Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Parting Shot....

Mike doing his best Johnny Cash impersonation. Notice perfect quote on the wall behind him to the right.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
TS Eliot

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Home Safe

I am back in the to face 2008...and already dreaming of my next adventures and missing my new friends. Thanks for reading.

New Years Eve in Bullets...and More

  • The brilliant chaos of Parque Centro
  • Cafe No Se...but of course
  • New friends that it feels like I have known forever....
  • Fireworks, a lot of fireworks
  • Illegal Mezcal and Tequila
  • Poetry and singing and toasts....many toasts
  • Love and friendship and honesty and hope...
  • Lou Reed and Dylan and four chords and the truth
  • Nora and Barbara singing in German...the beauty of it all needing no translation
  • Steve quietly treating me like a queen...never in want for a thing
  • To bed at 6:00am!
Here's to 2008 and the friends that I will never forget:

Steve...the sweet Aussie with the most infectious smile and a quiet kindness. Have a big crush on you boy!

Mike, you are a kindred soul, truly. We are cut from similar clothe...and yes, "water finds it's own level." And your baritone singing "If I were a rich man..." is still an ear worm in my head!

Nora, you are gorgeous and loving and brave and talented....a Gypsy spirit...and you can drink more mescal than anyone I know!

Barbara, you are a love and a friend...we shall meet again in SF or Germany...."and fuck the bitches and the bastards!"

John. You are a beautiful, patient, accepting man and you ground No Se. Your openness and kindness are an inspiration to me. And thanks for always calling me a cab.

Catherine, a free spirit and new friend....we shall meet by the Sea of Cortez and make our own No Se wherever we need too. Here's to smart kind men in bars everywhere!

Ivy, gorgeous and kind and perpetually smiling. We'll do lunch and talk philosophy next time!

Anna it was an absolute pleasure talking to such a smart young woman. You were great company and I wish you the best in your studies.

Kevin. You are a good man and a great bartender. Thanks for taking on the reading assignment I gave you and for appreciating so much my freaky self. I look forward to seeing you and your girl in Oakland soon.

Vince...I was amazed at how well you found every excuse to use the word lesbian while in my presence...I thank you for calling me your favorite lesbian.

There are more of you....and I could go on, but Cafe No Se is a new touchstone for me, a place of healing and renewal and acceptance. You were all a good-bad influence on me and I felt so much love in that place I am a better woman for it. Thanks for all the hugs and kindness....I will be back....and Mike has promised me that when I return he will quietly pour me a drink and say "welcome home." Indeed Mike, water finds its own level.

To all my friends.... a few photos....

John praying to a Corona

Me & Barbara

Ivy, Anna & Me

Catherine, Mike, Barbara & table...typical scene


Anna, ?, Nora, Edwin & Catherine

Me & Steve

Ivy & Elliot's head

Steve & John tending bar

John & Mike

Me & Steve...again!

Map of US...excellent cartoon of US politics!

Vince, me & Barbara

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Expats in Rio and Bars

The rich Guatemalans at my hotel...well, they spoke only Spanish and did not seem the slightest bit interested in me. And so, even with my clean sheets and hot shower, I wanted more....wanted to talk to someone....maybe practice a little English. So off I went into town....Brunos the guide book explained, is favored by the cruisers....I am talking sailors.

After a cab ride and buying my bus ticket at the station I crossed the street and followed the signs through a trashy yard surrounded by dilapidated the waters edge and a small marina with an outdoor palapa restaurant and a swimming pool. I bought a drink. I made eye contact and started a conversation with a couple of chaps I have met 100 times before in marinas and bars in many different places over the course of my life. They each had two full drinks in front of was happy hour...a double or two drinks....your choice. But here is an overview.....

There was Steve the retired cop from Gainesville Florida who sailed south and bounces between Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize. He is a self-proclaimed right-winger who is far kinder than the assertion would imply. He guessed within 2 minutes that I was from Berkeley and within 20 minutes asked me if I was gay. He told me about getting hit by lightening, anchored in the river in front of the marina....his mast took the hit. He lost his antenna, wind vane, some electronics....his dog and he had their hair buzzed straight up, defying gravity.....and Steve conjectured that perhaps it was god getting him for flying his confederate flag....hmm, ya think? He went on to explain that he is not racist and there is more to the history of the flag than slavery and the civil war was really about states rights and blah blah blah. I told him I understood his logic.....I left out the part about disagreeing, and he was drunk (see pic...Steve right, Jim left).

Then there was Jim a sweaty, salty, old ex merchant marine who had seen the world many times over. He too had a boat and spent his time bopping around the western Caribbean...and drinking...sitting next to Steve....sipping his beer....swimming in the warmth of his hoary buzz. They were both unhealthy, unhappy, save for the liquor and the friendship of bars and the habit of boat tending.

There was Al (see pic left) who ran a whore house in a neighboring port town and treated his whores well. He got out of the business because of the stress and the violence. Now he does sailing charters and was insistent I come back emphasizing over and over again that his cruises are gay friendly and clothing optional.

There was Doc, a retired public health doctor from NYC who was trying to pick up on young Adriane from Canada (see pic right...Doc with manuscript). He was reading to her (I insinuated myself into the situation) from his surreal sailing narrative that had Columbus and Magellan and Cook in his cockpit with him as he crossed the Atlantic....and actually, his writing wasn´t that bad. And Adrianne confessed she was going to sail with him to the Bay Islands...until she saw his boat....too small. She is not a sailor and asked me my opinion. I concurred, too small and a front was headed south.

Then Jody joined us (see pic below), a sane woman from the states who used to be a stockbroker. She is living in Rio now and her daughter taught English in Argentina and just started working at a local orphanage. Affable, in her late 50s, we drank and when Steve got belligerent about US politics we scattered and Jody asked me if I wanted to join her at another bar run by a really cool Dutch couple. Sure Jody...and so we headed out through the nasty yard and passed the armed guard carrying one of those shotguns (see pic...always be nice to the guards with guns).

Sundogs is cute, tropical, small, has top shelf booze and a quieter crowd. And so we chatted with foxy Jessica from Minneapolis...she told me about going to Cuba on a French catermaran with her French lover and she didn´t spend a dime but still got a picture sent to her from the US state department asking her what the hell she was doing in was a pic of her in a store! Our government is so was eventually dropped. While there she listened to Castro give a 7 hour speech in the park...with breaks...apparently this is common. Lastly, she asserted, she only sails south...never north. Been on many boats....her own and other folks. She was gorgeous and sexy....but knew it a bit too much.

And there were the owners of Sundog, Julienne...he is cute and we talked music and politics....and about his tatoo and the number 19 and the tao te ching (see pic him behind bar). And there was his beautiful wife Babbette who flitted about charming everyone and referenced jokingly something about she and Jessica being porn stars (see pic, Babette left, Jessica right).

Bars, no matter where I am I can count on them for company...I just wrote the following to a dear friend in an email...
....the meeting people in bars. It is an easy place to meet people and I fit in very well.....very well. I am skilled in bars, humble bars....sometimes sophisticated bars....but best in bars with pros and not a drop of haughtiness. I know these people.....I grew up with them...I recognize them in any any town tavern in any country. And through the haze of intoxication...through the liberation of the drink...I see them and love them. Truly. And they return the favor...without condition at 4 in the morning.
I didn´t shower for days....why only sweat more...I am not sleeping with anyone...and everything is dirty, save for the sheets in my expensive hotel.