. The image is all over this country but it did seem particularly funny in this setting. This people of this country belong to the goddess cult, their two divinities being the Virgin of Guadalupe and Frida Kahlo, their images all over this land everywhere you look.

These two experiences, both involving bathing and water, are different and yet somehow similar. They both recharged me and made me so happy. There is something about water and its effects on me that I have yet to totally figure out.

Before I left New York, I was having sex with Diego in his bed, his bed right in front of his window. Someone threw an egg against his window, clearly one of his neighbors, as his windows faced the building pretty far behind his. This egg-thrower told his landlord about obscene sex acts and now his landlord is evicting him from what was the best apartment deal ever. I feel somehow responsible for this and hearing about this stressful situation makes me remember what a stressful place New York can be. I am going to try to forget about that stress for a couple more weeks as I travel around this land and take in crazy sights that make me feel small and also part of something so large and beautiful, this world.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Snot is dripping from my nose and I think it is from this city. The traffic in Oaxaca is quite bad, cars constantly filling the narrow streets, their exhaust spewing in the air, the town choked with the smell of diesel, of old model cars and their bad emissions. Bonnie got a root canal done here, which in Mexico apparently takes a week, and so we are stuck in this town until Monday night, her last appointment then at 7 pm. After that, we are going to take a bus, maybe the back of a truck, to Puerto Escondido, arriving there too late to scout out a nice, cheap place, instead probably having to secure a place before going there.

Oaxaca is a nice town to see, but I feel like I have seen it all, that I saw it all after two days, and coming here after the excitment of Mexico City and having to spend so long here is certainly what is causing me to feel like this town is too slow. I am so ready for the beach and cannot wait until we can go there. Hopefully, this weekend will be exciting. There are lots of bars, some gay clubs included, that are only open here on weekends and hopefully that will open new aspects of this town to me. The one gay bar I went to was a little sad, but also quite amazing, rainbows painted across the wall, portraits of John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe hanging up, yin and yang, butch and femme. Last night, we went to this hip traveller's bar and watched a documentary about the massive protests that took hold of this town a couple of years ago. We left there and went to another bar, filled with travellers, this town full of them, and the gay bar was free of them, of course - thank god. Tomorrow night we are going to go see a luche libre match.

Yesterday, we saw the ruins of Monte Alban. It was maybe the most amazing thing I have ever seen - I am trying to think of what may be it, and certainly some of the first naked bodies I saw in a sexual way, that thrill so singular and unrepeatable, may actually hold that title, but Monte Alban is the type of thing that makes you say Wow a lot. Wow, wow, wow. You take a bus on a winding road up a moutain, the bus taking the curves, sharp, on the narrow road way too fast for the good of anybody, past shacks and roadside taco stands, the view of the city of Oaxaca in the valley incredible. Monte Alban is at the levelled top of a mountain, up in the clouds, overlooking the world, all these beautiful structures, some thousands of years old. And it is really humbling and incredible to be standing amidst such things, contemplating the people that once inhabited the city and imagining what it was like in that time, life among the clouds.

Today, we took a bus out to El Tule. Two little old ladies got on the bus, one with a tied up bunch of live chickens, the other with a tied up bunch of live turkeys. They put their goods bought from the market at the back of the bus like regular luggage and sat near the front of the bus side by side, the activity so peculiar to me so normal to them. At El Tule, we saw El Arbol del Tule, which is a massive, massive tree two thousand years old. The tree is next to a church and it makes the church seem like a sandhouse, like something a kid built, a joke. To contemplate this massive tree through the fog of some cold medicine and a dripping nose brought forth so many thoughts, similar thoughts to those thought at the ruins seen on this trip, thoughts pertaining to the nature of time and the short blip that life, particularly my life, is within that span of time.

