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Published: September 14th 2017
There are black-skinned, almost completely hairless dogs that live here. Many of them have a thin white mohawk and were selectively bred by the Aztecs as holy creatures centuries ago. They're called Xoloitzcuintli. Yeah, try to pronounce that one. At first glance, they appear demonic or alien. But the ones I've met have the most lovely personalities, fiercely affectionate once they get to know you, and generally very timid and docile.
I'm having a conversation with Chuck Norris. He calls me by my last name, "Copas," which means "cups" in Spanish. I like the way Mexican people find a way to give you a nickname no matter what, even if it's just your last name. What's the fun in using your ordinary, mundane, shitty, boring first name? Also, whenever I use my first name, I have to repeat it like four time because it's an odd pronunciation in Spanish.
Chuck Norris has delivered a very dynamic and harrowing story of his experience as a criminal in Mexico. He robbed a bank several years ago, spent four years in prison and dressed as a woman to attempt to escape. I don't understand everything fully because his English isn't perfect and my Spanish is very far from perfect, but I get the gist. He spent two months practicing using makeup that was delivered to him by his sister-in-law whilst in prison, trying to look like a convincing woman. He was at the last door to exit the prison, almost arriving at illegal freedom, when a guard whom he had assaulted (as retaliation to physical abuse he had received) recognized him dressed in drag. He was then beaten and sent to Islas Marias Federal Penitentiary. From his account and an internet search, it seems like a Mexican version of Alcatraz. It's an island just west of here, which contains a prison notorious for being a "feared detetion center, due to violence, disease and forced labor," according to Wiki. His account of this place is absolutely nauseating: very little food or water, indentured servitude, two months in solitary confinement for no apparent reason, and physical abuse. He has a very intense personality, fully alive with constant eye contact and enough playful physical contact to keep your attention. Despite my undertanding of his criminal past, I can see sincerity in his eyes. I believe he isn't out to hurt or take advantage of anyone. I am comfortable sleeping in a tent next to his. Creo que tiene un bueno corazón. He cares for stray animals (I am one of them) and diligently looks after the grounds here, earning his keep. He has cooked food for us the previous two nights on a campfire. He gregariously greets guests who arrive with dutiful swiftness, enthusiasm and panache.
However... his intensity can be exhausting. I'm literally writing this to attempt to politely ignore him, because he never stops talking after a night of drinking. Sometimes I tell him I need to take a shit just so I can have some silence. People who don't stop talking give me heavy anxiety. However, these types of situations make me feel at home in an strange way. "Normal" people bore me. Anyway, don't rob banks... or murder people. I guess that's the lesson. Yea, Chuck, you get three paragraphs.
I've experienced tropical/sub-tropical weather living in south Florida for a total of six years of my life, but the weather here is some next level shit. The mind-shattering heat, the flies, the mosquitoes. Dios mio, sometime it feels crippling. But I'll take it over snow any day. Last night, the first seasonal torrential rain came. My tent became a swimming pool. Fortunately for me, I'm only one of those wannabe gypsies who actually still has a car, so I was able to seek refuge there. The parking lot had six-inch-deep water when I woke up.
I'm ashamed to admit the following: I need to wear shoes. Our campground is covered with tiny rocks, like a quarter inch in diameter. It's a great medium for covering the ground because the summer rain just naturally washes away all the dirt, piss and dog shit. But my feet hurt. I thought I was a strong gypsy boy, but clearly my feet have more work to do. So I actually wear sandals to go places sometimes. Life is tough, I even put on a shirt yesterday.
I feel like a hostel whore. I've stayed at three of the cheapest hostels here in San Pancho now. I originally left the first, with lovely people and a beautiful clean environment, because they were full one night and didn't return because the next place was a bit cheaper. I stayed at the second place for around three weeks. They weren't very attentive so, instinctively, even as a paying guest, I helped with checking in a few people, a little cleaning, etc. When I had a friend stay with me one night (who paid), the lady who runs the place woke us up and said my friend had to be out by 11 am or pay for another night. There were ten other empty dorm beds. I've worked in hostels, there was no reason for that. So I said, "fuck you lady, I'm out too." Well... not exactly those words. She was surprised at my decision. I have a few other reasons for disliking that place in the end, but why focus on the negative? Her two-year-old daughter Laila was delightful; she would come cuddle with me in bed in the morning sometimes and we'd play on the sidewalk. So I moved just a few more doors down to the next place, here with Chuck Norris.
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