Thursday, February 21, 2008

Land of rip off the gringos and other adventures

I’ve been back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for more than a week, but it took me a while to get back into the swing of reality, so I could post something about it. Reality blows by the way. Here are some things I observed, felt and experienced during my trip:

Mexico is such a dirty ass country. A plastic bag or some kind of trash clung to every cacti or shrub that dared grow in the dust as we drove by in the giant van full of strangers. My parents and I were more or less attacked in the airport by Mexican timeshare recruiters and somehow managed to head down the road to the resort in a shuttle at $12 a person for a 15 minute drive. Damn.
Squished mobile homes with women outside hanging clothes on lines, graffiti covered bus stops (and everything for that matter) and telephone poles plastered with political posters lined the streets as the van driver whizzed by. I’ve been to Cancun twice and I guess I forgot that Mexicans drive as if there’s no speed limit nor anybody else on the road. Fuck renting our own car - we’d all be killed for sure. Some rusted out truck pulled up next to us with three bumper stickers reading, “Rene Nunez Presidente” slapped onto the back of it. They matched the posters on all the phone poles. When you think of Mexico, you think of white sandy beaches and paradise, but you forget that you have to go through the slums to actually get to any of those places.
Cheesy mariachi music blared out of the speakers, then stopped so the DJ could take a call. “No, it’s boring today” I heard a woman on the radio say in Spanish. At least all of my four semesters of Spanish in college haven’t been lost.
Every now and then a whiff of ass, sewage and rotten eggs wafted up into my nose. It was almost as bad as when somebody ripped ass on the tiny sardine can plane we were on from KC to Houston. We were seated by the bathroom, so along with the crotches and asses in our faces, we suspected a stench to happen sometime. But, my mom and I still cracked up when it invaded our space, burying our faces in our coats. That was something else I remembered about Cancun - the shitty sewer system. Of course I guess “shitty” is a matter of perspective and what you’re used to though. Those native to Mexico have a more relaxed way of living and get along just fine for the most part - or so it seems - but we from United States, who live in a world that is triple sanitized before it even comes into human contact, take a sip of the water or stop by a sketchy taco stand in Mexico and end up peeing out of our butts for a week - kind of weird.
Anyway, after what seemed like hours on the crazy train, we were greeted by my cousin Jake at our resort - The Cabo Surf Hotel - headed up to our room, which had a hammock on the balcony by the way - I was pretty much obsessed with that little feature - changed out of our frigid-ready Kansas clothes, grabbed a Corona and heading straight to the beach. Beautiful...

Four and a half days is just not long enough in paradise. We were sort of marooned on this resort, but made the 20 minute drive into Cabo a few times - a trip to the Mexican Wal-Mart - for booze of course, to a little outdoor restaurant for the welcome dinner the first night, Cabo Wabo - Sammy Hagar’s bar and club and some shopping. The cost for cabs was ridiculous and different every single time. That’s one part of the lifestyle I could never get used to.

Being a journalist, I like talking and being around people, but on the other hand, I’ve always been sort of a loner - alone with my thoughts, always stepping back to observe etc...And having that trait, along with my single status in that atmosphere left me with mixed feelings. I mean, the ex was supposed to be laying on the beach with me, but everything fell apart and I obviously took back his invitation. I watched other couples - especially my cousin and his new bride - breathing each other in like they wouldn’t be happy any other way, but then I liked my the freedom of having my own agenda and just relaxing, without reservations or worries. Of course my single-ness was glaringly obvious since everybody in the entire wedding party made a joke out of it - a light hearted joke of course, which didn’t offend me - yet still I was reminded that I was the “only single woman in the group” everyday in one way or another. In fact I found myself reminding myself that I was the only single woman in the group - time after time I’d wind up sitting in between my parents having flashbacks from “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”

We were acquainted with people right away - some we had met already at the engagement party in October and others were new. Most of them were from Phoenix or southern California, so none of them quite understood the euphoric state I was in because I was out of the frozen tundra of Kansas City. Almost all the husbands were pleasant, good-looking and well off. I’m thinking I should move southwest...Anyway, it was pretty slim pickings as far as single guys. I ended up hanging out with one of the groomsmen the entire trip - one of Jake’s longtime friends, who lives in the KC area. My mom kept exclaiming - "God, he's so good looking!" He was completely hammered that first night and while I thought he was hilarious at first when we were out on the town after the welcome dinner, I sort of changed my mind when he basically attacked me in the hot tub back at the resort and wouldn’t back down. While the conversation was a little bit better the next night, most likely because less alcohol was flowing, I was still wary. We had an interesting chat about baggage - me still living with my ex-boyfriend and the circumstances surrounding our break-up and his crazy ex-wife and son. The only difference is, mine will fade away with time and his will be around forever - perhaps a little too much for my little 24-year-old ass to handle. He then went on to talk about his ex-wife’s giant boobs and how the relationship was great when they were dating because she would rip off her clothes. He then proceeded to attack me in the hot tub again - not so cute this time.