The sun is out and the other two are at the Oaxaca culture and history museum, and I could not go look at more history housed in buildings. I am a little overwhelmed with it right now. I am going to go the market and smell things and eat things and am going to take a poop, which I will probably have to pay three pesos to do, handed a few sheets of toilet paper for my payment, toilets here a very interesting business.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

greetings from mexico

I am sitting in an internet cafe in Oaxaca. Bonnie is across the street at the dentist potentially getting a root canal and Caroline is there with her, serving as her translator. The street is busy I am on here and everything is open air. The smell of diesel exhaust is wafting in and so is the sound of idling cars. Aside from the crazy traffic of this city, it is quite beautiful, set in the mountains and filled with small, pretty buildings, lots of chocolate shops, lots of mezcal shops, and lots of beautiful crafts made by the indigenous communities that live nearby. I arrived in the city a bit dazed sometime yesterday afternoon after a six and a half hour bus ride from Mexico City. Bonnie gave me dramamine for the bus ride so I wouldnt (I have no idea how to make apostrophes on this computer) get motion sickness, but afterwards we determined that it was probably Benadryl she had purchased in the Mexico City pharmacy because all three of us were totally knocked out for the entire ride, unable to stay awake at all. I would wake up for moments, brief ones, and watch the shitty action movies they were playing on the bus for a moment before turning to look out the window, the bus moving through a steady stream of rain through moutainous terrain, twisty roads, cacti going up the sides of mountains, houses built from cinder blocks, a car accident that looked bad to our left at one point, which made me slightly fearful of our mode of transportation crashing on these wet, winding roads, but we made it safely, as you, the reader, may be able to guess from this update here, from my writing from this city.

Mexico City was the amazing city I thought it would be. I was a bit sad to leave it, not feeling like I had experienced enough of it in the week that I was there, wanting more and more of the rush of being in a big city and seeing its sights, its bars, its various subcultures.

The history of the place is really staggering, that the city is built upon the Mexica city of Tenochtitlan, an island city that Cortes destroyed and built a new city upon. There are ruins of old pyrimads right next to the Zocalo and outside of town by an hour or so are the really gorgeous and humbling ruins of Teotihuacan, the center of the Toltec civilization, buildings thousands of years old, built by people that yet to be changed by the arrival of Cortes. To be in such a place with so many ghosts provokes so many thoughts about the nature of history and life. Standing atop those pyrimads after climbing their stairs and looking out at the world, at the ruins of one and the green of the surrouding mountains, is magical. Riding back from there, we stopped at the Basicla of the Virgin of Guadalupe, seeing the magical shroud with her image on it. There is a lot of magic to the city, an energy from all its layers of history and from its mass of people.

The subway costs only 2 pesos, which is twenty cents, and in the stations, they play pretty English songs from the seventies and sixties, probably the same soundtrack from when the system was originally built. I went to the market at Tepito, which is notorious for its criminality, my guidebook saying to avoid the area if I valued my saftey, but I was escorted there by this nice boy, Chicle, who I had met online and who showed me a really lovely time while I was there. My second night there, I went over to his house, beautiful views of Mexico City from his fifth floor apartment windows, and we listened to music I knew, talked about cities, drank forties of Indio beer and smoked massive joints because, at least according to Chicle, weed is comically cheap in Mexico. I slept in his bed that night, getting off with him, and feeling much more comfortable, much more at ease, somehow more at home, in that city because of that, because of the comfort around his body. His bed was more comfortable in so many ways than the bed in our hostel and so I spent a couple nights in it, enjoying them and him so much.

I saw Frida Kahlos house and seeing that space inspired lots of thoughts in me about the relationship between place and art, how much it can influence it, that by living in such an amazing setting and beautiful house, art and creativity can come more easily, that the place can stir things, unblock things, produce things. A few blocks away, I saw the building where Leon Trotsky was killed with an icepick. Walking around Coaycan was lovely, the neighborhood so beautiful. We were yanked out of that lovely stroll though because Caroline saw posters for a free concert by Julieta Venegas, and so we took a cab to south of the university, close to nowhere, and stood in the pouring rain watching this Mexican póp singer. My time in that city was so packed day and night with things, me wanting to take it all in, to experience as much of it as possible. There was so much amazing food eaten, all of it really cheap, big meals for just a few dollars.

The nightlife is the thing that I think I will miss on the rest of my journey around Mexico, it being so amazing in that city, and me having experienced just a small portion of it. I went with Chicle and his friend Hector to Toms Leather Bar one night. There were this really sexy and muscular go-go boys, totally naked and with hard dicks, who would do acrobatic feats on the small bar, would jump up in the air and land in a split. The back of the bar had a big darkroom with some people fucking and lots of dick sucking and jerking off occuring. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of my time at that bar in that back area, getting off with strangers. Apparently lots of the gay bars there have naked dancers and backrooms, the city beating New York it its level of sexy fun. Maybe when I return to Mexico City at the end of the month to fly out of there, I will have a chance to check out more of these naughty bars.

