Tuesday, September 10, 2013

El Gringo Pelon

Marcia and I have been exploring cool, little towns in Mexico and we stopped in Sayulita, a city of about 5,000 people on the Pacific coast.  It’s about a 45 minute drive from Puerto Vallarta, to the north.

The first person we spotted in Sayulita was a shirtless, older American guy with a huge gut. He was adorned with several tattoos and a pony tail that began at the back of his head, his crown being bald or, “pelon”, in Mexican slang. In the next few minutes, we saw several men wandering the streets who, for the most part, matched this description.  A few of them actually wore shirts, mostly, “wife beaters”.

This is not to say the place was overrun by gringos.  There were many locals manning the surf shops and bars.  Indeed, one young entrepreneur approached me and said, in perfect English:  “Hey, do you want some ‘weed’ or ‘coke’?  I can get you anything you want.” The way he said “anything”, was a little creepy, yet, strangely charming.

After declining my young friend’s offer, we sat at a table planted in the sand and ordered rum with fruit juice.  As we sipped our drinks, we noticed an Aztec mask nailed to the palapa that we were sitting under.  Looking puzzled, Marcia said:  “I don’t think the Aztecs inhabited this area of Mexico.”  I couldn’t resist offering a cynical response:  “Maybe the Aztecs came here to do business with the gringos.”   

Watching the people drift by, we could see that Sayulita is a place for alienated Americans to escape, hibernate or to just wait for the next big thing to happen.  I suddenly had a bright idea:  “Ok, so this place is a little sketchy, but it’s interesting.  I’ll write an article for one of those In-flight magazines…they love this stuff, right?”  Marcia looked at me quizzically and said:  “Sure, I bet they just love stories about places where people go to take drugs and waste away their last days.”
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I wrote this for the Trifecta Week 94 Writing Challenge where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word “mask” as a noun.

Needless to say, after Marcia pointed out the obvious, I didn’t submit this piece to any “In-flight” magazines. 

Your comments are appreciated.

25 comments:

  1. What curious hodge-podge of people and for a passionate people-watcher, I could be entertained for days!

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    1. Thanks Morgan. Yes, very entertaining. :)

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  2. Sounds a bit like the ex-pat community I lived in for a few years in Costa Rica. I suppose all ex-pat communities share similarities. Well-described. The pony tail and the wife beater tank tops - I can see it clearly. Great story!

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    1. Thank you Steph. I'm sure we are talking about people with similar lifestyles although I'm not sure what is motivating them. Some, I guess are there because its cheaper but I think it's more than that. Fascinating that you lived in that community. Love to hear that story.

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  3. As I read this...the balding men with ponytails and wifebeaters, the drugs...I couldn't help but think of America's Most Wanted. Yep, I bet some felons are lurking amongst the tourists!

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    1. Thanks Janna. Sounds like fodder for your next crime thriller. I do wonder what these guys stories are.

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  4. You always pick up interesting themes

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  5. Hahaha Love Marcia's comment. Cool post, lumdog!

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  6. thanks for taking us to these unique and interesting places. Although I am quite sure I'd be scared and completely out of my element. But I did love reading this. :)

    Hope you enjoyed Mexico, I love Puerto Vallarta.

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    1. Thanks Kir. Don't quite know why, but something draws me to this stuff. Maybe it's just fodder for my writing. Next time you go to Vallarta, we'll take you to waste away in Sayulitaville. :)

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  7. HA! Wonderfully told. I was right there with you taking a mini Mexican sketchy town vacation. Fascinating! :D

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    1. Thanks Linda. With enough rum or Tequila, this place starts to have real appeal! ;)

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  8. This is great and you shouldn't be so hard on yourself for using the wrong definition! Maybe one of those young friends can offer a gas mask for sale haha

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Draug. After exhaustive research, I discovered that the Azecs were very vain and that even though their masks were decorative, they were actually facial treatments in the inside. They were extracts from the Agave Cactus; indeed they also discovered this also made a great Tequila. :)))) Sorry, I can't resist making fun of my own blunder. ;) Really, thanks for the nice words.

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  9. In case you've never read my stuff, this is a great story I'd love to have written to write further. LOL

    well paced. I was hooked.

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    1. Thanks very much Lance. I always worry my "slice of life" pieces lack drama although they are what I like writing the best.

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  10. This is cool very cool I like it, like you had already written that magazine article.

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    1. Thanks Bjorn. Maybe I'll submit it to ConAir Inflight Magazine!

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  11. Fun little travelogue! I've never been to Mexico, so I have to experience through things like this. It sounds like a fascinating trip, all in all.

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    1. Thanks Christine. I think I'd enjoy writing travel pieces, especially if I got paid for it.

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  12. Sounds like the perfect place for some "people watching." The little details - wife-beater tees, "tables planted in the sand", bring it all to life.

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  13. There are worse ways to waste your last days. We were looking for the third definition of the prompt word, you've used the first. Thanks for linking up!

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