I’m going OK, did I just time warp to the days when I used to peruse frat parties for dates? I’m so done with that shit. How old are these guys? Haven’t they decided that it’s a little inappropriate to come charging full speed ahead at a woman they don’t even know, boner blazing, stopping at nothing to make the kill? And, most importantly, hasn’t that gotten a little old by now? I know I’m about to lose my mind over it. Perhaps it was the setting - Mexico, ocean...hottub, but this isn’t Spring Break in Cancun with “Girls Gone Wild” video cameras following you around. This is a little bit classier, we’re a little bit older now and frankly I don’t give a shit where I happen to be vacationing. I’m not going to sleep with somebody I just met. I refuse to be involved in something that ends in a guy praising me with “good game, good show” then smacking me on the ass on my way out the door. I hold myself to the highest tier of respect and I’m not giving anybody a reason to treat me otherwise. Call me a prude, but the amount of rampant STDs and people that can just snap their fingers and detach themselves emotionally in this world makes me shudder. It’s just not worth it to me.
I like to feel good about myself the next day instead of used up and tossed aside. I’m a relationship kind of girl. I may be slightly jaded from my last bout with love, but I’m not bitter yet and I thrive on mental connections with people. There has to be a guy or two that doesn’t place “willingness to rip clothes off” at the top of their list when deciding a woman’s worth. They can’t all act like dick brains their entire lives - can they?
Then again, maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

The thing is, I kept hanging out with him because other parts of the conversations were not completely horny teenage boy-esk and I knew Jake wouldn’t be friends with somebody that long if they were a total ass hat.
Towards the end of the wedding reception, I was perched on his knee at one of the tables with a few other people when one of the husbands asked if we lived near each other - implying that we could start something when we got home from the wedding. I’m going, yeah right, this guy wants nothing to do with me after this. And, I seemed to be right because that last day he acted a little defeated because he had either given up or thought I wasn’t interested because I wasn’t willing to bust out my inner slut for him. I was shocked when he asked for my number, but I brushed it off because I thought he was just feeling obligated. Right before I left to go home, I got him and the best man’s e-mails to send them an invitation to my sister’s birthday party next month. A few days after I sent it, I was even more surprised to get an e-mail from him that said - “is it too late to beg? : )” referring to my phone number. I replied then of course, but that was a week ago and I haven’t heard anything. I’m working on not being concerned about it right now...I’m so ridiculous...

I remember walking out of my hotel room, late of course, hurrying down the path and out onto the beach for the wedding and stopping dead in my tracks when I saw the set up. I hate to use the word breathtaking, but that’s really all I’ve got because it literally made me gasp - and I’m almost never that sappy. It had been sort of a cloudy, not-so-warm day, but the sun suddenly came out as if “somebody” knew there was a wedding going on. The blue ocean and black rocky cliffs served as the background and a long white piece of fabric draped around a little wooden structure was the altar. White chairs wrapped in wide hot pink ribbon and hot pink stargazer lilies flanked the center aisle made of white sand and red rose petals. Bridesmaids were in flowing brown strapless dresses and groomsmen were in light khakis and white button downs. The bride wore a traditional white gown though, which I thought was a little strange for a destination wedding. But, she wanted all the traditional stuff along with the tropical setting including a full reception - bouquet toss, champaign and the YMCA of course. It’s a good thing that damn bouquet didn’t come near me. I’ve caught three in my less than 25 years without even trying. They just sort fall on top of my head. That has to be some kind of record. I’m proof that the superstition attached to it is a crock of shit. The best man's speech made me pay attention because he got a little choked up when he mentioned how honored he was to be the best man since it would have been Jake's brother Josh if Josh were still alive. He committed suicide almost two and a half years ago and thinking about it still leaves me haunted. It probably always will.

I look back on the whole thing and get all weird and sentimental, which means it was a mind stimulating trip and thus worth the money - thanks Dad. I don’t know if it was my single status in paradise with all of the circumstances, the beautiful short and sweet ceremony or the fact that I was surrounded by happy couples the entire four days who were trying to “hook me up” the whole time, but I left feeling a little less cynical about marriage. Jake and Nicole were just friends before they ever dated. In fact Nicole was married to somebody else when they met. They’ve been through just about everything else since then - long distance, a break-up, dating other people, a make-up, living together, working together...They have that true been-there-done-that relationship, they made it work and they compliment each other so well. During the reception, Jake said to Nicole: “I knew you were the one from the moment I knew you. Thank you for making me whole.” And, I didn’t even puke. In fact, I almost got teary eyed and thought, I hope somebody feels that way about me someday and vice versa. There are people that are made for each other, but it’s not necessarily effortless. Relationships take work, but you just have to pick and choose the parts that are worth working on. They’re a horrible pain in the ass, but I’m hopeful one will turn out to be the greatest and most worthwhile pain in the ass I’ve ever experienced. Ha! Damn you people. You’ve spoiled my plan to be a lifelong spinster.

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