I went to a bunch of gay bars on Calle de Cuba, they being more foreign to me, scenes I wasnt used to, and for that reason really amazing. Marraquech was where we started out, lots of cumbia music was played and all of the girls I was with, Bonnie, Caroline, and Meret, were all constantly asked to dance by all the guys there. We went down the street and came upon another gay bar, Oasis, which was a lot gritter, reminded me of a country bar in some ways, and there they were also playing lots of cumbia music and it was amazing to watch all these same-sex couples dance to this music. I waited til they played some cheesy techno to dance, waited also til I had more beer in my system. We went to the gay bar next door to that, and then went to Garibaldi Square, which was filled with mariachi bands, countless numbers of them, and took in that scene for a while, talking to lots of people, before heading back to Oasis to watch a drag show. I left the ladies at Oasis and went next door to try my luck by myself and found myself dancing with this really cute guy, Leonardo, who I could barely communicate with, him speaking no English and me speaking very little Spanish. His friend, who knew some English, kept on trying to serve as translator, but that proved too annoying and so we just kept dancing and making out, a language both of us understand, that of physical attraction. He tried to teach me how to dance to cumbia, kept straightening my back, but I failed pretty miserably, seeming to have a lot less rhythm than I normally think of myself as having.

The next night, a really goth guy, all in leather and white face paint and with lots of facial piercings, asked for me a light in front of the 7-11. I had Caroline, our Spanish speaker and translator, ask him where a fun bar was. He took us to one, a goth bar, Paranoid Visions. It was pretty amazing, three floors of all these goth kids, dancing to Depeche Mode, the Cure, and everything else you would expect to be played, plus some Spanish songs, including a few by Soda Stereo, a band I had never heard of but which I liked a lot and which I need to download when I get home, that maybe if I listen to Spanish bands that I really like a lot over and over again that will help in my attempts to learn Spanish, attempts which are getting better and better, but are still at the most basic level.

I can ask people what time it is, none of us having watches for some reason, and can ask how much things cost, and even how to get places, but beyond that my ability to say things in Spanish is pretty much nonexistant. That night when I was trying to talk to that cute boy, Leonardo, and kept hitting my forehead over and over again, angry at myself for my failure to have learned Spanish by this point in my life, at the age of 27, and me being Latino, made me really determined, made me resolve to myself that I was definitely going to learn this language.

----And Bonnie is still at the dentist and I am killing time, but also trying to say things, to get them down so I can remember them, and so pardon the lenght of this if you have even made it this far.------

In this country, I have been thinking about moving to somewhere Spanish speaking for a while, potentially getting a job as an English teacher, that I would really like to fully learn this language and that this is the only way I really see myself doing it, that in this week or so I have been here, I have probably learned more about Spanish than I have in the last six or seven years, maybe even all my life. But I am not sure where that place would be, potentially Mexico City, that Spain would probably very difficult to live in and afford, and that this city would at least be close to home.

I dont know. I have been thinking about other things also, about life and jobs in general, about what I should be doing with myself in New York once I return there. I have been thinking about all these art projects I want to realize upon my return, that I want to take seriously, and that I am going to, that I am going to somehow enforce isolation on myself there, that I need to find a space where I can work alone now that Niki is home all the time.

I also have been thinking about love a lot, this even before I saw Wall-E here in Spanish during a torrential rainstorm that we were hiding out from, but that movie certainly made me think about it even more, about how I want a really strong connection with someone, and I thought about the people I do and have had connections with and whether they are or were what I wanted and what it is that I do want and who. Those are normal thoughts and they have followed me to this country, snuck across the border somehow when they were supposed to stay in the US, and they are perhaps even heightened here, me surrounded by people that I have so much trouble communicating with. Here, I guess, there is at least the excuse of language to comfort myself with, that my lack of Spanish knowledge is the reason for the trouble communicating. In the US, that excuse doesnt really work.