Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Bad" Times in Mexico

From a discussion at the egroup, "life_in_Mexico" at google, a post I send in response to someone asking for peoples' "bad" experiences south of the border:

I have had precious few "bad" experiences in Mexico, almost all of them my own fault. Back in my drinking days, I once got taunted in an abarotes in Patzcuaro by two teen aged boys who saw me buying a bottle of tequila and said, sotto voce (but loud enough to be heard), "Cabrón." The glare I gave them would have killed the faint of heart, but I knew they recognized an alcoholic when they saw one. Once, in D.F., at the Opera Bar, I foolishly engaged in a drinking contest with a couple of macho bastards who came close to physically attacking me. In another bar in Guadalajara, I struck up a conversation with a patron who hailed form Monterrey. When I mentioned that Monterrey was famous for its UFO sightings in the vicinity of Cerro de la Silla, he became incensed and loudly proclaimed that I was a gringo puto motherf*****r who thinks all Monterreños are loonies. (In my defense, the other patrons, all Tapatios, laughed at him, not me. (I later learned that Tapitios despise Monterreños as a matter of principle.

I had my one and only blackout of my drinking years in Vallarta, where Beto, owner of the Toucan Bar, lectured me on being a miserable drunk. And once, on a trip to D. F., I left my camera in my room at the old Hotel Carlton near the Monument to the Revolution. When I got to the airport, I asked a flight attendant to call them to arrange for return of the camera and it was agreed that I would send an international money order from home with sufficient funds for postage and handling. I never got my camera back. I left another, cheaper camera at an hole-in-the-wall liquor store in Chihuahua (the kind that looks like a New York pawn shop, complete with wire grate between customer and the bottles). I got chewed out by a Calzada de la Independencia bus driver in Guad when I asked for directions to the Teatro Degollado and he said in Spanish (or so I think), "You can't get there from here."

But my single worst experience was in 1971 in San Miguel de Allende when I got stoned on pot and went to the local teen hangout, La Fragua, and got paranoid about it. The following morning a high official's son turned up dead, having O.D.'d on some type of drugs, so perhaps my reaction was to genuinely bad vibes: he had been to La Fragua earlier in the evening. Oh, and I had a huge argument with an elderly gay man at Chucho's bar (where everyone from Neal Cassidy to Dave van Ronk, and, legend has it, Hemingway and many others, passed through). He argued that his Jewishness was racial, whereas I believed that the race is Semitic, which makes them first cousin to Muslims. We didn't come to blows (thank God!), but it got kinda heated all the same. Poor Chucho got into trouble with the city mothers, who forced him to close down.

You, too, may have some harrowing tales of Mexico if you go to get drunk.

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